- February 26, 2017 at 6:33 pm #291740David ChesterfieldModerator
This time around we learn a little more about Dahlia Ambrose, @dahliaambrose
Tell us a little about yourself and your photography journey.
I am a physicist who has had great love for photography since my childhood. I must say that I used to enjoy flipping through the pages of my mother’s albums from her childhood and at college. I was attracted to those little square images in her album that had a sepia tone to them. Somewhere in my mind I had dreams of taking photos similar to those (which I have not) and I asked a few questions to my mother about what camera she had and so on. My mother owned an autofocus film camera at that time and her being a very strict parent, did not let us kids use the camera except for an occasional click sometimes.
When I was in middle school, I came across a book relating to photography processing and developing that was on sale at the school book exhibition. Out of curiosity, I got one of those and kept reading it over and over with dreams of owning a camera and processing + developing images in my own dark room. Little did I know that we were heading towards a digital age where darkrooms would be replaced with digital devices and accessories.
Later, it was at the time when digital cameras were slowly hitting the market, I got to lay my hands on one of my friends’ digital camera in 2002; a 3 mp camera and I was excited when my friend agreed for me to borrow it for a week. I used it to take a few images, but my knowledge of any settings or even basic photography was very limited. As it was an automatic camera, I just clicked away a few images.
After completing education and finally settling down in a job and saving up some money, in 2008, I got my first camera, a point and shoot with manual settings (Nikon P5100). I was very nervous at the start, and hadn’t used it for almost a year then. I did not even have time to read the camera’s manual due to my busy schedules and finally in 2009, I just started taking pictures mostly using auto settings. I would spend time looking at photographs posted by other people and wonder how they made that image. I had no friends who had interest in photography and I spent most of my time alone reading articles on photography or going on long walks trying something with my camera. I did not have the courage to reach out to anyone for any advise or for a start to get into photography.
It was during this time that mobiles came out in the market with good cameras and I started getting out during my lunch breaks just trying different settings in the mobile camera. I came across this macro setting, that helped shoot closeups and create images with some depth. It was at this time, I got my enthusiasm and hope back and I started playing with the settings on my point and shoot. I was slowly learning.
With just a 3.5x zoom on this point and shoot, I was so obsessed with taking photographs of the moon that I started trying. I tried and tried until one day, I tried the manual settings over and over and managed to get a “not too bad” image of the moon. I also started looking at light and playing with it. I was amazed at what one can do with a point and shoot camera. This got me hooked on to photography even more. It was a kind of addiction that I kept visualising frames when not behind the camera.
With my interest in photography only increasing, wanting to try different techniques and wanting to have that flexibility over camera controls, I decided to go for a DSLR which became possible in 2013 and I must say that I am happy that I decided to move to DSLR. Since then, I have watched various videos, read numerous articles and improved my skills as a photographer. I still have a long way to go before I can be an expert, but I have had the chance to buy some gear and try different cameras over the past few years. Most of all, I have started to travel in the recent years, which has allowed me to try types of photography like street which I haven’t tried before.
Where do you live?
I am an Indian who completed my education in India and went to live in the UK in 2005. I live in the Bedfordshire county and am currently travelling around SE Asia.
My hobbies revolve around photography, where I try different photography techniques and post processing techniques whenever I get some time. I like travelling, going on long walks and rides or sometimes just sit by the river and watch the swans and other birds have fun. I love watching documentaries and reading articles related to photography and technology. I also write occasionally on any topic that interests me.
How long you have had an interest in photography?
Since my childhood. I only got to use a camera when I was in University.
What got you interested in photography?
As mentioned above, looking at childhood photos of my mother and the way they looked different got me into thinking, “Why can’t I?” It has ever since been a passion deep within myself, that I wanted to get on at some point in my life.
What is the best advice you received so far regarding photography?
Don’t always follow the rules as you may just miss that moment
How do you maintain inspiration?
I constantly keep reading blogs of other photographers and watch videos on how they work on certain methods and techniques. It all comes with practice, so trying what I learn and wanting to achieve what I have in my head in the form of a photograph keeps me inspired.
What is your favourite subject to shoot and why?
I love nature and my favourite subject to shoot would be wildlife (includes birds, animals and insects) and the moon. It must be just because I am a nature person and I like spending as much time possible outdoors watching the world go by and how everything around me works. I started off with shooting nature, in the sense not landscape, but images of just flowers, insects and fallen leaves, etc. My colleagues would often find me crawling underneath bushes trying to photograph the fallen leaves or sometimes a snail.
I slowly started shooting landscapes, then the moon and then tried street (which was with great difficulty). It was in 2014, when I first visited Nepal, I was encouraged by my friend to try streets and I started taking photographs of the people and now I do it with a zoom lens. Lol. I still need to get that courage to try a shorter lens for streets. I have always wanted to take pictures of the Milky Way and still have not had a chance to get that done.
Do you have a favourite type of photography? (B&W, Macro, Landscapes, Astrophotography, etc.)
Macro and Astrophotography are my favourites, but I am still to try my hands on them.
How would you describe your photographic journey to date?
I am a self taught photographer and I have enjoyed every bit of it till date.
Are you currently involved with any photography projects? If so, what?
If you could only use one camera/lens combination for a year, which would you choose?
DSLR with the 24-70mm f2.8 lens as it can cover landscape, portraits, architecture and street, but I will miss shooting the moon and wildlife 🙂
Is a photographer that inspires you?
Sorry, no. I follow the works of a few photographers and learn from them.
Is there anything specific you intend to learn or improve in your photography?
To be more confident on the streets, learn to work on taking sharp wildlife photos and astrophotography. Oh and more importantly, I need to learn to make best use of all settings on my gear efficiently.
If people want to follow more of your work where should they go?
o 500px (http://500px.com/livingsta)
o Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/livingsta/)
o Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/livingsta/)
Provide links to 3 or 4 of your favourite images that can be displayed with the interview
https://500px.com/photo/74295069/ladybird-by-livingsta (because I love mobile photography, that is how I started)
https://500px.com/photo/147745871/she-is-a-wanderess-by-livingsta (because I love shooting portraits in natural light)
https://500px.com/photo/73055261/the-moon-and-the-jet-by-livingsta (because moon is one of my favourite subjects to photograph)
- February 27, 2017 at 12:08 am #291749TobieModerator
An interesting read, Dahlia! You did not mention which DSLR you bought but for shooting the stars (Milky way etc) you need a wide F/L so a full frame camera with good noise handling capabilities and a fast wide angle lens is most ideal. I bought a budget lens for this purpose which is said to be amongst the best out there: the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC (selling as Samyang in some countries). I have not really pushed it to its limits yet (it’s not always possible to find the darkest spots – 50km from the nearest town is still too close) but I already had some fun with it:
- February 27, 2017 at 9:10 pm #291828
@tobiepsg Hi Tobie, thank you so much for stopping by and for the advise. My first DSLR was the Nikon D5200 and I could not get a decent picture of stars or star trails with it. Not sure if it is the camera sensor or the kit lens that I was playing around with.
I have recently purchased the Nikon D750, and still looking to buy a wide angle lens. Thank you for sharing the image, it is awesome and the pictures of the Milky Way never fail to amaze me.
Last Christmas, I was looking to buy the 15-30mm f2.8 Tamron, but then dropped the idea. Still undecided on what lens to settle for. Thank you so much for your advise Tobie and for sharing your experience. It really helps. Would like to see more of the night sky images when you get some 🙂
- February 27, 2017 at 11:57 pm #291848TobieModerator
APS-C’s are not ideal for night sky shots but the D750 is perfect. All you now need is a fast wide angle lens – keep the Rokinon in mind, it’s excellent value for money. Here is another shot I took on the same trip but at a different spot:
Nikon D600 + Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC
f/2.8 | 20s | 4000 ISO
- February 28, 2017 at 2:44 pm #291954
Thank you for that Tobie. I will keep this in mind and thank you for sharing another awesome image. Love it!
- February 27, 2017 at 3:01 pm #291781chris pookParticipant
Really good to hear more about you Dahlia. I really enjoyed looking through your portfolio. You have great talent, a great eye. Thank you for sharing.
- February 27, 2017 at 9:11 pm #291829
- February 27, 2017 at 3:20 pm #291783FalxyParticipant
Dahlia looking through your Flickrs your mum would be proud….got a good eye for compo and colour….lovely!! 🙂
- February 27, 2017 at 9:12 pm #291831
- February 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm #291787TershaKeymaster
Really good to know more about you Dahlia, a very interesting read, and some great photography! 🙂
- February 27, 2017 at 9:13 pm #291832
- February 27, 2017 at 5:40 pm #291806Rob Wood (Admin)Keymaster
Great to know a bit more about you, Dahlia. 🙂
- February 27, 2017 at 9:13 pm #291833
Thank you Rob 🙂
- February 27, 2017 at 9:15 pm #291834
- February 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm #291984Anne HornsbyParticipant
Dahlia, I really enjoyed your story and seeing more of your photos. I love the snail under the withered flower – great catch!
- March 1, 2017 at 3:23 am #292023
- March 2, 2017 at 11:37 am #292170BobbieParticipant
As usual, it great to learn a bit more about members of this community.
Dahlia, I love your advice! I’m hoping you won’t mind because I’d like to continue it with this addition: “Sometimes break the rules to make the moment”.
- March 2, 2017 at 11:59 pm #292201
- March 2, 2017 at 12:19 pm #292174Rob EyersParticipant
A good read Dahlia. After looking through your images it is obvious you have a good eye. I particularly like the “Lost in Thoughts” one. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.
- March 3, 2017 at 12:01 am #292202
- March 2, 2017 at 9:11 pm #292200Robert AppleModerator
Great to learn more about another member of our community here. It’s always interesting how a person’s photography relates to their profession weather it mimics, follows, or is the opposite. Thanks for Sharing.
- March 3, 2017 at 12:02 am #292204
- March 4, 2017 at 4:13 am #292317ElinLParticipant
Thank you for sharing your interesting story with us Dahlia. I really liked to go through your collections, you have the eye for things and situations ! Can I ask what your field of physics is ? Or is that question to private ?
- March 5, 2017 at 4:43 am #292392
@elax Hi Elin, thank you for stopping by and glad that you liked the images.
I did Material Physics (crystal growth and characterisation) where I researched on the how the x-ray diffraction properties of crystals change while different amounts and types of impurities were added to them, although my interests were inclined towards digital electronics and communications. Have a lovely Sunday 🙂
- March 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm #292527Erik FransmanParticipant
Nice photographic journey.
Be glad you came across the photography and developing book on sale. Analogue is an experience that will always stay with you make you a better digital photographer because you needed to understand the technique in order to shoot, develop and print!
Love your moonshot with the plane. Nice.
I never make moon shots. Just do not have a long enough lens. (Not entirely true, I do not make them in photography. When I make films, we quite often make a moon or sunset shot with a very long lens which we usually have with us anyway)
Happy travels in Asia and looking forward seeing he pictures.
- March 8, 2017 at 1:13 am #292717
- March 21, 2017 at 6:54 pm #293878LeanneCParticipant
I enjoyed reading about your photographic journey as well. Also, you rock at handling our customer support on Light Stalking, as I have recently discovered. I am with you on the nature shots – I often find myself lying on the ground in ridiculous positions to get a shot of a ladybug or other interesting critter. I love the cover photo for your “Featured Member” piece.
- March 22, 2017 at 5:11 pm #293969
- March 28, 2017 at 4:32 pm #294673FrogdailyParticipant
Dahlia, it has taken me a while to get here and read your story and it is so nice to learn more about you! I follow you on 500px and love your photography – I especially like your photo called Dewdrops Glisten … have a great day
- March 31, 2017 at 8:52 pm #295101
- April 11, 2017 at 11:53 pm #296138MistyisleParticipant
Much enjoyed reading your story, Dahlia. We have a couple of things in common. I, too, took up photography in 2008. Also, you used a Nikon D5200, which I still use, though you have since moved on.
One of the members of our club, gave us a tip that if we were out doing street photography, it is good to have a lot of coins in smaller denominations to donate to street performers. That way you can throw a few coins in the hat and make more noise. I make a practice of always donating to street performers if I take a picture. The one time I did not have any change I took one of my most successful images ever. Am still embarrassed!
If you come to New Zealand, the South Island is a good place for taking pics of the night sky.
- May 4, 2017 at 12:07 pm #297983
@Mistyisle Thank you!
The tip that you have mentioned here about carrying coins is very useful and of course it is a very good idea. Strange, sometimes we make the most successful images in embarrassing and weird situations.
Wow, always wanted to make beautiful night images, but haven’t got a chance to be in a place where there isn’t much light pollution. Thank you for mentioning that location. Will be helpful some day when I visit. Have a good day 🙂
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.