What Do I Have To Offer?

Upon reflection, I owe much of my re-found passion for photography to Twitter.

When I started seriously using Twitter (perhaps a year after I first created my account) I happened through chance to follow a very talented Cedar Rapids photographer, Bryce Moore. I watched his photographs come through my stream on a daily basis, and only later learned he was about mid-way through a personal pledge to post one picture every day. And my goodness…what pictures!

Watching his pictures float across my screen over the days recalled my own early years with a camera. I was never very good with the technical aspects of a camera. The f-stops and depths-of-field confounded me. But I remembered having a good eye, seeing things from a perspective many others did not. So I picked up a camera and off I went, a first no further than my back yard.

What I Have To Offer

f/5, 1/250, ISO-100, 44mm

I’ve grown a lot in the months since then (has it been 10 months already?) I follow many other photographers on Twitter now, of varying skill levels. Some I aspire to, some I objectively think I am on par with, some I am frankly significantly better than. All of them I learn from.

Every post at the site Cherokee By Design makes me gasp with the incredible beauty, color, and perspective. His photos are all the more impressive because he does no post-processing at all. Every picture posted is straight from the camera. I don’t know how he does it, but I envy his work desperately.

Sunsetseasoul at Art Is My Sanity offers photographs that tend to be deeply dark, almost to the point of masking details. Yet als0 filled bright, vibrant color at stark contrast with the general tone. It’s a style that is intriguing and striking.

A photographer known as Watching Seasons offers stunning images of nature at Watching Seasons. Flora and fauna is captured with clarity and brilliance, accompanied by excellently-phrased paragraphs explaining the history and general information about her rich subjects.

In the face of such experience and beauty, what do I have to offer? Awhile back I made a private pact with myself to follow in Bryce’s footsteps and post a picture every day. I figured this would accomplish two goals:

  1. Make sure I kept active with my camera. I don’t want to lose my skills – or stop growing them – simply because I’ve stopped doing anything with them.
  2. Grow readership by keeping my site active on a daily basis.

But lately I’ve been thinking I’m doing myself and my followers a disservice with this approach. More than once I’ve caught myself posting a picture I’m not happy with simply because I needed something. I’ve even caught myself posting previously rejected photos just so I wouldn’t miss a day.

There’s another side to that coin though. There have also been a handful of photos that I had previously rejected that, by tweaking the post-processing a bit differently, actually turned out pretty good. I was able to approach them with a fresh mind. And it is certainly true that I have had readers rave about photos that in my opinion are some of my greatest failures – at least, among those photos that I have actually allowed others to see.

4 thoughts on “What Do I Have To Offer?

  1. Yes, but what about those who use automatic digitalk cameras with, say only about 5 megapixel lens? It would be great if you experimented with ordinary cameras and wrote about how one could maximise the potential of such machines and still manage good pictures, using Photoshop later to bring out clarity of color or texture, is that wrong, if the framing is right and composition nice?

    Loved your post and the story behind how you began and grew,

  2. Many of the earliest pictures on this site were taken with a Nikon point and shoot.

    I’m not a big fan of the megapixel debate. I haven’t found that it makes any difference at all in quality except, in my personal experience, two specific cases: when making a 27×40 poster & making a 16×20 print to hang on the wall. In these cases, more megapixels make for a sharper, more impressive large image, but this is not the normal activity of your average photographer.

    It’s really all about understanding light & shadow, and almost any camera can do a lovely job within its cabailities, and any camera can do a bad job if extending past its capabilities. My post “Discovery” was an experiment in using color and a trouble light, and could have been taken with almost any camera. On the other hand, my post “Blue Bug” didn’t turn out at all as I would have liked, because I don’t have a true macro lens and the photo I wanted simply isn’t possible with the equipment that I have.

    But the equipment that I have is capable of taking stunning pictures within a releatively narrow range of capabilities. I just need to be content with those limits. I like to think of it as a challenge – getting photos that others with lots of other lenses might not even look for because they can see the “obvious” photo their equipment allows them. Since I don’t always have that option, I have to look at things a bit more creatively sometimes.

    As for Photoshop, Although I do my share of post-processing, my goal is to keep it to a minimum. I personally prefer photos that enhance the subject matter, but adding a ton of special effects seems kind of juvenile-facebook to me. Tomorrow morning I’ll be posting a picture with about as much post-processing as I’ve done in awhile to highlight the subject, diminish distractions, and enhance the emotional tone I was looking for.

    It’s also a photo I’d originally rejected. ;)

    Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. I feel flattered to be included in the list of blogs that you enjoy and recommend.
    Regarding the previous comments, I too have a Nikon point-and-shoot (L20), and that’s the camera I use to take all my pictures. I’m saving up for a DSLR because I want to be able to explore the world of photography further, but like you, I believe one can get some very good stuff with a P&S, it’s more about being creative and practicing than about owning a bunch of expensive equipment.
    BTW, I absolutely love the shot you’ve included in this post. The colors are stunning!

    • Thank you for the comment on this picture. To be honest I feel like I haven’t actually seen it yet. I’ve been having some monitor issues, color profile issues, and RGB configurations. I have viewed these flowers as both vibrantly pink and rich purple, without changing anything in an image editor. Even now it seems muddy compared to my recollection of it when seeing it live.

      Hopefully I have all those issues sorted out now. Just in time to find myself floundering creatively and going through a period where nothing much seems like a good picture to take. I’m still a bit depressed over how the landscape here in Iowa looks after having suffered hurricane-force winds six weeks ago.

      This too shall pass.

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