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This week’s Photoblogger of the Week is Tyler Nixon from Wink. Tyler lives in Victoria (Canada) and his images are quite amazing (with a real mystical and surreal feel about them). As usual, we’ve asked Tyler to share with us a description of his digital camera gear, a couple of images and a tip for DPS readers. Thanks for being so generous with your time Tyler!
I don’t consider myself an equipment aficionado, taking more pride in the process rather than the tools. Making a picture, however, is comprised of three essential elements: a shooter, a subject and a camera — the latter being the least critical in my opinion. Even with the most expensive lenses or the best top-of-line camera, boring pictures will follow with conventional ideas, poor composition and weak execution. I would still recommend a DSLR, as they allow much more control; point and shoots are generally not responsive enough to manage the broad dynamics of various shooting environments and they offer very little flexibility when it comes to manual capabilities. But whatever you use, the most critical component of all is to know your equipment. A good photographer should have the knowledge to properly represent his or her creative vision.
My camera bag is typically comprised of the following:
Since I started shooting seriously I’ve learned a few things that have been instrumental in not only making good pictures, but also deriving a greater satisfaction from the process and result. First and most important tip: have an intention, and really consider what you want to shoot and visualize the outcome prior to taking a picture. My best pictures have stemmed from a vague artistic intent into a stronger visual identity when using this technique. Knowing what you want to shoot and the overall effect will provide you with a visual roadmap. This approach, of course, does not apply to every circumstance; great pictures are happened upon, with no forethought at all. But as a general rule of thumb, having an intention will yield not only stronger images, but also more consistent ones. With that in mind, write down your ideas, give thought to what you’d like to compose; often conditions may not “fit” what you’ve envisioned, so it’s good to store up your ideas and draw on them when conditions are right, such as weather, light, etc.
From a technical point of view, I recommend having a good selection of prime lenses; a fast 50mm is must (my 50mm rarely leaves my camera). Shoot in RAW. I don’t understand the debate; shooting in RAW provides the digital negative that allows you greater control when post-processing. Virtually all of my post-processing is done in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), with very little tweaking in Photoshop. If you’re using ACR, make sure to utilize the presets. You can very simply save and reapply oft-used work flows. I have defined a bunch of general presets (B&W, B&W high contrast, desaturated, sepia, etc.), which I frequently reuse depending on the picture.
Lastly (but not least importantly), have fun; be fearless and full of confidence. The best ingredient in any picture is the confidence that went into making it. Believe in yourself and you’re sure to define your own style, one that is reflective of the unique beauty we all possess.