This blog has been a long time coming. If anyone follows my other blog on WordPress or my other websites they know I have a liking for photography. This being said I have no formal training in photography, no art degree that demonstrates my ability to take photos and use dark rooms, and no ability to purchase top of the line equipment (with which I can be overly snobby and pretentious . I instead have only a love of photography and its ability to document events while being expressive.
I can not point to my first experience that gave me my current hobby. I have always been struck by landscape photography. A misty mountain. A sunrise or sunset. The ocean. The forest. As my interest began to build I was given a point and shoot camera for my birthday by my dad. It wasn’t the top of the line but it gave me the opportunity to take photographs. I loved that camera. I took it everywhere and tried my best to capture landscapes. I developed my eye and managed to get some good photos out of the camera.
As an aside, I was never good at capturing people. People were so picky about photographs of themselves that I quickly got tired of being told to delete certain photos that I gave up. Nature can’t talk back or tell me to delete something with which I was happy.
My undergraduate degree (in Writing) completed I decided to upgrade my camera with the money I received from relatives. I bought my first DSLR in May of 2011. A Canon T1i with a kit lens and a telephoto zoom lens. I was instantly enthused. The camera got much use over those first few months as I learned how to shoot in manual as well as aperature and shutter priority.
My focus shifted from just landscape photography to the introduction of star photography. I was (and still am) fascinated by the stars. This was brought on when I saw the album art for Infinite Arms by Band of Horses which illustrates stars rotating over a mountain range. I was drawn in and constantly tried to recreate this photograph.
I was led by a friend I met through reddit on Flickr who instructed me on the ways I could achieve such an effect while helping improve my landscapes overall. He instructed me to buy a tripod and to look into buying a 50mm prime lens which would help with my eye and with taking photos in darker places. I was able to gain both in the form of my Christmas gifts from my parents in 2011.
My night photography quickly improved as well as my knowledge of photography and of the stars. Over the year my eye quickly shifted to a wider lens in the 40mm pancake lens made by Canon. It was quieter and gave me the ability to take wider shots. I did not gain this right away but I did gain a photography companion in my girlfriend Grace.
Grace is a student at the Corcoran in Washington DC. Her knowledge of composition and what makes a good picture was of much help to me as I continued to take landscape photography Then came the day she wanted to start a fashion blog and wanted me to dabble in taking portraits again. I was terrified. However, she quickly taught me how to compose a shot. After a month I was comfortable shooting portraits.
Grace, however, did not have a camera of her own however. She had become inspired by my love for photography and wanted one of her own. After a week of searching we found a deal on another T1i which allowed her to afford both the body and kit lens.
For the past month I have been sharing my knowledge of photography with her while she has been sharing what she has learned with me. It has been amazing how much I have learned through teaching and through watching another person’s techniques. She encouraged me to pick up a student copy of Photoshop which I did after realizing its capability. She also bought me a 40mm lens which we share in our shooting which we do multiple times a week once I am off of work. I am glad to have a person who shares my hobby while being able to inspire me. I am also glad another person takes joy in my work.
I have gone on a tangent. I enjoy photography because it allows me to relax. It is also a manor of connecting to the world around me while showing others what I see. I do not think of myself as a great photographer and never care to be thought of in that way. I do it because I enjoy it. This is the only reason to do photography or art in that matter. I simply enjoy it and what I can express with it. I never want to be lulled into taking pictures of babies or of weddings. This is boring and typical. There are enough photos of babies and couples in white dresses and tuxedos in the world for people to get the jest. I want this hobby to be focused on expression because that is what is fun to me.
I am grateful for the ability to learn from the people around me. I am also grateful for the people and places that inspire me. I am also grateful that it remains a fun but expressive hobby. There is always so much to shoot.