Lightning is a song that was written as a collaboration. My Aussie friend Jacob Darlinson came to me with a partially written song and asked me to help him finish it.

Song writing with someone else is a different challenge in comparison to writing on your own. There is a level of vulnerability in it as it takes courage to share creative ideas with other people, what you may think is great other people may not understand or connect with. You can clash in your styles or over where you think the song is going.

However alongside these challenges, there are a lot of positives to co-writing with people; you can bounce ideas, lyrics and melodies off one another and often come up with a much stronger dynamic to a song.’Lightning’ is an example of this. Jacob came to me with a song that was already close to being finished but was lacking a bridge. After listening to it I had a different thought of how that bridge could go, so together we created a more rounded song.

Jacob’s back in Australia now and he recently recorded this performance of our song. I’m really excited that it is going to be played at Soul Survivor Melbourne this year.



London in 60 Seconds

Inspired by another video I saw recently, I made this using footage I filmed in London, England.
All the footage was filmed between Saturday 30th April and Monday 2nd May 2011.

Filmed using a Canon EOS 550D.
Edited in Final Cut Pro 7.
Coloured (slightly) with Magic Bullet Mojo.

Stop Motion Pokemon Battle

Hello my name is David Hindman, I am 17 and I’m currently in my 2nd year of studying ICT at Nelson and Colne College. A couple of months ago our class were told to plan, design and create a stop-motion animation video.

I decided to do mine on Pokemon. So I researched some videos on YouTube and got to work. I started making the figurines but they weren’t turning out right, luckily a friend came over, noticed I wasn’t doing so well and offered to help me make them.

To make the video I positioned the camera and moved the figurines a little bit at a time in-between photos. I made the video using ICanAnimate and sound effects from Windows Movie Maker.

Anyway, the video is about a Pokemon trainer walking along when all of a sudden a Bulbasaur pops up and he has to defeat it by using his Charmander. I hope you like it!

P.S. Cathy here, we asked David what his Tutor thought of his assignment. Turn out he was given a Distinction for this video!


It’s a Hobby, It’s Okay

Meet Joe. Joe is a painter. He’s had one beginning painting class he was able to take during his intense Physical Therapy degree. He’s been using the same medium grade brushes for a while now (using them as long as he possibly can before they break down), and he doesn’t have all the latest art supplies. He does find time to paint at least once a week, thoroughly enjoying the hobby he loves. In some of his spare time he reads art blogs and borrows painting books from the library to learn new techniques. He keeps some of his art, he gives some to family as gifts, and some of it ends up in the trash. He doesn’t have aspirations to be famous or make a living off his art, he just loves the satisfaction and joy it brings him. Joe is a painter.

Meet Kim. Kim is a painter. Kim has a high degree in art, focusing specifically on oil painting and she continues to take lessons from a master painter that lives nearby. She spends multiple hours a day in front of her many easels. She has art displayed in galleries around town and has won a few awards to boot. Kim uses only the newest and nicest supplies for her paintings, and often makes her own brushes and mixes her own paints. She hopes someday to be a master painter and to have work in museums. She loves the satisfaction and joy painting brings her. Kim is a painter.

These two artists approach their art completely differently, and they both have varying intensities and aspirations, but they are both definitely painters. Yes, one is more advanced than the other, but they are both still painters. Just because one has professional aspirations and the other has hobbyist aspirations doesn’t diminish the fact that they are both artists. Art is something that can be done at any level: amateur, professional, hobbyist, first-timer, semi-professional, etc. I think in general most people would agree.

I consider myself an artist. In addition to photography I like to paint, draw, sew, and do calligraphy. I am by no means even close to being a professional in any of the mediums, but that’s not my aspiration at all. Even though I don’t have professional aspirations in art I find it fulfilling and exciting. Photography is very much an art to me and I love saying, “I am a hobbyist photographer.” That title doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve always loved photography, and I got into it more seriously when I decided to try taking nice pictures that I could turn into paintings. It’s evolved a lot since then, but photography continues to be an expression of art for me.

Granite Gap Peak, New Mexico

Granite Gap Peak, New Mexico

To further my hobby, I follow a number of photographers online, read articles, and explore books at the library. I’m a learning a great deal, but I have also discovered an attitude in the photography world that bothers me. There is so much “chatter” online regarding hobbyist photographers.
Professionals are understandably trying to identify themselves to their clients as being more than just a hobbyist so as not to lose business to the rising generation of hobbyists. I’ve seen people go on tirades on Facebook and forums about how there are too many people who think they are
photographers because they own a camera. Hobbyists and amateur photographers have their work put down so often that many are more timid about sharing their work because of fear of what the professionals might say.

My great grandfather was a photography hobbyist, and I personally think he was amazing. Here are three of his photographs that I love:

Grand Teton Mountains

Grand Teton Mountains

Old Adobe Church, San Pedro, New Mexico

Old Adobe Church, San Pedro, New Mexico

Navajo Family

Navajo Family

Professionally, my great-grandfather was a federal judge, but he spent large amounts of time doing photography. He won numerous prizes at the state fair for his photographs. My aunt went to get a print of his framed and the framer thought she had brought in a plagiarized Ansel Adams photo. He was “just” a hobbyist, but he sure had fun with photography and it was okay and accepted. We cherish these photos he took and many of us have his prints hanging on our walls.

One of the great things about photography is that you can just pick it up and then delve into as deep as you want to go. If you want to just be able to capture memories throughout life, you can do that, or if you want to be a professional with all the set up and gear, you can do that too. Many things in life take formal training, but not everything. They used an argument I’ve seen on photography discussion boards, on social networking sites, and on a few other photography blogs that goes something like this: Doctors, accountants, lawyers, cosmetologists and truck drivers all have to have certification before they can do their job and practice in their chosen field, and photographers should too. That argument makes me laugh a little. Those jobs all require certification because they can ruin someones life if they don’t know what they are doing (yes, even a cosmetologist, don’t turn up your nose). If a photographer doesn’t know what they are doing and mess up a shoot, a life isn’t ruined. Yes, it’s a bummer, but life will go on pretty much as normal. When someone plays the piano in church, most people don’t get upset at them because they haven’t had formal training in piano performance. Self-taught artists are usually not looked down on for painting without taking expensive lessons. Photography is the same way. It is another form of art, another person’s perspective on the world.

I know a lot of people are excited about photography right now and are buying fancy cameras and going out trying to make money off of it; perhaps it’s a fad, perhaps it is here to stay. Either way, it’s just fine. I can understand why professionals might be upset, but I can understand why hobbyists want to just take pictures. Photography has changed with the digital revolution, and that’s changed who can be photographers and how easy it is to take pictures. Some people want just a simple family snapshot, and some want the “official” professional studio portraits; people will generally go and find the type of photographer they are looking for.

I have other photographers in my family who are amazing and it is fun to see the different levels of interest, the different styles, and the different ideas. There are hobbyists, photography majors, professionals, etc. I love seeing everyone’s photos. We all support each other in our interest. I don’t ever feel put down by those family members that have more photography training or education than I do. It’s just fun! I’ve really come to realize that the amount of photographers out there doesn’t matter. It doesn’t lessen the art. It shows how diverse everyone is. It gives the photographer a chance to show who they are through their chosen medium.

So what about the technical aspect? Does it matter? Yes. A photographer will get better and better the more they learn about their camera and supplies, but you have to be able to couple the technical side with putting together a composition, reading your subjects, using color, etc. The technical side is just one of many sides to photography. Yes, there are people that just turn their cameras to auto and shoot away. Is that wrong? No. Does that mean they aren’t “real” photographers? No. Does shooting in auto make you incompetent? No. Does shooting on auto mean you are lazy and un-artistic and not learning? No way Jose. I’d pretty much bet that most modern professional photographers started out on auto and that they’d tell you they learned a lot about photography while still shooting in auto. Of course there are huge benefits to learning to shoot in manual, but not everyone needs to shoot in manual.

So, since I’m a hobbyist I should leave the important shoots, like weddings, to the professionals so I don’t botch it up, right? Not a chance. I love playing the piano, but just because I’m not a concert pianist doesn’t mean I have to leave all the hard and intricate songs to those who are professionals and will get the song perfectly right. I LOVE shooting weddings. I love every kind of shoot I do, but I really LOVE shooting weddings. I’m always nervous before any kind of shoot, but the times I feel the most confidence in myself are when I’m shooting a wedding. I still have a great deal to learn, don’t get me wrong. People shouldn’t be told that they can’t practice art because they’re not good enough.

I used to get defensive about being a “hobbyist” photographer, but not anymore. I’ve made the decision that I don’t want to be a high end professional photographer with a huge waiting list of clients. While that sounds flattering, it also sounds stressful and not fun at all (which is partly why I love photography). I love taking pictures for me, and I love taking pictures for other people. I find joy in the photos, and I get excited when other people find joy through my photos, but I’m perfectly fine with being a hobbyist photographer. I don’t have to have a huge list of clients to enjoy what I am doing. I loved photography before anyone ever paid me for a photo shoot. I will always love photography. If no one ever paid me again, I’d still have a blast. The joy is in taking the pictures and learning to get better. The joy is in the art. The joy is in creating.

An Autumn Walk

These photos were taken in 2012 in November, Spring wood forest near Whalley in Lancashire. The light was perfect and I was just getting to grips with my 50mm manual, fully open to f/1.4. Trying to focus on objects far away is very tricky at those settings, especially without a zoomed in live preview. Lucky for me I have upgraded my camera since then, and now life is easier.

I love getting the chance to shoot with the 50mm, especially when I get to blowout the background with a lovely bokeh effect.




This final photo is one of my favourites. I spotted a squirrel and was in the process of getting closer to it, very very quietly. Then from behind me a little Scottish terrier comes bounding right past. The squirrel is long gone and this little fluff ball disappears into the fern. We could hear the owners calling out for him, “Charlie! Charlie!” as he made his way back to them I managed to snap this beaut. I liked it so much that I printed out on canvas and hung it on my wall.