Neil Robinson

Selfie-Neil Robinson has been a member of Corio Bay Camera Club since July 2013. At our recent Image of the Year awards, Neil was runner up in the B Grade Open Colour and People categories in the digital projected image (DPI) section and also won the B grade DPI aggregate. Neil also won the “Most Improved” award for 2015.

We talked with Neil about his photography …

What is your photographic background?

I can still remember my father projecting the slides on to the lounge room wall and that I was the only one interested in them whilst all the other family members slept through the show. This is what grabbed my attention (the slide show, not the sleeping) – the fact that we can relive our holidays, important family events, even the backyard cricket matches. So in the mid to late seventies I scraped together some money & purchased a Zenit SLR (twin lens kit) from K Mart.

What are your favourite subjects and/or locations?

Predominantly I enjoy landscape photography, particularly anything including structures and water. I also enjoy the opportunity to attach the 100-400 beast and attempt photographing birds (feathered variety) and any other animal that will sit still long enough for me to focus on.

Who or what inspires you to go out and take photographs?

Until I joined the Corio Bay Camera Club I would just take the family out for a drive to a pre-determined place and hope there would be something somewhat photogenic there. But since joining the club it’s just my wife and I that venture out to nowhere in particular because there are images to be taken anywhere and everywhere. It’s just how you approach the subject before you that allows you to turn it into an interesting image. What inspires me is to have your peers, family and friends acknowledge your work and maybe even sell something to the public!!

What do you like to communicate through your photography?

Passion, attention to detail and a different perspective are some of the attributes I try to communicate through my images. I believe the passion is there…’s all the other stuff I have to improve on.

What sort of gear do you use and have you used in the past?

My first film SLR was the Zenit. After that I upgraded to an Olympus OM20, for which I bought a 200mm prime (if my memory is correct) and a motor drive. It all got a bit too much for me, lugging all the gear around, so that kit was sold to a workmate (who still has it). I then went to compact film cameras until the digital revolution hit. My first digital was a Fujifilm 3.2MP beast that I literally used until it broke. I must have spent a fortune on AA batteries for that thing. My first serious DSLR was the Canon 400D, which I still have, except for the 75-300mm kit lens that was sold to a friend. I started to get more serious and purchased a Canon 7D (I still have this as well) because I wanted to move away from the auto settings and this camera in part forced me into that. It’s about this time I joined the club. I was never really happy with the 7D, I always thought the image was quite noisy even at lower ISO’s but did love the Sigma 10-22mm attached to that camera. My latest is the Canon 5D MKIII and I absolutely love this camera.

What’s your favourite piece of kit?

No doubt my Canon 50mm f1.4 lens on the 5D is by far my favourite piece of kit. This lens enables me to take quality images in low light with high ISO’s all with minimal to zero noise. The shallow depth of field I can get with the f1.4 is super impressive.

Which of your images is your favourite?

I particularly like my image titled “The Boss”, a monochrome image of the owner of the Powerhouse, Ian Ballis, sweeping up. I love the way the late afternoon sunlight is streaming through the windows and is highlighting all the dust that Ian has disturbed. The light also hits the top of his head and side of his face and I was able to accentuate the lighting in Lightroom.

What do you think is your greatest photographic achievement?

To date, I was most honoured in winning the Corio Bay Camera Club most improved award for 2015. It indicated that I must be learning something from the fellow members and their exceptional work. Winning the award just overshadows the two postcards I have sold on Redbubble for the mind blowing commission of approximately $0.83

Is there anything that you’d like to improve in your photography?

Basically, everything can be improved on. Getting to a site pre-dawn would be a start.

Do you have any favourite photographic books, magazines and/or websites?

I bought a book written by Bryan Peterson titled “Understanding Exposure” that really connected and inspired me to get off the auto setting. I now understand the relationship between aperture, ISO & shutter speed and how to adjust these settings to achieve the image I want. I also purchased two books written by Jay Maisel which take a simplistic approach to composition. He is an advocate of “there is an image to be taken anywhere and at any time”. I also research a lot on the internet and subscribe to many publications/newsletters.

Is there photographer that you particularly admire?

I admire and try to learn from the fellow members, each of them have created a niche, and be it portraits, landscapes, birding, concerts and simple compositions that actually make a huge impact. Of the pros, I admire the landscape work of Dylan Toh. ( His attention to detail & lighting is phenomenal.

A photographer mate once told me that you need to create your own style, something that could take a while to achieve, but once you have achieved that, there is no looking back.

A selection of Neil’s work is shown below.

City Walk-3

City Walk – Geelong near St John of God Hospital, taken on a CBCC outing.

Cunningham Pier In Detail-2

Cunningham Pier in Detail – I hadn’t seen a image of the pier taken at this angle and black and white suited it

Fremont St-3

Fremont Street – This was taken in Las Vegas in October 2014. A very quiet side street.

Geelong Sunrise-2

Geelong Sunrise – Taken recently, I forced myself out of bed early.

GPAC Tree-2

GPAC Tre – A lone tree near Geelong Performing Arts Centre. I love the shallow depth of field from the 50mm f1.4 lens

Missed a Spot-2

Missed a Spot – Cleaning windows on the new Geelong library. Another from a club outing.

Skenes Creek-

Skene’s Creek – L liked the composition of the three foreground rocks & used a 20 second shutter speed.

The Boss-

The Boss – Wish I could take more like this. The Boss at the Powerhouse doing some housework.

The Power of Clouds & Canola-3511

The Power of Clouds & Canola – Out the back of the You Yangs. This image was taken for my “Out of the Hat” set subject…parallel lines. Love the contrast of the sky against the canola

Waterfront HDR-2

Waterfront HDR – The sunset was a bit lame this evening, so I took a HDR in camera and played around with it in Lightroom.