An Inspiration of Art

Kishaya's adorable curls are just one of her best features.

Kishaya's adorable curls are just one of her best features.

By Melanie Johnson

I knew the big move from Brisbane to Kowanyama was certainly going to create some personal challenges but I never thought it would inspire me to make the progression from amateur to professional photographer. I have always enjoyed taking photographs and sharing them with family and friends, but since moving to Kowanyama and producing the images that Kowanyama has compelled me to capture, photography has now become my obsession.
Photography has a different meaning for many people and there are many reasons people choose to take photographs. For me it’s about seizing that particular moment and recording it. After that instant has passed those moments then become memories. Photography enables us to print those memories and treasure them forever. It’s about remembering the feel of the wind in your hair, how happy you felt at that moment and the smell that was in the air that day. Sometimes people don’t want to forget that special point in time and I believe photography preserves those special memories and helps us to remember those special people in our lives.

Kaitlyn and Amelia in a friendly embrace.

Kaitlyn and Amelia in a friendly embrace.

In my belief, anyone can take a good photo, but to produce a flawless image there is a huge amount of technical knowledge needed and this may take many years of experience to master. To me, creating a flawless image is not as simple as clicking on the shutter button of your camera, there is a thought process that goes into each image that is produced. I have included a basic outline that I use when taking my images. Firstly you must develop an idea for a photograph; once you have selected your subject you must then frame and compose your subject thoughtfully, after you have done that you must evaluate the lighting on your subject which may then lead you to change technical aspects on your camera. Once you have done this you are ready to release the shutter button and create your image. Despite what some people may think, photography is full of challenges. Sometimes you may be lucky and create a breathtaking image with very little effort but other times no matter how many attempts you make the shot is impossible to capture.
The Kowanyama weather often presents a challenge for photographers. Cameras should not be exposed to extremely high temperatures and as temperatures can reach almost 40 degrees some days, it makes conditions for outdoor photography quite difficult. Never leave your camera in a hot car or in direct sun light for extended periods of time, however if for some reason your camera needs to be in the sun, you should make sure you cover it with a light coloured cloth or towel.

Breathtaking landscapes and scenery surround the community of Kowanyama. This beautiful sunset was taken at the mouth of Topsy Creek.

Breathtaking landscapes and scenery surround the community of Kowanyama. This beautiful sunset was taken at the mouth of Topsy Creek.

During the wet season it can rain constantly for weeks, which means if you choose to shoot outdoors you need to take the necessary precautions from rain or you may run the risk of damaging your equipment. When changing lenses it is surprisingly easy to get dust on your image sensor and when this happens dust will appear on your images as dark spots. You can edit and fix these spots with the appropriate software but once the dust has attached itself to the sensor it is extremely difficult to remove. Although you can clean the sensor yourself with the correct liquids and swabs, I believe you need more than courage to do this and I would definitely recommend taking it to a professional to have cleaned.

Kowanyama kids eagerly watch on at the rodeo.

Kowanyama kids eagerly watch on at the rodeo.

Caring for your camera equipment is an extremely important factor in photography, because without it you have no means of taking photographs. If, like me, you are always on the move when taking photos, the first thing I would recommend would be a reliable camera case. I have a selection of Lowepro padded backpacks and it depends on the conditions and the location of the photography as to which sized case I might use. From the hard-shelled Pelican cases with internal padding, to the padded and zippered Lowepro bags, you won’t have to look any further than either of these two brands. On all my lenses I use a UV filter (among other filters) and I feel these are a must as they not only reduce bluish tones from UV rays, but they act as a constant lense protector – after all it is much cheaper to buy a new filter than to replace a lense.

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