About Me

William Cowan - Freelance Photographer

William Cowan - Freelance photographer working out of Canberra, Australia

My interest in photography began back in about 1990, when I was given a Praktica SLR camera. It failed after a year or so and I replaced it with a Minolta X-300s SLR camera, with a 28-70mm F3.5-4.8 MD Zoom lens. That camera worked well until my wedding day in 1994 when the tripod it was mounted on tipped up and it hit the concrete. It was replaced with an earlier X-300 with a 28-105mm lens as well as a 50mm F1.7 prime. I went digital in 2001 with the purchase of a Sony DSC-S50. My first DSLR was the Fuji S2 which I picked up a few years later. That camera had me heading down the Nikon path which I’ve stuck to ever since. Two Fuji S3Pro’s followed and in 2010 they were sold to help fund my current D700.

I’d like to think that this webpage isn’t going to become another gear site, there are enough of them on the internet already. Just for fun I’ve added a bunch of photos I’ve taken on a compact Fuji F31fd camera into the galleries. Most people I ask are unable to identify which images have come from the little Fuji point and shoot. I’m a firm believer that it is the photographer that makes the photo, rather than the camera and I think this proves the point. There are lots of lousy photographs on the internet taken with some very expensive equipment and some great photos taken with the likes of an iphone or a compact camera.

Chasing the highest resolution, the sharpest lens or whatever is just a way for amateur photographers to try and explain why they are not achieving the image quality they want. There is no “quick fix” or to use David duChemin’s words “There’s no un-suck filter”. The funny thing is a good image is obvious even if it is only 600 pixels across. It’s the composition and lighting that make the image, and these can be seen even when the image is small. The largest image I have printed for the wall at home is nearly 1200mm wide and was taken with a 6MP camera. I was using a kit zoom lens and standing outside in the rain with the tripod stuck in the mud to get the shot. No one has ever told me the image is not sharp or is lacking in detail.

It’s a sad fact of life that the average user with a DSLR is unable to achieve more than two or three mega pixels of actual resolution in their images. The reason has nothing to do with the camera body they are using or the lens mounted on the front. It has a lot to do with the photographers technique. The choice of aperture / ISO / shutter speed all have an impact on image sharpness. So does the technique used to hold the camera and lens as well as the shutter actuation. A jab at the shutter release will never result in a sharp image. A gentle roll of the finger or better yet a remote release will always provide superior results.

William Cowan - Freelance Photographer

Spending some time with a pair of Thai kids on Phi Phi Island. Our lack of a common language didn't get in the way of a few precious moments together.

All of this takes work. There is no easy path to taking great photos. Most importantly go and take photos of things you really enjoy. That will make the process fun and you will be more inclined to continue developing your skills.

I love photographing people as well as natural and man made landscapes. I think most of my photos reflect my happy and upbeat personality, with vibrant colours and simple compositions.