(So this post turned out a little different. I typically write the whole thing in one sitting at the beginning of the week. But this time I ended up writing a little each day and my mood was so different each time that I turned it into a daily diary of sorts. You can watch my highs and lows as I go through my process of learning something new.)
I’ve done it, I have taken the leap. After thinking about it for the last week or so I ordered a camera this morning. I got a Canon Rebel T6 from Amazon.
What finally pushed me over the edge to getting it was our friends finally having their baby. He was a week late, but finally showed up last Saturday. And I know I said I had no interest in photographing people, but I started thinking about what Seth would arrange for them on a newborn shoot and I started picturing ideas and settings, and since Seth is in Florida and they’re here in Texas with me I decided it was up to me to give it a try.
Ultimately I still have no desire to plan and arrange photoshoots, but I’m kinda excited to try this and just see how things turn out. I know the ideas I currently have in my head could immediately fall flat as soon as we start shooting. But they’re really good friends of ours, and they know I’ve never taken photos before, and most importantly I’m not charging them anything :). So there is very little risk going into this.
This will give me a good start on learning to edit photos as well. I’ve done a decent amount of photo manipulation editing through PhotoShop, but haven’t had the opportunity to work on the post processing edits after the initial photo is taken. That’s where things like the exposure and colors and numerous other settings get tweaked to really bring out the real life in the photos. What our clients don’t see is out of a 2 hour photo shoot Seth might spend upwards of 5-6 hours in post processing edits bringing out the best in each and every photo. So I’m both nervous and excited to get into it and see what happens.
Tuesday – Too Soon To Panic?
So I got my camera in yesterday evening and was very excited to open it all up and start figuring it out. And after a long period of waiting for the batteries to charge I turned it on for the first time.
I almost immediately felt overwhelmed with it all. So many settings, icons, abbreviations, and buttons to go through. I could feel the sense of panic from being out of my depth and thinking I should never have started down this road.
I’ve never been a shutterbug myself. I would guess that with the different off the shelf digital cameras and cells phones I’ve had over the years I’ve probably taken around a thousand total photos. To put that in perspective, on a group vacation with Seth and his family a couple years ago I know for a fact that he took over a thousand photos in just the course of 4-5 days.
So I am starting off very anxious about going out and taking photos. I have little concept of what makes a good photo. And right now I am doubting all my abilities and thinking I shouldn’t have done this.
Wednesday – OK maybe it’s not so bad…
I’m feeling better about things today. Had time to sleep on all the new stuff and process it a little more, doesn’t seem so overwhelming now. Also I got to proof-read Seth’s post (which will go up next week) about how he’s running again and it got me motivated to get back out there too. I was running really consistently every week, but then I got sick and it got hot and I just kinda stopped. But like he said, running is a good way to clear your head. So after running a couple miles I came home, showered, and decided to just head out somewhere and snap some pictures.
Last weekend I was invited to a group picnic out at a park a few minutes from our house. It was really beautiful and green out there, and I was already thinking at that time about using it to do the baby pictures at. So I figured it would be a good place to start with and see what photos out there would look like.
And it was really beautiful and really green. But it also was really boring looking. There was nothing interesting to look at. Not even any squirrels running around. So I wandered around the park towards the back where the manicured park ended and the overgrowth began. It was massively different back there. Long uncut grass grew sporadically, fallen and rotted trees lay everywhere, and thick webs hung all around. It almost felt like walking through a swamp.
I took pictures of anything and everything I could. And not surprisingly when I got back home and looked through them, most of them didn’t look good at all. What did surprise me was there were a few that actually stood out to me and looked kinda decent.
Towards the end of my wanderings I came up against the edge of a small lake and there were 4-5 hawks circling overhead. I had a really good time trying to photograph them. It was really enjoyable trying to capture them in flight through the trees above. I also spent a good 5 minutes trying to photograph a dragonfly zipping around the surface of the water. Those did not turn out at all. But still had a lot of fun just trying.
All in all it was a good day and I’m back to feeling excited about doing more of this.
Thursday – It was a good day
There’s a guy I’ve been talking to who has been a photographer for many years. He’s been a great resource for me to ask questions about cameras and nature shooting, and today he comes up to me with a giant lens in a case and says “I know you’re not comfortable borrowing camera equipment, but I got this lens at a pawn shop and want you to try it out for the weekend.” It’s a 200-400mm Tamron zoom lens and I got to say it’s pretty fun to use.
When I went to lunch I took it with me and sat in my car snapping photos of some mocking birds that where flying around and bathing themselves in a puddle. I took over 60 photos just sitting there, trying to different settings to capture their motion in the water. Haven’t quite figured it all out but still having a great time.
Also at dinner I was talking with my sister-in-law about getting started in photography and she did a search for me to find interesting places to take photos in the city. And she found this awesome site, www.shothotspot.com, you can search your city and it recommends places to go to do all sorts of photography, wildlife, landscapes, abandoned buildings, people, sunrises, and more. I can’t wait to check it out more and pick a spot to go out to this weekend.
Friday – Full Circle
Don’t have much to add this morning, and I want to get this posted up soon. I won’t be doing these daily diaries anymore, but it’s been an interesting way for me to personally see my ups and downs this week as I start something new. I’m surprised how quickly my initial confidence was shaken as soon as I actually picked up a camera for the first time. It was hard after that to actually go out the first time and try, just because I felt like an idiot walking out pretending to be a photographer. I think if there had been any people at that park Wednesday night I would have chickened out and drove on.
But instead I went out and had a lot of fun. And it doesn’t bother me that only 1 in 20 of my photos actually turn out looking OK. Something about just being out and just snapping pictures is super enjoyable. After getting home it’s almost like a treasure hunt looking through the photos seeing if anything turned out.
I’ll try not to post too many boring photos that I’ve taken in these posts each week. But if you see something you think looks good please let me know. It’s really helpful to hear feedback. 🙂