Focus, woman.

Up until a few years or so ago, my camera-universe extended only as far as a Sony Cybershot, an Olympus Tough and an Olympus SP-590uZ bridge. Oh, and my trusty iPhone. The land of point and shoot and hope for the best, and maybe faff about with that digital zoom while I’m at it (a newbie mistake, I have subsequently learned.)

Then, in 2014, my brother – who I think takes fantastic photos – gave me my Canon as a birthday/thank-you present. I couldn’t have been more delighted, but a few weeks later life got stupidly busy, and so the Canon sat in its box untouched, until the following summer when I took it to Sri Lanka. I got several “quite nice” shots on that trip, but the majority didn’t do justice to what is an insanely beautiful island. I knew I could do better. Or, at least, the camera could have done if it was owned by someone who wasn’t me.

Back home, I realised I didn’t have a clue how to get the best out of my newish toy, but I’m pretty rubbish at learning from a manual – it goes in one ear and out the next – and so, instead of just trying to figure things out, the camera stayed at home on my next few trips and instead I used my iPhone. Some of those photos turned out way better than I had expected and so – scared by the possibility of ballsing things up with the Canon; rendered inert by all its blooming buttons – I stuck with what I sort of knew. Safe within my comfort zone. Safe but restricted. Which is a bit boring, really.

Some of my favourite photos from these pre-course “not a clue” years are here for your enjoyment. I think some of them are pretty good – but I do wonder what I might have been able to capture with better kit and a little more knowledge. Now, at long last, I’m looking forward to finding out. Or, at least – and please excuse the pun – giving it my best shot.

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