A little explanation......
I started to develop an interest in photography when I was at school which continued sporadically while at polytechnic. The problem was I didn't think I was any good, a belief which was supported by many of the results which came back from the developer. By the time I had the prints I couldn't understand why some were good and others frankly appalling, the time lag between taking the shot and getting the end result was too much for my memory to cope with. Over time my interest waned, the cost of developing prints and inconsistent results finally took their toll.
I didn't stop taking photos, they were limited to point and shoot compacts which were quick to use and nearly always produced a good photo.
I get great pleasure from walking and spent many weekends stretching my legs in the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorks Moors. I always carried my Canon Ixus and knocked out a few shots of the views on the way up and of course the obligatory summit pic, usually shrouded in mist or horizontal driving rain. I am still using the Canon which has survived more soakings and hard landings than it was ever designed for but it is still going strong!
What I started to find was that my photo's didn't do the landscape or the entire experience any justice. Spending a little more time to frame the photo better or to take a photograph that wasn't the obvious one meant having to stop, ok if you are walking on your own, but unfair if you are with a group. Like many beginners and thinking back to my experience with film I thought that if i had a better camera then I would take better pictures. Obvious really, or so I thought. So I went out and bought a shiny new D5000, the improvements were immediate - more powerful and modern processor, better lense, and it forced me to spend a little more time taking each photograph; all of which resulted in an immediate improvement. Lets face it, the camera was doing most of the thinking and it is pretty good at it. I still have my Minolta SLR and remembered that using the semi auto functions that it had were very helpful and improved the finished product. So I started to fiddle more with the multitude of functions available. The results were hugely varied, my enjoyment and satisfaction when I got it right went up exponentially.
After a year we joined a half day course with John Potter, a local landscape photographer based in York. A few hours with John taught me a few simple steps to improve my photography and how to get consistent results. The other single item I took away from the lesson was what could be achieved with a little careful manipulation in Photoshop. I couldn't justify the expense of the full version of photoshop so I invested in Elements 10.
I took a couple of short evening classes which taught me more about Photoshop than I ever needed to know, it also cemented the understanding that it really is just the digital equivalent of darkroom development without much of the expense or the potentially dangerous exposure to darkroom chemicals.
My single objective for the future is to enjoy what I am doing, in achieving that I would like to think that my photographs will improve. Time will tell..............