Member Spotlight – Ken Fuller
Name: Ken Fuller
Years with the club:
I’ve been a member of the Kingston Photographic Club for 5 or 6 years and, although I’m not usually one for joining groups, I was initially intrigued by the list of presentations and some of the photographs I’d seen by members.
I have two Canon camera’s, a 5D Mark II and a Rebel S1. The 5D shoots full frame and the S1 is a smaller, much lighter camera and is a great travel companion. I have three lenses, two L series (24-105 and 70-300) and the 18-55 kit lens that came with the S1. All three have image stabilization which is a great feature when your hands get old and shaky. The S1 will accept my L series lenses, which is one of the main reasons I chose it. Both camera’s shoot RAW format which is the standard I shoot in.
Number of years making pictures:
I’ve been struggling with photography since 1965. I had joined the army at that time and with my first pay I purchased a small Minolta camera. That camera was eventually replaced by a Pentax SLR film camera. I was a member of the Queen’s Photographic Club many years ago but I only did that to gain access to the darkroom in order to learn how to process and print my own B&W images. For several years I moved away from still photography and shot Super 8 film and later videotape and digital movies.
Experience with photography:
I came back to still photography with the advent of high-quality digital camera’s. I liked the idea of immediate feedback and the fact that you could shoot images without running out of film (or enduring the cost of processing them). This allowed for more experimentation with lighting, timing and a variety of other basic photographic elements. It also allowed me to shoot in RAW and then manipulate those images to my hearts content. Given my experience with B&W in the darkroom, the thought of processing at home, then printing colour images
was also quite attractive.
I do most of my own printing. I have a relatively inexpensive Epson R2000 printer and I have been experimenting with different papers in an attempt to create good quality permanent images.
I’ve recently tried my hand at judging photographic work. I’ve completed the CAPA judging course and I’ve done a couple of judging events but I’m still not sure whether judging other’s images is as rewarding as trying to make my own best image.
What do you like to photograph?
I enjoy dramatic landscape shots and I do a fair amount of event shooting. I’ve been the “official” photographer for over a dozen weddings for family and friends and the results then become my present to the newlyweds. Since I retired 7 years ago I’ve also done a large number of “pro bono” event shoots for non-profit organizations. A spin-off of these event shoots has been the creation of slideshows that attempt to give a sense of what the event meant to the participants….and this has been a lot of fun and very rewarding.
How did you come to do photography?
I have no idea why I wanted to become a photographer. I suspect that growing up with images from Life and National Geographic I was hoping to emulate such amazing images. I also think that somewhere deep inside is an artist and since I can’t draw or paint, photography is a good way of expressing myself.
Your favourite piece of gear and why:
My 5D is still my favourite camera but it’s heavy and lugging it around can be a chore. That’s why I like my Black Rapid camera straps. I wouldn’t be able to carry my 5D if it was hung from a traditional, around the neck, camera strap. When I do event shoots I use a double BR strap that allows me to carry both camera’s easily and makes them both quickly accessible.
Next piece of gear on your wish list:
I’d like to get a quality 100 mm macro lens. I’ve tried some macro work with my telephoto lens but it’s just not the same. I’m not gear crazy and I know that no amount of gear is going to improve my photographic eye but I think the right lens would make a difference for macro work.
Do you prefer black and white, colour or both?
If you are trying to make an image that reflects emotion or something nostalgic I think monochrome does that best and I think portraits are often better in B&W. I often find that colour itself becomes what the eye regards as important and that’s fine if that was the intent but it’s amazing how a small bit of colour in an image can detract from the point of the image as you originally saw it.
Having said that I also like colour images because they are more realistic and tend to result in lighter, happier emotional responses.
What post-processing tools do you use?
I use Lightroom as it most closely reflects the processes I learned to use in the darkroom. I have experimented with HDR and B&W software and I use Pro Show Gold for creating slide shows. I don’t tend to use Photoshop but that should probably be on the bucket list.
Something you have been meaning to try photographically but haven’t gotten around to yet:
I would like to become a better portrait photographer. I’d also like to study both photography and art in more detail to help me understand what the eye is seeing and what we find appealing in images. From the beginning, I saw photography as an art form and I keep working toward that goal for my work.
Favourite photographer / photography website / photography magazine / photography book:
I don’t follow the many great photographers that are out there or the trade magazines and that should be part of my understanding of artistic photography. I do think that Karsh made amazing portraits and that Ansel Adams set a standard for B&W landscapes. I have a great deal of admiration for photojournalists and combat photographers who take the notion of portraying emotions to the extreme.
The best photographic advice you have received:
F8 and shoot. I usually shoot handheld, a “run and gun” approach, since most event shooting requires that. If you set your aperture at F8 and allow the shutter speed to find it’s own way, you will usually have a depth of field that works for most action or activity shots and even landscape shots. I often switch that about and set the shutter at 1/125 and let the F take care of itself. This strategy reduces camera shake and if the focus is right can present a pleasing effect with a sharply focussed target and a blurred background.
I you travel, what photography gear travels with you?
I took the S1 on the last two trips to Europe. With the kit lens, it’s very light and simple to manage. I also take the 70-300 lens, which has a focal length multiplier for that camera of 1.6 giving the lens an effective range of 112-480 which is almost super telephoto. I’ve tried taking images with my phone but I can’t get the hang of framing the image properly while holding the thing out in front of me.
What have you most enjoyed about your membership in the Kingston Photographic Club?
Above all else, I’ve met some very nice people who also happen to be great photographers.
I’ve really enjoyed the guest presentations and I’ve learned a tremendous amount since joining but I also think the idea of members showing there work has been both fun and instructive.
I’ve enjoyed the competitions since we usually get fairly constructive feedback and the themed monthly competitions really force one to move outside of one’s comfort zone, which is a great way to make photographic progress.
I’ve only managed to go on a couple of outings but these too have been enjoyable, primarily because this is a very relaxed, friendly, but inquisitive group. There’s no pretension and there’s always someone willing to talk about their work and/or share there most sacred