Start them young

Toby Crewe is tak­ing his first steps on his pho­tog­ra­phy jour­ney

NPhoto - - Over To You … -

I really got into pho­tog­ra­phy when my grand­par­ents bought me a Nikon Coolpix L16 for Christ­mas in 2010, when I was just seven. It quickly be­came some­thing that I took every­where with me, and I still have it. In 2013, I de­cided I had out­grown it, and that it was time to move on to a D-SLR. I chose the Nikon D3100 be­cause of its sturdy build, great im­age qual­ity and be­gin­ner-friendly fea­tures. Nikon’s Guide mode was es­pe­cially use­ful [see page 124 for more on this], and was there for when I strug­gled with any set­tings. I have since gone on to the D7000, stay­ing with Nikon for the ro­bust build and great im­age qual­ity, and I haven’t re­gret­ted it.

I orig­i­nally took pho­tos of pretty much any­thing, but soon fo­cused on macro sub­jects. Later I turned to land­scapes as well. I am lucky enough to go on lots of hol­i­days in places like Spain and Corn­wall, and our fam­ily has a car­a­van near Col­wyn Bay in North Wales. I have al­ways felt con­fi­dent tak­ing pho­tos of th­ese sub­jects. On the flip side, I have never felt com­fort­able tak­ing por­traits, in part be­cause I’ve never felt par­tic­u­larly good at it.

Along­side my D3100 and D7000, I have three lenses: an 18-55mm, a 55200mm and a 70-300mm. This gives me a wide range of fo­cal lengths on my very tight bud­get, with­out com­pro­mis­ing too much on qual­ity. If I could ask for any ad­vice with my pho­tog­ra­phy, it would be on my com­po­si­tion and tim­ing.


Toby, you clearly have a great love of pho­tog­ra­phy. Your im­ages are sharp and well-ex­posed and your hori­zon lines are level (you wouldn’t be­lieve how many land­scape pho­tog­ra­phers don’t get the last one right!). In re­gards to your tim­ing, land­scape pho­tos are all about the light on the land. (There’s more about this in this is­sue’s Ap­pren­tice on page 8.) Pick a place you want to shoot and, be­fore set­ting off, work out where the sun will be. Does it look best in the morn­ing or evening? Will it look bet­ter at a dif­fer­ent time of year? Avoid go­ing out in the mid­dle of the day in good weather; this is the worst light­ing for land­scapes. If the light­ing isn’t quite right, don’t fight it; try to work out why, and re­turn when it is.

Also, try to in­clude some in­ter­est in your fore­ground. Your shot of the rocks [02] has po­ten­tial, but you need to lead the viewer’s eye into the frame. A clear view of the rocks in the fore­ground would have acted as a vis­ual step­ping stone to the big­ger ones be­hind. Then you could per­haps have in­cluded the hori­zon at the top of the frame.

Your wa­ter­fall shot is also nice; you have the shut­ter speed set just right (too long and the wa­ter turns ‘milky’ with­out def­i­ni­tion; too short and you freeze the wa­ter droplets). It could be im­proved, though, by making more of the wa­ter it­self, and crop­ping out the dis­tract­ing rail­ings at the top. Try to elim­i­nate ev­ery­thing that doesn’t add to the pic­ture.

01 wat er­falls Nikon D7000, Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, 0.4 sec, f/16, ISO100

02 rocks Nikon D7000, Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, 30 secs, f/5.6, ISO100

03 span ish view Nikon D3100, Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO100

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