Indefinite articles

Some personal thoughts on the art and craft of photography

On this page you’ll find links to my personal reactions to various photographic issues. I stick to more subjective topics, not the nuts and bolts of actually taking or processing an image: there are hundreds of tutorials online that you can read for that.

  • Reality and deception in photos: some common misconceptions about digital photos, and my ethos for creating ‘real’ images.
  • A sense of place: why I don’t find the need to jet all over the world to spectacular locations with my camera. (Even should I be able to afford it!)
  • Am I digital dinosaur? I don’t use PhotoShop to fix poor photos: find out why not. (Not only because I use other image editors…)
  • Serendipity and planning: sometimes, a photo is there in front of my eyes just waiting to be taken. Other times, I have to work at it to find the right conditions.
  • The art of seeing: we all need to learn how to see in order to take a compelling photograph. In this article, I analyse some images by other photographers and explain why I think they work – but you are free to disagree!

As I say, all this is my personal take: you probably have different ideas and styles, which is fine. I am not attempting to impose my standards on anyone else, just explaining what they are for anyone interested in what lies behind the images here.

About the featured image above

It’s a bit of a visual pun – I call the image “basketball bokeh”. It’s the imprint of a hard ball on the weathered concrete of the sea defences in Lyme, but strongly reminiscent of bokeh – especially macro images of dew or rain. Seen in the camera’s LCD screen, they have a tesselated appearance quite like the imprints.

So, I thought it fitted quite nicely with the idea of what’s real and what isn’t, touched on in some of my musings.

Further reading

If you are interested in these subjects, I can recommend a short list of articles by other writers:

  • Levels of Abstraction, and the Veracity of Digital Prints, both by the late Michael Reichmann. Two articles that address how far away any photo is from reality. (Requires a subscription to read.)
  • The Dilution of Effort by Bruce Wilson: why you should try to make every shot count, rather than snapping away regardless.
  • Previsualization by Ron Bigelow: contrasting the attitudes of ‘happy snappers’ and people who take care over every shot. He also has some other excellent articles, for example on composition and the quality of light.
  • The Art of Photography (PDF file) by Stephen Haynes. An eloquent and reasoned argument against those film photographers who insist that digital images should be identified as such, and by inference, be viewed as inferior. Stephen’s web site is at
  • a stunning sky! approaches in landscape photography by Wim van Velzen. This is one of several thoughtful articles on landscape photography, and man’s place in it, written by Wim. Like me, he loves the landscape of Scotland!

Indefinite articles? Sorry – just my love of playing with English. For those without encyclopædic knowledge of English grammar, the indefinite article is “a” or “an”, rather than the definite article, which is “the”. I wanted to convey that this is just my opinion rather than anything to rely on.