“I am often asked how I got into photography, and the answer is more simple than you might think. Basically, I was rubbish at golf, but enjoyed the fresh air and visiting new places. Having accepted a new hobby was needed, and not fancying fishing much, I chose landscape photography. This was back in 2012. Starting from scratch, I purchased a few magazines and a DSLR camera with a kit lens. Baffled by the basics, things like f-stops, exposure times and ISO I decided to enrol in an online – teach yourself program. By the end of which I had enough know-how to start to take competent images. Technically OK, but still with a lot to be desired when it came to composition. Since then I have used every opportunity to get out with my camera and ‘practice’. There is a saying that your first 10,000 images are your worst, and in most cases this is true. There is simply no substitute to experience, and even if you don’t quite nail the shot, you’ll learn enough from it to get it spot on when you next find yourself in a similar situation.”
By 2014, Lichfield-based Dave was successfully entering competitions – his image ‘Bright Eyes’ (pictured above) was chosen as the winner of the Classic View Category in the prestigious ‘Landscape Photographer of the Year’ competition, something he describes as “a huge honour and achievement”.
He says that “taking pictures is a bit of an addiction for me. As much as I like taking photographs, I also enjoy processing and sharing them. Summer is the landscape photographer’s arch enemy. Antisocial times for sunrise and sunset, harsh light and biting insects dampen even the most ardent photographers’ spirits, and as such my cameras used to gather dust from the end of May until September.”
The upshot of his feelings towards summertime photography lead him to discover the genres of urban landscapes and street photography: “they were different genres that didn’t involve any additional expenditure. The kit I was using for landscapes was perfectly adequate for these new fields. I spend much of my working week in major cities for the ‘day job’ so if a meeting finished early, I could have a wander and see what happened.”
Dave found that his landscape experience helped him with the new genres, however there were a number of key differences: “one thing I had never done before was shoot at night, but it quickly became obvious that the principles were the same, it was just the shutter speeds (or ISO) that needed to be changed. Exposure and composition were still important, but the weather became less of an issue. Great conditions, especially light can make such a difference with landscape images, at night, this isn’t the case. Even in the rain, where reflections in puddles can add an extra dimension, a good photograph could be taken. I started to shoot overnight (in the summer) giving myself an opportunity to shoot a sunset, a sunrise and the 5 or so hours of darkness in between, quickly I established a decent portfolio, which has opened several doors commercially.”
Reflecting on his experiences he says “now I can feed my habit for taking photographs 12 months of the year. Although I can’t put my finger on exactly why, I do believe the different genres help each other. Not only that, through social media it has opened up a whole new audience and more importantly network of like-minded people who I can collaborate with, share ideas and learn from.”
All images by Dave Fieldhouse.
This article first appeared in the Birmingham Photography Festival IN FOCUS newsletter as the “Meet the photographer” feature, which highlights photographers based in the West Midlands.
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