A wise person once told us to do what you love, because then it never seems to be work! That was one of the rationales for my embarking on this journey into photography.
I’ve always enjoyed photography. No matter how much I try, I can’t narrow down why into one thing. Some of the reasons…it gives me and my total lack of visual arts talent the chance to create beautiful images, people seem to enjoy what I produce, so giving them that joy makes me happy, there’s some combination of the artist and technician…you get the idea.
I got my first real camera when I was thirteen, a lot of years ago. Back then, we shot film because there was noting else. I learned some basic darkroom techniques with black and white and had a lot of fun with it. I took a number of pictures that were printed for family and friends and always got nice “thank yous” and “how nice”.
The first image that got me that warm, I did something nice, feeling was a black and white candid I got of my best friend’s father. I did all the processing and printing (the printing left something to be desired) and gave the only print to my friend’s mother. She put the picture in a frame and to this day it is still on display after various moves.
Fast forward a number of years. When I was in my twenties I bought a Nikormat. I wanted a “serious” 35mm SLR, but wasn’t ready to spend the money on the Nikon F. That was when I started trying to be a bit more serious. i can remember being out with my wife (then girlfriend) and her lamenting about how many shots was I going to take of the same thing? For me that was learning, understanding how the different settings impact the picture.
All that practice paid off. I got some very memorable pictures of our kids growing up. What better use for a camera? Was that fun? You bet!
Then came digital. After playing with it for several years, I started getting more serious. I spent more time taking the shots, got some serious glass, etc. When I joined our local photo club, I also got serious software for post processing.
Throughout the process, I was learning and having fun. Yes there have been times when I’ve struggled with deadlines, getting the annual calendars ready, preparing for shows, getting event pictures processed and out. I’m sure you’ve had the same experience. There have also been the frustrations over why I couldn’t get the image to look exactly as I thought it should. Through all of it, I’ve kept on learning and it remains fun. That’s the important thing.
As you may know, in addition to photography, I’ve been involved with yoga for a number of years. Each summer I go to “Yoga Camp” for fun and to get my PDUs to maintain my teaching certifications. I bring camera gear to these for a number of reasons. I can video the presentations so that I can review them later. I also try to get some good shots of my fellow campers that I share with them. Anyway, a couple of years ago, I was chatting with one of my fellow yogis. He saw me working on the days images. What he told me was that he had been a professional studio photographer for many years. By his description of the work he did he was quite good and successful. My obvious question to him was why had he left the profession. His answer, “it stopped being fun”!
The image at the top of this post is one I took of the Molly Malone statue in Dublin. This shot is multiple fun. First it reminds me of a fun trip to Ireland, then the characters in it are having fun and finally, I’ve worked on it any number of times as my skill set has grown and I like it better and better.