I have always had a passion for pictures in one form or another. Movies, photography, large format and small….. I have found fascination and appreciation for this medium most of my adult life. I did not, however, act on it.
A little over a year ago, my wife had purchased a digital SLR camera for me as an anniversary gift. A nikon D60. A very nice, compact and capable camera set up for the hobbyist and casual photog. I was sure this would be more than enough for me to go out and take great pictures and capture family events.
The problem? It was…. and then some.
I found myself completely engrossed into the world of photography. Books, websites, podcasts, discussion forums…. and any place else I could find information were where I spent any free time. I had developed two problems very quickly. First, I could not learn fast enough. The world of photography and more so the world of light as it pertains to it’s capture is vast. There are so many ideas, so many techniques, it is impossible to absorb it all and put it to practical use. It is true that with this art you need knowledge AND experience to put it to practical use. It was going to take time.
My second problem was all of the gear that is available to better the images you could produce. A variety of detailed and…… EXTREMELY expensive lenses awaits the inspired photog who wants it all. Camera bodies, flashes, strobes, filters, reflectors and on and on and on. I honestly thought when we brought home the D60 and the two lenses that came with the kit that I would never need nor want for anything in a camera again for years to come…… years. Once I tasted the dreaded kool-aid that is the passion of light, well I was in trouble.
I have an incredibly supportive wife. After some brief disbelief and amazement over my obsession, she has embraced my passion for this art and is very positive about time spent in it. She takes the time to listen to why I “need” that next piece of gear. She looks at the differences my photos evolve to when I utilize that piece. She reminds me, ever so gently, when I am spending too much time with my nose in a computer reading, researching, and processing images. She has been the catalyst behind my last few purchases… which have been significant to this hobby/profession.
What I am saying is…. you need a supportive partner if you are going to take this artform on.
That being said, all the gear in the world will not make your pictures better if you do not take the time to learn how it works. In saying that, I do not mean just learning what all the bells and whistles do…. but how and when to use them. To understand how light around you is reflecting to make your image. To know what time of day is optimal for the shot you want……or where to place the flash to accent a persons face to enhance their beauty rather than detract from it.
Start small. Work your way up. It takes time. It takes experience.
One other recommendation I would make to the aspiring photog? Find people with the same passion to go shoot with. This past summer I found a group of people who post their work to photo blogs. I started watching what they do and seeing their different styles. I saw that they met every few weeks to go shooting together. I contacted them and asked to come along.
Today? We meet almost every week. At most we’ll go a couple of weeks without hooking up. We sometimes don’t even go shooting but rather hit a watering hole and talk about photography. We exchange ideas or share some of our knowledge to the others. We collectively grow in skills and experience.
I can not stress enough how this has been the single biggest factor in advancing my skills as a photographer. The knowledge that is gained by spending time with other photographers is unmeasurable. In simple casual conversation you can learn more per minute than any book or any video you may watch. Of course you have to remember that this factor is determined by the passion to the art the others around you have…. but for the most part I think you will find this to be true.
I encourage anyone reading this to check out my blogroll to see everyone’s site. The local photographers I shoot with will be denoted by an asterisk (*) by their name. Their work is amazing and each is different with a different style.
As for me when I am not behind a lens? Well I am a network and systems engineer by trade. I specialize in small business networks and infrastructure with an emphasis on on virtualization. I work independently out of my house which has both great advantages and disadvantages but I love the flexibility it has. I also work in the Audio/Visual industry as a freelance tech. Adding my work as a photographer as another profession and I find a nice, diverse platform of work to draw in income…. something needed for the independent in today’s economy.
I live in the south suburbs of Minneapolis with my wife, Jennifer, and our four dogs. Two Australian Shepherd’s Maddy, and Nala and two Shih Tzu’s Moppett and Hazel. They are the inspiration and support that drives my art.
Again, I appreciate you taking the time to stop by. Please feel free to contact me about anything. I love to hear from others who have found me by visiting this blog. Any questions or comments you may have are most welcome.