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I've put this page together to tell people how someone with no formal training in photography can develop their interest into a passion.

The process started about 1994 when I was the President of the local branch of the National Parks Association.  I remember standing in front of the group of about 40 people at our monthly meeting and thinking to myself that there was only about 5 people in the room ever to have seen or likely to see the reasons for their belonging to the organisation - the remote wilderness of our national parks.

It was then I decided to devote my time in the bush to photography.  The problem was I was a very ordinary photographer.

Because I had a family and a small business I did not have the time to devote to formal education.

In summary, what I did was: joined a local camera club, joined a national camera club, attended an evening course, read a lot of books, took a lot of photos, explored the internet and most importantly took a lot of notes and evaluated.

Camera Clubs.  Can be good source of knowledge, note - can be.   In my case I sat up the back for the first few months and watched.  They usually have a monthly competition night and regular guest lecturers.  Like most clubs they are only as good as what the members are willing to commit to.  A lot of the work exhibited can be of very high standard.  The quality of the judging can be very erratic but they are a good place to start.  My experience is that wilderness photography does not rate highly in judging.  If you strike a group of "politicians", take heart, they are not all like that, find another group.

National/Correspondence Camera Clubs.  These can be very good; especially if location or time is a problem.

A great idea is the folio round.  This is a group of about eight photographers who send off a selection of slides to each other for assessment.  The photos all arrive at the same time, you have about a week to look at them, comment and give a score.   Much better than camera club competition nights.  Some groups take about three months for a folio to circulate, eg. The Australian Photographic Society (APS), and other groups about a month, eg. The Australian Portfolio Photographic Society (APPS).

The APS also has an extensive library of written study material and print and slide collections that are available to borrow.

National/International Competitions.  Usually run by people associated with camera clubs.  The standard here is world class.  Those that actively persue these competitions find there is a lot of work involved.   Basically, you send off your print or slide.  Just getting an acceptance is often considered an honour.  I haven't entered any myself.  Perhaps if I spent less time on web site publishing I might.

Evening Colleges.  Not many devoted to Wilderness Photography but they are a good place to meet like minded people.  The only one I did was over eight weeks and was very well run, by a retired professional photographer.  I did learn a few tricks that I would not have picked up from reading a book.

Books.  Probably the best place to learn.  It requires discipline, though.  What I mean is that note taking and thinking about how to apply the ideas is mandatory.  I will shortly publish a list of the books that have been of help to me.

The Internet.  The best place to find things.  Take your time to explore here, it will save you a lot of time.  If you publish your work on the net and are not arrogant you will make some good friendships with some very good photographers.  I spend a lot of time at www.flickr.com.

Take Photos.  Take lots of photos.  Look at them critically.   Make notes.  Analyse why they worked and did not work.

For a record of what I learnt go to my Lessons Learnt page.

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Any text and images found on this web page are copyright © Geoff Wise, 1998 - 2009All rights reserved.

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