- Originally posted on February 1, 2012
“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” -Ansel Adams
In the comments on last week’s post, I was asked how I managed to place my website name on each of my photographs. I hadn’t thought about it much, and haven’t blogged about photography itself here for quite a while. So, inspired by Hallie’s question, I’m planning to write about photography each Wednesday in the month of February, including how I file and sort, edit and mark my digital image files. But first for today, the reason to become hooked on photography: On the Joy of Photography, and finding your inner lens.
Years ago, my love for photography came on strong—it traipsed into my life like a memorable song, sashaying in, swinging her coattails, and purring a delectable melody.
My first exposure to cameras was in modeling, the high-fashion kind where seedy photographers follow willowy girls with their dark cameras to freeze an attractive look for all time. There, cameras hooked me, I think. Images created and released from the combination of mysterious light, pungent film, and human creativity became a song in my head which followed me and grew louder with each passing year. Swapping sides with the camera, being the creator and not the subject, has been a wonderful experiment for me, a dive into a world of new beauty and staid time.
Now, ten years after getting my first SLR camera, the lure of the lens is unavoidable and its magic unforgettable. Photography opens up the world. Sharing what I see through photographs is part of my identity, an essential part of me.
My first good camera was a film-based SLR (single lens reflex), and I took endless rolls of photographs, learning by testing the limits of light and lens to find the style which I now see as my own. Once digital photography emerged onto the scene, I changed the film SLR camera in for a digital SLR. Digital format has been tremendously freeing, allowing me to capture more images than imaginable, all in the fleeting minutes of found inspiration. When the lighting is just right and something beautiful catches my breath, I dash for my camera and click through a few shots. I shoot photography in small blippets of time, between writing and the family and the daily chores of life.
Red Spotted Purple Butterfly
Years and hours behind a camera and studying images have helped me to find my inner lens, one of the more rewarding pieces of my life. To help you find your inner lens, I have three essentials for a great shot.
A WOW moment is one I love to grab onto an image … one where I say “Wow!” as I press the trigger.
I think there are three elements that are essential to a WOW shot:
1) Lighting. When the light is right, the shot surpasses the ordinary to rank with timeless. Soft light is almost always best—first thing in the morning or in the evening, cloudy days, or natural light through a window. Harsh shadows from direct sunshine or blatant flash usually compromise the best image. But, I love low direct sunlight of winter!
The View of Prague’s Spires toward Old Town, from Charles Bridge
2) Camera. There are many options these days for cameras. But, even with the ease of a cell phone camera, the portability of a compact digital camera, I still choose to lug around my big digital SLR camera. Many reasons are involved, but the speed of taking the actual photographs and the flexibility of switching lenses are two of my top reasons. I currently shoot with a Nikon D90 and alternate between a Nikkor 18-100mm lens and a Nikkor 70-300mm lens. Since I’m definitely not a pro photographer, yet not a novice photographer either, the D90 has been perfect.
Taking photographs in the Cinque Terre, Italy
3) Subject. Something amazing occurs in a photograph when the subject (what you want in focus) appears crisp and the background fades out and appears fuzzy. Leaving out technical terms, for a great shot, back up and zoom in as far as possible. When taking the photograph, focus on your subject and allow the subject to fill the frame. The background fades away, leaving the subject as the main interest—beautiful!
Venice, a splash of color
I’d love to hear what your photography tips are, along with any recommendations you have! Please share on the comments, and thank you … happy clicking!
PS. Parts of this post have been taken from a post I originally wrote in fall of 2010.