Update: This post was originally posted on 21st October 2019 but after changing my website this post had to be re-published due to technical issues.
One great way to improve your photography is to do a photo project where you go out and only take photographs of a certain subject. Back in August I did just such a project by going to TruckFest Scotland at Ingilston, Edinburgh.
I will admit I more went because my partner wanted to go as he is daft on anything that has an engine in it as his photography Facebook page SB Transport Photography shows. However, I found that I actually really enjoyed myself and we are already planning on attending more tuck shows together.
When I attended this show I only had my point and shoot camera and this did frustrate me as I was unable to get the wide angle shoots I wanted, I was limited between f3.3 and f8 and my battery died half way round despite being full when I had checked it the day before.
However, when I say halfway round I had been shooting almost continuously for about 2 hours. But I didn’t have another battery for my point and shoot as it not something I have ever thought about, as I’ve not ever needed an extra battery.
If you are going to be doing a lot of shooting at an event with your point and shoot you might want to look at the possibility of getting a spare battery. That way you might avoid the frustration I had that day back in August.
As I just mentioned I couldn’t get the wide angle shoots I wanted and this photograph perfectly represents what I mean
When you compare my photo to my partners photo you can hopefully see the difference having a lens that does wide angle makes. Although this is of a different set of trucks they don't look nearly as squashed in as my photo.
Another challenge when you are at a busy event is people walking into your shoot or just blatantly walking in front of you when you are clearly taking photos. Below is an example of this challenge.
This is an annoyance and you will hear every photographer complain about it. Unfortunately this is the nature of these events you have people who are not photographers wandering about and they are not realising they are in the way of a photographer. When this happens I find it best just to smile and take the photo again.
Another challenge on this particular day was the great Scottish weather, one moment it was over cast but dry, then it was raining then it was blazing sunshine. The only thing you can do with weather like that is either roll with it and compensate for it with your camera settings or decide that you’re going to give up for the day. But in my opinion it’s when things are being unpredictable, whether that’s the weather or the subject that you are shooting, that you grow most as a photographer.
Despite my camera battery dying on me I still managed to get over 300 photos on the day, some were less than stellar while others I am really proud of. But most importantly I had fun and my partner and I had quite a few of the truck drivers laughing as we ‘argued’ over who had the best photograph. It’s the downside when two photographers date things can get a tad competitive but never to an unhealthy level between my partner and myself.
I also ended up preforming some ‘photo sutra’ in other words putting myself in some odd positions to get a photo. I remember at one point I was in one of these positions when my partner called over asking what I was doing my response ‘getting a photo’. Once I had said I photo I turned to realise that a number of truck drivers were looking at me laughing. I suppose leaning over with my bum stuck out and my legs so far apart that I looked like I was trying a really bad splits was quite funny. However, if getting myself funny looks is what it takes to get a photo it’s what I’ll do. Annoyingly the photo didn’t turn out quite how I wanted it to, but it’ll always make me laugh that photo remembering that point in time.
My partner has commented a few times how he looked over at one point to see me straddling a rope taking a photo. The photo I was taking was this one.
Now yes it’s not a truck and it wasn’t technically on display it was actually catering unit for the truckers as they were there for 3 or 4 days. However, it was a beautiful vintage bus and I couldn’t resist the temptation to photograph it. Though going by the look on one of these drivers faces he wasn’t impressed not that it bothered me.
I learnt a few things at Truckfest, the first I’ve already covered and that is to have a spare battery if possible. Or possibly had I had one of those battery banks I could’ve charged my camera when I stopped for lunch and I would’ve got a while more with my camera. If anyone has done this please let me know how you got on with it.
Another was to be patient as there will be times you have to wait for other (non photographer) spectators to walk past so you can get the photo you want.
The last big lesson I learnt was to be more aware of what I am taking a photo of as when I got home and put my photos on to my laptop I realised that there were things I could’ve improved before taking the photo. For example, in the photo below if I had paid more attention, I would’ve realised that one of the cab doors was open. Had I realised this at the time I would’ve asked the driver I was talking to if it would be possible for the door to be shut for a moment. A lot of the drivers were more than happy to do this and I wish I had done this as it would’ve made this photo so much better.
Overall, I had a great day despite the challenges of the day mainly my camera battery and I am really looking forward to going again next year. Hopefully, depending on my work I might be able to attend both days as this will allow me to get even more photos and better ones.
As I mentioned above, I took over 300 photos on the day and although not all of them have turned out how I wanted them to I am happy with a lot of them.