Photography Basics - Motivation - Episode 1

     I've been a photographer, in one form or another, since about 1984, when I bought my first real camera, a Pentax K1000 35mm completely manual camera with a 50mm manual focus lens. No auto settings and, at that time, no internet to search for how-to videos on YouTube! And to make matters worse, trial and error learning was a slow process. I had to take the pictures, filling a whole roll of film so I don't waste it, then drop the film off to be developed, wait for the pictures, then look and see what I got. If I needed to change something, then I started the whole process over again. And of course, I had to remember to write down my settings so I knew what to change. Film didn't have EXIF information! 

     My point is I learned photography one picture at a time. It was a slow but rewarding process. I have never been a professional photographer (meaning I have never made a living at it) so at different times of my life, the learning process, as well as photography itself, had varying priorities in my life. Sometimes I didn't shoot at all for months, sometimes I did. But it was never a high priority. I always treated it as a hobby I did in whatever time I had to myself when I had done everything else I thought I needd to do with my spare time, when I had any. In other words, I didn't nurture it. Often it was just to take pictures of family events or vacations. 

      That all changed when I met and married Ronda!!! She has been my encouragement and inspiration. She loves my photography and helps me to nurture and feed the desire to do more and get better. In the process, she has developed an interest in photography as well. So I have tried to teach her what I know about photography. I love to teach! But I have discovered that it is different when I teach her. She is an artist. She paints, mostly on canvas with oil. And she is very good at it. As an artist, she has the advantage of already being very good at what I consider to be the hardest part of photography: composition. Anyone can learn how to use a camera. Even point-and-shoot cameras and phone cameras can take very good pictures. But, for the most part, the camera you're using isn't what makes a shot good. It is the composition that makes the difference. If you buy someone who does not have an eye for composition a camera bag with $10,000 of some of the best gear in it, you're still not likely to get a great picture from them. But I have given Ronda my hand-me-down cameras (which she has graciously not complained about) and she has made many amazing images with them. I believe she is better at the "art" of photography than I am. But I know the camera pretty much inside and out. So I had set out to try to teach her. I have discovered that the nature of our personal relationship has had an impact on my teaching. I have always viewed her as a contemporary in everything, including photography. So when I try to teach her something, I use terms and concepts that seem very basic to me and assume they are to her too. But she is soon lost in the information overload I give her. I often have people asking for advice about what kind of camera to get or how to take pictures. I've always answered them with what I thought was basic information. Now I wonder how many people I've talked to politely shake their heads yes and nod and look like they are getting what I'm saying but leave the conversation more confused than when they asked! :-) 

     That long winded story is the background for this blog. My goal is to teach the art and science of photography in such a way as to make it useful and understandable to everyone, including Ronda. :-)