3-frame challenge

I’ve decided that it’s not good enough to keep taking photos. Instead, I want to improve as a photographer. To start this process, I’ve started this blog and I’m reading – and doing the exercises – in David du Chemin’s book Ten (which is free to downloaded just now).

The first chapter is called ‘Get pickier’. Part of the exercise in this section is to head out for an hour and shoot only three frames – no shooting in bursts. This is not my usual approach (to put it mildly), but I accepted the challenge. I even added another factor – I wanted to take images from the Christmas market in Perth.

The three shots below are the result of walking around for about 40 minutes, then taking my three frames within the next five. I haven’t done much with them during processing – the point is to learn about what you see and take.

The first one is an attempt to set the scene. It was early in the morning, so there weren’t many shoppers around. In hindsight I should have made more of an effort to show the stall-holders setting up for the day. Alternatively, I could have zoomed in on the young man glancing towards the stalls as he walked past, although I have t admit that I wasn’t really looking at the people at all!

The booth below had such an eclectic range of wares, that it caught my eye early on and I kept going back to it. I don’t think that I used the right perspective for this one (which is a running theme).

I liked the simplicity of the display of cheeses, but I wanted to get the garland in the shot to reflect the Christmas market element. This would have been better as a close up of the rows of cheeses, without the unnecessary background.

So what did I learn?

1 – It’s even harder than I imagined to limit myself to a small number of shots. However, I’ve adopted something of this approach subsequently (without the arbitrary number) – I am taking fewer shots, although I’ve reverted to taking bracketed bursts.

2 – To make intentional improvements in something that we’ve been doing for a long time, we sometimes need to slow down or go backwards to make progress.

3 – I’m looking forward to the next challenge from du Chemin… whatever it is. I’ll keep you posted.


Christmas Day in Perth

Yesterday (Christmas Day) we went for a walk up Kinnoull Hill. It was a crisp December day, with the temperature just above freezing. But at the top of the hill with in the sunshine, it could have been almost any season in Scotland.

Recently I’ve been trying to focus my photography (pun intended) by setting out with a specific objective – yesterday’s project was to take panoramas of Perth at Christmas. I had hoped for a bit more snow/whiteness, but you have to work with what you’re given. (Click on the images for a better view.)


Oh, and a couple of other things crept in too!




I’ve been toying with the idea of launching a photoblog for a wee while now. It seemed appropriate to use these images today, following Jamie Scott’s success in Professional Masterchef, given that he used smokies in his starter dish.

While strolling through the Christmas markets in Perth the other week, I came across these guys – from Arbroath – smoking fish in a barrel.  I guess that this is the traditional way to do it. I wish that I’d hung around for a wee bit longer to fully understand the process. Maybe I’ll plan a (photo) trip to Arbroath to see it happening on an industrial scale.

You can see aspects of what they’re doing in the gallery below.