About Me

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This is me on my way to a surf lesson in Cornwall, UK. All looks fine here, but a few minutes later it was a chaotic floundering of limbs and board! My dog Rufus was uninterested!

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I am one of a large army of enthusiastic amateur photographers having forever loved form, structure, colour, light and composition. I have often indulged myself in projects, whether getting up early for the golden dawn light or standing roadside at dusk capturing light trails on busy streets. Holidays and walks have frequently entailed my wife and son patiently waiting for me to catch up as I lagged behind finding new subjects, views and angles, and more recently I have subjected my wife to disturbed nights as I head out in the early hours to point my camera at the stars!

I can't say I have a speciality in any way as I've enjoyed landscape, macro, sports, portraiture, studio and night-time projects though the last few years have seen me take more B&W as well as astro/nightscapes. A small handful of commissions and one wedding is the limit of my semi-professional work. Whilst I am less of a true technical photographer I have always paid attention to colour temperature (white balance), depth of field (via aperture control), shutter speed and also some of the core tenants of composition such as lighting (front, side, back-lit/rim lighting), the rule of thirds (with the subject on a third axis, either horizontal or vertical) and leading lines (visual cues drawing your eye to the main subject). I try to leave post processing to a minimum though use Photoshop and Lightroom to carry out some cropping, levels and curves (black, white and tonal adjustments), dodging & burning, saturation (colour) and sharpening.  I also use DXO's Viveza for localised image enhancements and their SilverFX for black and white adjustments. 

 

As mentioned, black and white photography has become something of a passion. The tones of grey from black to white can bring out the senses of contrast and shadows, emphasise shapes and lines, and create a stronger connection to an image. Sometimes colour can be a distraction. "When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. When you photograph people in black and white you photograph their souls", Ted Grant.

 

And of course, if the subject or composition doesn't stand up, no amount of digital help will improve the image. Another quote, this time from Ansel Adams "A good photograph is knowing where to stand".

 

As for equipment, I have used a number of cameras ranging from mobile phone cameras (Apple), compacts (Rollei and Canon),  bridge (Sony) to full frame cameras with my current kit being the Canon R5 mirrorless with RF15-35mm, RF24-105mm and RF100-400mm lenses, as well as tripods and monopods. I also use a selection of filters (ND, graduated ND, polariser) made by Urth.
                                                                                                    
David Sykes

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