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One of Us #65 - Atom Ant

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Category: Dyxum Photographs
Forum Name: One of Us
Forum Description: Selections of photographs from Dyxum members
Printed Date: 10 December 2019 at 21:09

Topic: One of Us #65 - Atom Ant
Posted By: mikey2000
Subject: One of Us #65 - Atom Ant
Date Posted: 18 June 2019 at 13:31
One of Us #65: Atom Ant

Dyxum member Atom Ant writes...

When Mike invited me to write this he said “I think you probably know the format...“ . Well, the format, as I understand it, starts with telling you that I have a long standing interest in photography & to show some fabulous shots that I took on film in the distant past. Here I already have a small problem… Yes, I was interested. At school, I was a founding member of the photography club! (How’s that for pedigree?) And there was a family hand-me-down Pentax. But, sadly, the photos were rubbish. I’ll spare you samples, if only because they are, essentially, lost.

The loss of the photos I’ll blame on having moved about a bit - which I’ll blame, in turn, on a combination of career & wanderlust. At this point, I should explain that I’m an Australian but moved from there in 2004. Since then I’ve lived in Singapore (twice) & London but have recently moved back to Sydney. I have also retired so that, while the career has passed into history (though I guess not legend), the wanderlust remains.

To get back to photography, when I moved from Australia I bought my first digital camera with the intent of keeping family & friends informed of my adventures. It was a simple point & shoot but I grew fond of it. At least it got me shooting again after a period when my interest & time for photography had waned. Overall, it was really satisfying - even if the results weren’t outstanding. Here are a couple of samples:

1: Winged Victory, Louvre, Paris">

2: Dawn at Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan">

During this period I had resisted suggestions (mostly from my partner Anne) that I should get a “good camera”. Nevertheless, in 2013 I found myself in a camera store with Anne explaining that I was going to get a good camera NOW and I couldn’t refuse because it was a birthday present from her and anyway she needed me to take photos on the big trip to Africa she had been planning. I walked out with a brand new A58 – on the basis that my elder son (I have two grown sons by the way) had bought a Sony & he would have done some research, wouldn’t he?

The A58 helped me lift my game. And a large part of that was due to finding this forum in late 2013 & doing the Photography Assignments. So I will again thank Brian, pegelli & all the others who help out there. Consequently my story as a photographer is pretty much my history on Dyxum. Which leads me to my first POTW! It was shot outside Mandalay as a submission for the Silhouette assignment:

3: Monks returning to monastery outside Mandalay">

Soon after, I took this shot along with some similar ones:

Yes, I realise it’s not as interesting as the previous but there’s a story. At the time, my objective in photography was to make better travel snaps. I would have loved to make more creative shots but doubted I was capable. But this particular afternoon I was free, so I wandered to a local park & took some photos of nothing in particular. I was pretty happy with the results. Maybe I wouldn’t be so excited now, but that afternoon did make me think I might be able to attempt more than travel snaps.

This shot probably shows something of what I privately think of as my “style”. I’ve always thought that one of the neatest tricks of a photographer is to take an almost random rectangular piece of the world and convince the viewer that it’s interesting. In the second half of this post I’ve collected some of my favourite shots & perhaps you’ll see what I mean.

I don’t know whether it’s my work as a project manager that taught me to be organised or I ended up as a PM because being organised is natural, but I confess to setting objectives for myself as a photographer. (I shouldn’t overstate the level of planning – the temptation to click the shutter before engaging my brain is, all too often, irresistible.) My goal for 2014 was obvious – complete the photography assignments.

For 2015 I set myself a stretch goal – win a DPC. I was lucky enough to win the Small Product Photography DPC with this shot:


Looking back I’m very glad that I targeted that subject. I soon realised that product photography requires incredible precision & craftsmanship. Obviously doing one shot didn’t teach me those skills but it did make me more mindful of them. Moreover it helped me appreciate the skill required in other genres even when I might have little interest in them per se. (BIF springs to mind – sorry!)

On a different level it started me thinking that craft may be a better model for photography than Art. (Note the capital.) I find “eye candy” shots worthwhile, whereas I have doubts about some of the photography on the walls of Art Galleries. But perhaps I’ve become a philistine…

To return to my narrative, I don’t mean to give the impression that I’ve developed as a photographer based on a master plan with attached schedule. But I have, at least, tried to avoid staying in my comfort zone. In 2016 my aim was to bag some decent landscape shots since that was not something I’d previously managed. (And I do enjoy landscapes.) Luckily some crazy cheap fares to Ireland were available. While I know I’m not a landscape photographer of the standard of some of you, I gave myself a pass on the basis of some shots like these:

6: New Lake, Donegal">

7: Burren National Park">

Now, backtracking a bit, I mentioned earlier that my main interest when I first purchased a digital camera was travel photography. Yet somehow along the way I’d ended up quite incapable of making a travel shot. It wasn’t that I disdained them - I mean my mind would just go blank when I looked at a tourist attraction with a camera in my hand. The solution was obvious – take a holiday somewhere photogenic & lick this thing. From this I learned:
1.     Anyone can take good shots in Greece. (See below.)
2.     11 and a half hours on a budget flight is way too long.

8: Welcome to Santorini">
In case you are wondering, most of the hotels in Santorini are on a steep slope - so they often have a front entrance behind which are stairs going down.

9: Windmills of Kato Mili, Mykonos">

My current challenge is light. Should be easy right? But there was a lot to light that I didn’t really “get”. I’m working on it, but there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight! These shots point to the current state of my struggles:

10: Backlit leaves">

11: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao">

12: Cacao Fruit">

I selected all the shots above because they related to my back story. Let me finish with some favourites.

13: Windsor (Mono)">

14: Bamboo, Shoren-in Temple (Kyoto) at night">

15: Under Marina Coastal Expressway">

16: Still life with grapes & cape gooseberries (mono)">

17: Behold - The Fin">

18: Empty art gallery (4m33s)">
I normally prefer quite prosaic titles but this one is wantonly obscure. I’d be interested in knowing whether anyone gets it…

19: Low key lily">

20: Phone box at night">

Most OoU pieces reference famous photographers who have been an influence. In my case, I have absolutely no books about famous photographers – instead they have titles like “The Photographer’s Eye”. The fact is, I’m much influenced by shots I see on Dyxum. With some of my landscape shots I’ve tried to channel Roger Rex. The shot above was an attempt to channel Harald/waldo_posth. Others among you are also at risk of the sincerest form of flattery. (Fair warning, Svjetlana!) Others are safe for now only because I’m not sure know where to begin!

21: Miho Museum: Entrance tunnel">

22: Museum of Modern Art (BA)">

23: Classic">

24: Santiago de Cuba">

25: El Pimiento">

26: Novice at monastery outside Mandalay">

27: Little India">

PS: To bring the equipment story up to date, I still have the A58 but I swapped the kit lens for a Sony 18-135 (which I love) & added a Tamron 90mm macro, a Sony DT 50 F1.8 and a Sigma 10mm fisheye. My most recent acquisition is a ColorMunki for calibrating my displays. (I really wish I’d got a colorimeter earlier.) I like to think I’ve resisted GAS but I do have a short list of lenses I’d snap up second hand at the right price… Maybe GAS could strike yet!

Thanks for looking.


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  • - Atom Ant ? Just click!

  • Replies:
    Posted By: Bob J
    Date Posted: 18 June 2019 at 18:50

    RBJ ~ - Moderation on Dyxum

    Posted By: Snegren
    Date Posted: 18 June 2019 at 18:56
    Interesting narrative and a fab collection of images!

    Unspoken expectations are the foundation on which disappointment is built - My Flickr

    Posted By: Fred_S
    Date Posted: 18 June 2019 at 19:01
    Originally posted by Snegren Snegren wrote:

    Interesting narrative and a fab collection of images!

    +1! Well done Tony!

    Posted By: C_N_RED_AGAIN
    Date Posted: 18 June 2019 at 19:16
    Nice read. Love reading the back stories to these articles

    Posted By: onsplekkie
    Date Posted: 18 June 2019 at 20:11
    Fair Dinkum, mate
    Greetings from Holland   

    "take life as it is, not as you want it to be"

    Posted By: pegelli
    Date Posted: 18 June 2019 at 20:24
    Great story, great images.

    Congrats for being "One of Us", well deserved

    Mind the bandwidth of others, don't link pictures larger then 1024 wide or 960 pix high, - see here

    Posted By: mambo
    Date Posted: 18 June 2019 at 21:27
    Congrats on the recognition.

    Charles M

    A99ii,A99,A77ii, Minolta:|200f2.8HS|85G|SAL50f1.4Z|SAL24F2Z|∑35f1.4Art|50f2.8macro|A6300| Viltrox 85f1.8|SEL200600G|Zeiss32f1.8|Sigma16f1.4

    Posted By: Phil Wood
    Date Posted: 18 June 2019 at 22:08
    Great images.

    And 4m 33s? I guess the appropriate thing to say is nothing.

    Posted By: waldo_posth
    Date Posted: 18 June 2019 at 22:10
    Thank you, Tony, for giving us this account of how your photography developed. The recognition is well deserved!

    It's a wonderful story to read. I was amazed to notice a tear rolling down my cheek when reading that your partner forced you to get a good camera (thank you, Anne!) - and that happens in a world where you usually hide your recent gear purchases from the eyes of your wife!

    And it's a wonderful set of images to view - diverse, sophisticated or just excellent (and I remember quite a number of them, beginning with #3). I very much hope to see more of your work and wish you many magical visual moments when you happen to have your finger on the shutter release!

    "Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." (Walker Evans) -

    Posted By: LAbernethy
    Date Posted: 19 June 2019 at 01:48
    good read

    Posted By: Jozioau
    Date Posted: 19 June 2019 at 04:12
    Congratulations and welcome to O.O.U.
    It's wonderful to read your photographic and life trajectory and see (as well as revisit) your beautifully crafted and diverse images.
    Looking forward to seeing lots more.

    "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst" - Henri Cartier-Bresson - My FlickrPro site

    Posted By: Dopol
    Date Posted: 19 June 2019 at 05:46
    A good read and a wonderful set of photos.
    A well deserved Welcome too O.O.U.

    Be yourself; everyone else is already taken

    Posted By: skm.sa100
    Date Posted: 20 June 2019 at 10:30
    Hi Tony, I like your meandering introduction to your efforts in this area and how you've penned the whole thing. It shows a man of thought with an ability to reflect on oneself.

    No need to be that humble! I'd suggest you take pride in your work, be confident about your efforts but do resist vanity and arrogance as well as you've resisted GAS. (I have no choice but to be humble as long as I hang around on Dyxum!)

    What I like about your photography is that you've dabbled in different things and have interesting pics to show for your efforts.

    As for your journey on Dyxum, I do recognize many of your pics, having been a member here for 10 yrs or so.

    Keep pursuing your passion and do keep sharing. Looking forward to many more interesting pics from you.


    P.S. Yes, congratulations on making it to the "One of us" list. That is indeed an honor which holds great value here. To earn the respect of peers is a wonderful achievement.

    More Dyxumer, less photographer.

    Posted By: Atom Ant
    Date Posted: 26 June 2019 at 13:12

    Thank you all. Your encouragement is very important to me.


    No need for formality - call me Tony! - My Flickr Photostream

    Posted By: angora
    Date Posted: 27 June 2019 at 21:18
    finally found the time to sit down and share some time with you.
    time very well spent! fascinating narrative and ditto pics!
    many of which I clearly remember admiring before. great to see them again! the more you scroll down, the better they seem to get!
    thank you Tony! for allowing us a peek into your life, a privilege for sure!

    Posted By: minolta_mutley
    Date Posted: 03 August 2019 at 22:19
    It's nice to see your images, and to learn from the way you've gotten into photography.
    I've overlooked your image selection and as others mention i can only ack. their point of view - the more you look at them the better they become.
    We all tend to forget that photography brings us lots of joy, memories and it's also a rewarding method of connecting people.
    I've met (and i'm meeting) lots of intresting people - and the pictures are sometimes only a memory of those meetings, and the things we learned.

    Posted By: Almazar80
    Date Posted: 04 August 2019 at 00:28
    Great to see all these wonderful pictures and read your story.

    Posted By: alanfrombangor
    Date Posted: 04 August 2019 at 11:09
    Good to hear your story Tony, and to reflect on your images.
    I'm envious of your Burren shot, we went there by train and bike, beautiful sunny weather while we were on the train and heavy rain when we were on the bikes.

    Posted By: owenn01
    Date Posted: 05 August 2019 at 12:19
    Hi Tony,

    First, apologies for being so late to the show; I should have commented earlier!

    I'm always fascinated by these posts as they help give us an insight into what drives people to take pictures and, more importantly, gives us some 'inner vision' of what they aim to get from their work and how they achieve that. It is also, in some cases, reflected by their jobs and life history and it's strange how one's career can be seen in the way people approach image taking.

    I think it's a great story and, as has been mentioned, you have a lot to thank Anne for in pushing you to get 'that better camera' all those years ago! Sometimes it's the smallest of pushes that make the difference.

    I think I see quite a bit of what you have done in myself in many ways - I never set out to be a grand photographer in the widest sense, and stared almost as a way of recording where we'd been and seen etc. Like yourself, it hasn't been until much later that I've taken it a little more seriously and ended up on here and at Camera Clubs to try and make 'better photographs' (whatever those are!).

    However, it's clear to me (and others as noted) that you have a great selection here, even going way back, and that is something that people often overlook; you always have had 'an eye' and it's almost a shame that the much earlier work isn't available as I'm sure you would even now start to see a style or way of seeing a shot developing from those early years.

    There is a great selection here - an eclectic one almost - and, if I had to be pushed, the stand-outs would be: Monks returning to monastery outside Mandalay; #5; Burren National Park (great perspective and detail there!); Windmills of Kato Mili, Mykonos; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; Cacao Fruit (so easy to walk right past!!); Empty art gallery (4m33s) (you bad man - no photographs to be taken either!) and the sheer simplicity of the Low Key Lilly. But that's not to say the others aren't up there with these as well - just personal taste.

    Keep the great work coming and I look forward to seeing a further selection in the near future!

    Tanks for taking the time to do this - I know it's not that simple a task.

    best regards, Neil.

    My Mantra: "Comment on other's work as you would wish to have yours commented upon". Go on - it's fun!

    Posted By: MichelvA
    Date Posted: 06 August 2019 at 09:05
    Congrats Tony, good to see you here. Great to see many of your shots in one overview. I remember many of these.

    Posted By: francis
    Date Posted: 13 October 2019 at 14:51
    Tony great photos. Many in the past I had lost, actually they transmit great sensitivity, Bravo
    I like to hear your story Tony
    You are a person with great sensitivity,
    I like your approach to photography reflects you sensibly

    Posted By: svjetlana
    Date Posted: 04 December 2019 at 20:27
    I enjoy looking at your photography Tony.
    Your progression as a photographer is very evident and reminds me of my own in some way.
    You have ability to notice and to see and this ability is very important in photography and that is why your progression is fast. You have "an eye" for photography. I mean inner eye which is the key for observing, noticing and composing.
    Keep on doing what you are doing. Satisfaction is in discovery not in destination.
    I am glad that you share your work on Dyxum so that people like me can enjoy looking at them.

    All the best,

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