Sunday, 10 March 2013

Focus On Imaging 2013

I have been very busy lately, so I apologise for not blogging in a while. A lot of exciting things are happening soon.

In the past few months I have seen a lot of advertising for Focus On Imaging, the amazing photography convention that allows picture making lovers the opportunity to view a variety of seminars, try out different lenses, and meet other photographers along with much much more. So on Monday 4th March 2013, my mother kindly drove us on the 280 mile round trip to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham where the convention was taking place.

We arrived at around 10.00am after leaving Somerset at just after 07.30am. It was a long long road trip, but it was definitely worth it in the end. The first exhibitor I wanted to visit was Canon, and lucky for me, it was right in front of the entrance to the convention. Canon had one of the biggest stands at the convention, with their space being split into two. On one side, they had their smaller cameras and lenses on display with a variety of other accessories including battery grips, but on the other side, my favourite side, the public were given the opportunity to test out the more professional lenses including the 70mm-200mm F2.8, and my dream lens the 400mm F2.8. This is a lens that I am saving up for and I am pretty determined to own one day. It is an absolutely beautiful lens, and I was lucky enough to test it on my 7D body.

After I had finished being overwhelmed by the beauty of these professional lenses, my mum and I made our way to our first of many seminars. Marc Aspland - 'The Art Of Sports Photography' on the Canon stand. I was dying to see this seminar, and it was definitely first on my 'to see' list. Marc Aspland is The Times chief sports photographer, and has been for a number of years, more than 17! Listening to his passion for photography was second to none, and I couldn't put a price on the knowledge and wisdom that I learnt during this seminar, the way he described his photographs, but also let them speak for themselves, it was overwhelming. He showed us a showcase reel of his best photographs from a variety of years and events, one of my favourite images of his that he showed was one from the Olympics this year. You can view my favourite image here: The Times, Marc Aspland, Olympics Pictures. He described the way that he made this image, and its story. For more photographs of Marc Aspland's, please visit: Marc Aspland. I would definitely recommend anyone vaguely interested in photography to view his website, and I'm pretty sure that he would answer any questions that you may have, depending on his time schedule too!

We also viewed two other seminars, Christian Hough - 'Expanding Your Lighting: Softboxes and umbrellas can only do so much, lets get creative' on the Bowens stand and Karl Taylor - 'The Secrets Of Product Photography'. Christian Hough showed us how a variety of different studio lights and accessories can be used in portraiture photography such as a 15° Snoot with a honeycomb fitted, and a Fresnel 200. I found it very interesting to look at the way that he set up his Bowen lights as he only used two to three lights at any one time including a main light, a hair light, and an additional light that was focused primarily on the background. Each light had a different effect on the final image that was made, and I enjoyed seeing the different steps that was taken in order to achieve it. It was such a simple set up,  and one that could be achieved on numerous occasions. Check out Christian's website if you have a bit of time, or if you are interested in studio photography with a twist: Christian Hough.

Karl Taylor showed us a completely different use for studio lighting. He showed us how to take product photography to the next level using a variety of everyday items including tracing paper, and silver metal from B&Q. In his display, he also used two or three studio lights, and orange acetate paper as he was photographing a bottle of Scotch. I don't want to explain his secrets to you, as that's what they are, but he was one of the many photographers that achieved the 'wow factor' with the images that he was producing. I was shocked many times during his seminar as he was using everyday items that I admittedly would never have even thought of using before, to achieve his final photograph including a piece of gold paper that was cut out to the size of the bottle. It was the use of simple things that made me think that you do not need expensive photography equipment to achieve a brilliant image. I would definitely recommend checking out his website: Karl Taylor. He makes everything seem incredibly easy to achieve.

There was also a variety of additional things to see, and stalls to look around including: The Royal Photographic Society, Calumet, The Flash Centre, Fujifilm, Manfrotto and Sigma Imaging to name just a few. There wasn't enough time in the day to look at every stall, but we tried our best.

During the day I accumulated many photography magazines thanks to my mum including the latest editions of: Amateur Photography, What Digital Camera, Professional Photographer, and The Photographer's Guide To Turning Pro. I was also lucky enough to be bought a rain cover for my camera body and lens, an LCD screen protector, and a battery grip. Very happy. I will hopefully be returning next year. If you are vaguely interested in photography, or want to know more about picture making, I would definitely recommending visiting this exhibition next year. You can learn so much, and gain so many contacts. It's brilliant. Did you go this year ?

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