Once again, it has been a long time since my last blog post. Honestly, I have noticed my desire to write has declined in proportion to an increasing passion for taking photos. That certainly says a lot! I tells me a picture is worth a 1,000 blog posts. I thought it was time I wrote a few words about my journey into photography.
Last year I purchased a mirrorless camera. I wanted to get better shots than what my iPhone (good as it was) could produce. Mostly, I wanted sharper close-ups (macro) of flowers. Since then, I simply have been unable to put down the camera! It didn’t take me long to realize I was hooked.
The funny thing is, I believe I really have improved as a photographer in a year’s time. Of course, that was what I had wanted. I took advantage of free and some low-cost tutorials about photography. I was exposed (forgive the pun) to the world of professional photography through Youtube, which was quite illuminating. I admit being in mid-life frames such new hobbies in ways that capture one’s imaginations (oh, stop the puns!).
With so many excellent photographers on the planet, it was not my expressed aim to join the ranks of professionals. While some good natured, loving people in my life have occasionally suggested I consider a career in photography, I have done enough research to realize (for now anyway) that it’s not a good idea. I’ve compared it to being an intermediate high school musician discerning if devoting one’s life to the field is justified. The jury is still out, and there’s plenty of time (God willing) to keep shooting.
But if a new career is not my primary goal, why do I spend so much time shooting? As I was on a recent “photo walk” (as I like to call them), it occurred to me there are a number of intrinsic motivations.
For starters, it’s a good excuse to get outside and walk. This is frankly one of the healthiest things I can do! Fresh air and an hour-long walk is good for the body and soul.
Moreover, I believe I am tapping into something profound. I’m becoming better at observing the world around me. I’m noticing light. Color (or colour if you prefer). Increasingly, I am becoming more aware of the stories without words unfolding before my eyes.
For instance, as the lazy days of summer are just teasing us this week, I like to notice what people are doing in the moments when they seemingly don’t have a care in the world. What are they thinking about? Is their life full of fun or pain? A stunning photograph that stands the test of time often reveals the soul of a person. Great photographers know a place or a person so well that they reveal their secrets.
I have a long way to go. But I find my motivation to learn and grow remain steady. I will not utterly dismiss pursuing photography as a means to supplement a living (or at least to pay for more gear). Yet even Ansel Adams was not able to rely exclusively on photography until very late in life.
Each of our lives unfold in interesting paths. God has granted me grace to learn a new craft. It actually makes sense to marry my old musician’s heart with my professional technologist’s head and fold it organically into photography. Like music, it takes a lot of practice. As a instrumental musician, I relied on notes, not words. Photography is the same. I may continue to blog here and there, but rest assured it will be with a camera strapped on!