Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Reflecting on 3 camera years

I bought my T6i with a kit lens June 11, 2016. Hard to believe that three years have passed so quickly. I bought it not knowing if I'd really get into photography, or how much I'd actually use it. That was about 75,000 photos ago, plus one major trip just for photos (Yukon 2017-09), and many shorter photo rambles of varying intensity. Sometimes I'll get in the car and explore, or get on a bike, or go for a walk. Often alone, but sometimes with new and old friends. I'm always discovering something new. So I guess it's safe to say I got into it. Or it got into me.

Some photographers are subject specific. They shoot it and little else. Not me. In no particular order I enjoy landscapes, the night sky, flowers, cityscapes, our cats, abstracts, macros, driftwood and other distressed wood, stone, reflections, essentially anywhere I see an image that might be interesting. I didn't start out being interested in doing people, but I've had some lovely photos happen. Not formal portraits, but rather people active in some way. Mostly that's triathlons, but some running races, many different community events, and a few other occasions.

At first I was just learning how to use the camera. A Neil Zeller course got me on the right path, and I heartily recommend him if you are intimidated by the 'M' setting on your camera. For a while it seemed like there was always something wrong with my shots, and many times I goofed on settings. But practice makes better. Now I'm working on the artistic content and finding my photographic 'voice.'

The end result is that I see the world differently now. I'm more aware of light and shadow, and the detail that's there if you look. Just the other day, driving through Mount Royal, I saw a couple plum trees in full bloom catching the morning light. If I'd had my camera I would have stopped. Why didn't I have the camera? I don't want to be one of those people that gets the camera stolen from their car while they are busy with something else. Without the camera experience I never would have noticed the trees. As it is, I slowed down and looked more carefully.

Seeing the hairy detail in plants has given me a whole new appreciation of their beauty and intricacy. I still can't remember their names, other than rose, lily, tulip, daffodil, peony, begonia, dahlia. The details within each species are beyond me. Linda has names for all the plants, and she'll tell me the blah blah blah is blooming. Which means nothing, so I ask her to point it out. Then I wait for the light to be nice. Some of my best photos have been flowers.

Someone asked me once which of my photos I liked best. That's a tough one. It changes from time to time. I was thinking of doing a hit parade of my favourites, then I realized it would become an extremely long blog post. Many of the image of the month photos are favourites, but not all, since they represent the best during a specific time. You can see some of my best work on my other blog, here. I recently updated it, and am thinking about new categories.

One of the most fun things is meeting new people, and learning more about some of the people I already knew. Talking about what photos they like opens a window to their soul. I've been astonished several times that someone might like a particular photo that I didn't think much of. I periodically say 'resting bitch face' to myself as a reminder that other people see different things in photos and to keep an open mind.

This three years is covering a transition in my professional life. Up till August 2016 I was either working full time or nearly so, or looking for full time work. After that I no longer worried about finding full time work. I wanted to spend time doing the things I enjoyed doing, which didn't exclude actual paid work. In fact I was lured out of retirement 3 more times over the last three years. It was enough to keep paying bills, defer drawing on retirement savings and CPP,  and enabling me to buy more camera gear. Which I have, lots. More is calling my name, but I'm good for now. I already have more than I can easily carry at once, which makes packing for airplane trips complicated. Camera equipment, especially the good lenses, are heavy for the volume they occupy.

Life changes when you aren't working full time. For the better, if it's your choice. I suddenly had lots more time for me, and I LOVED IT!!! I was out learning how to use the camera and edit the photos. Finding good spots in Fish Creek. Learning how to live on my schedule. Learning how make plans for what I want to do, and start working to achieve them. Still a work in progress, I have to say. Especially the novels. Some days I think they're more a work in progress than when I started.

I was out and active, still participating in races. These days my participation in races is only photographic, or so it seems for now. If I'm not going to do anymore triathlons, I really should sell all the gear. A sweet ride like Estela should be out on the road.

But it wasn't just me. Linda and I have had more time hanging out together. That's something new after decades of work getting in the way. We are finding out the truth that many people say about retirement, we're too busy to go back to work. Of course, the cats think all this time should be spent on them, except when they want to snooze.

For whatever reason I seem to be one of those people who knows lots of people and has many acquaintances, but few close friends. Photography has been expanding that list. Some writers have a muse, some photographers have a favourite model. I haven't done much formal model shooting, but Michelle has been very patient on several occasions as I experimented with lenses, or got us lost out for a run. Plus she is one of a small number of people who have bought my photos! Gotta love that!

I'm not out to actively flog my photos, but having someone pay money to get a photo to hang on their wall is enormously flattering. Trying to do it as a business would be more work than I think I care to do, and might take all the fun out of it, but it's nice when people ask to buy. (Hint, if you see any of my photos that would fill an empty space on your wall, be sure to get in touch with me!)

Any number of people have said nice things about my photos, and there's been some suggestions that have helped me make improvements. Thank you all so much!

So yes, this is going to continue. At the moment I'm still planning to show them on my blogs, even though I'm pretty sure blogging overall is in a decline. Not me, though, I'm blogging more than ever. If I come up with a better way to display my photos, I'll do that, and let you all know.

The last 3 years have been amazing for lots of reasons, and I'm going to try to make the next ones even more so. I've got a couple road trips with buddies lined up, and another trip to Yukon in the fall. Buddies on both coasts are tempting me, one with fall colours and a bakery, and the other with driftwood on rocky beaches.

In the end there are hundreds of photos that I love looking at, but I keep coming back to this one. In the great scheme of things it's one of the first ones I shot, and I know I've become a better photographer since then. But a great scene with great light more than makes up for any deficiencies in the photographer of that day. Ask me tomorrow, and a different one might end up in top spot. The kettle, maybe. Or the LRT, or some of the flowers, or some of the New Zealand photos, or, or, or...

Just for fun I went back and found the first photo I ever took with the T6i. I'm not wincing as much as I thought I would.

And in an act of balance, the most recent edited photo. Similar to one a few days ago, but different.

You still get a Driftwood of the Day

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations. Regarding your choice, my response now is quieter and with more melancholy than I remember. But, like any really good photo it has stood the test of time and it still resonates with me. Regarding the flowers, I love the then and now. Thank you for sharing your journey-so-far with us. I have enjoyed this journey with you, and I hope there are many rambles to come. Cheers, Sean


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