Start them young
Toby Crewe is taking his first steps on his photography journey
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  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