This months featured photographer is Pat Judge, we took a time out to ask him a few questions about his photographic journey. Pat has been an active member of Greystones Camera Club since his first visit back in September 2012.
Q1. Tell us about yourself and what made you join GCC...
Pat: I work as an Engineer in charge of the Signal, Electrification and Telecommunications Department in Irish Rail. I work to live and photography is a major part of my life, second of course to my wife, Katherine and five sons. I bought my first camera when I started work in 1979, an Olympus Trip 35mm. For years I took "snaps" here and there. About seven years ago I bought my first D SLR (after being tormented by my son Paul), a Nikon D60, and spent several years taking more "snaps" with the settings all in "Auto". In 2011, I decided to figure out the other settings and to join a club. The obvious choice had to be local as I live here in this wonderful town of Greystones.
My first visit to GCC was on a night out to Bray and the fist contact was with John McGowan who I met at the railway station. The evening was a great success and everyone was helpful.
My aim was to meet like minded people, learn how to use the camera and enjoy photography.
Q2. What type of photography do you do most? What do you enjoy most and why?
Pat: I enjoy most forms of photography but especially landscapes. I love to travel and do my best to avoid crowded towns and cities. I love the open country and seaside. I enjoy mountainous terrain and areas that are unspoilt.
Images taken at sunrise and sunset offer rewarding challenges and get you out to places when the normal folk are asleep.
Q3. Among all the images you have taken, do you have a favourite? Why?
Pat: In truth there are several images that I could name but the most striking to me were images taken in Northern Scotland and the Isle of Skye while on a photographic trip. I went on two trips to Northern Scotland and the Isle of Skye, one with my brother in law, Paul Skehan and the second also with Paul and Arthur from the GCC. My favourite image was taken from high up on The Old Man of Storr in the Isle of Skye. It was taken on a cold March morning and Paul and I went up early to avoid the tourists as the place is quite famous for walkers and hikers. It was a clear day, something that seldom happens, and the view from above of the unspoiled landscape is magnificent; well worth the walk up.
Another favourite was a black and white image of an idyllic spot called Elgol in the Isle of Skye.
Q4. How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
Pat: I use a variety of ways. I love photography books especially books with landscapes from Ireland and the UK. Some of my photos are based on what I've seen others do and trying to see can I do likewise or improve. I think the internet is fantastic especially tutorials on post processing. In fact, there is a wealth of information easily available on Google for anyone with the interest to look it up, and it costs nothing.
GCC is a fantastic club as the members are all like minded photographers ranging from professionals to novices. Everyone is extremely helpful and the club nights (and outings) are great opportunities to gain and share knowledge and experiences.
Q5. In the field, do you have a preferred shooting mode?
Pat: I always shoot raw except on occasions where I want several images but am not planning any post processing. When I shoot handheld, I usually shoot in aperture priority at about f/9, ISO 200 or less and ensure that the shutter speed is as high as possible (even if this means using Auto ISO). When I use a tripod, I shoot usually in aperture priority at f/9, ISO 100 and whatever shutter speed the camera dictates. I use manual settings for night photography or where I deliberately want a slow shutter speed.
Q6. What kind of tools do you use for post processing?
Pat: I work on an Apple MacBook Air and keep all my images on external hard drive and back it up at least twice per month. I manage all my photography through Adobe Lightroom. I also use Photoshop, Nik Color and Silver Efex but most processing is done in Lightroom.
I am of the opinion that time spent in composing and taking the photo is much better than time spent post processing. I love trying new / different software such as those from MacPhun (focus CK, Intensify CK etc).
Q7. Whose work has influenced you most in recent times?
Pat: Colin Prior, a Landscape Photographer and author of several books has some fine landscape images well worth a visit. Among the images are several from Northern Scotland and the Isle of Skye, places that I have visited and fully intend to revisit as soon as possible. On an Irish front, John Hooton an award winning landscape and seascape photographer has superb images of the Wild Atlantic Way and Dingle in Co. Kerry.
Q8. When you go away on holiday, what camera gear do you bring with you? Why?
Pat: I use a Nikon D610 Full Frame camera and two lenses for the majority of my photographs, a Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 telephoto and a Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 wide angle. I usually take the camera and the telephoto lens on holidays but am planning to purchase a new camera specifically for holiday travel, something along the lines of a Fuji XT1.
Q9. Among the photography gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn't bought? Why?
Pat: The one item that I bought and have never successfully used are extension tubes. I found that the reduction in light was such that it was virtually impossible to get any decent image. Maybe I'll try again sometime.
Q10. Finally, What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
Pat: If you are serious about photography and intend developing your skills over time then go for quality not quantity. Buy once. Its better to buy a good camera and one lens than something cheap and several cheap lenses. It costs more in the long run.
Take time to learn. There's no hurry especially if its your hobby.