Trust Your Talent


Autumn Weeds

f/5.6, 1/100, ISO-800, 55mm

So if you’ve been reading my posts lately you know I’ve been feeling sorry for myself for being too tired and too busy to take photographs. There’s another element in that which I’ve been less inclined to confess: a feeling that I’ve taken all the good shots of the scenery within easy reach of my home. I’ve been shooting within a 15 mile radius for 2 years, and any place I can think of to go is a “been there, done that” sort of reaction.

There is some truth to my complaints, but still they are mostly just complaints. The least valid of them is that there’s nothing new to photograph. So I hauled myself out of bed just before sunrise and got out to the wildlife area that I started with two years ago. I didn’t stay long, having forgotten that duck season opened today and most people were not shooting with cameras. The shotgun blasts were a little too close for comfort.

At any rate, I  pointed my camera at things. I knew as I was taking the shots that this was not going to be the sort of day where I would come back with something that would knock my socks off. I stuck with my kit 18-55mm lens and just sort of went back to my photography roots. I would snap a shot and my internal reaction was to sneer at myself for even bothering, because I knew it was going to be nothing spectacular. But there was another voice in my head telling me to trust my talent. Good things will happen, because I can make them happen. I have the talent.

So after nearly 150 exposures and jumping out of my skin about that many times as a shotgun rang out far too close to me from sources unseen, I headed back to my desk and to Lightroom, and within an hour more I had processed a dozen exposures I am happy with. Are they  my very best work? No. But they are good photographs, and I’ll be sharing them over the next couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy. And I hope that you, too, trust in your talent.

17 thoughts on “Trust Your Talent

  1. I sometimes have the same feeling about the area around my house, but one thing I can say about shooting outdoors is that I always learn something new. Every time. I don’t always get a decent image, but it’s a different situation every day with the weather and light, and so I at least go home having learned something new.

    • Indeed. One of the things I learned from this outing is that, while Auto-ISO might be a good thing in some settings, this wasn’t one of them. My camera seems to have a preference for ISO-800 and many of the shots came out very grainy. Had I adjusted the ISO myself, photos like the one above would have been much more sharp.

  2. Yeah, I don’t know..shooting in shot gun fire? I probably would have run. Surely shows you have rock steady hands though. Sometimes we are our worst critics, and with time you’ll see that even a well known subject changes with time.

    • I had intended to stay a couple of hours out there and do quite a bit more hiking, now that my sciatic nerve has settled down (it’s been a bit of a bother the last month or so). But I only stayed for one hour. Many of the shots I got were similar subject-wise to things I’ve done before. But not only does the scenery change, but my skill as well, and similar subject matter was photographed much better thanks to two years of experience :)

  3. I don’t think I’d want to be shooting out near gunfire either. I, too, shoot mostly near home and sometimes I’m just not inspired going to the same places and seeing the same things time after time. A lot of that is due to a busy work schedule and on the weekends I just have stuff to do around home. And sometimes I just don’t have the energy to spend. That being said, I always enjoy your photos. Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you so much. Some of the photos I’ll be posting in the next couple of weeks were directly inspired by you, as a matter of fact. I would see a wildflower and think, “How would the Cat shoot this?” It was a fun, and ultimately very rewarding, exercise. I don’t know if I actually did shoot things the way you would, but it was an exercise in getting me to look at a scene in a bit of a different light, which is a very good thing.

  4. nice shot! I have struggled with the same shooting frustration. An idea would be to hook up with one of those hunters and see if you can tag along with your camera.

    • I am not sure I could find much in the way of reward trudging around with a hunter. For one thing I am very clumsy and tend to scare prey away, and so whomever I’m traveling with gets frustrated with me. Also, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to hunting. I last fired a rifle maybe 25 years ago with some friends. I shot, quite deliberately, at a squirrel. Much to my surprise, I hit it – but did not kill it. Fortunately one of the others with me was a better shot and put the thing out of its misery. But when I saw the body, and saw what my shot had done to it and knew the kind of agony I had caused it…well, let’s just say I was lucky not to lose my lunch in front of all those manly men.

      For myself, I think I’ll stick with drawing inspiration from the excellent work of others such as yourself :)

      • I am not much of a hunter either. But I would like to spend a day or two in a duck blind with the camera, and super-telephoto lens and a tripod. I relate with you also, I would seriously hinder a hunter if I were to tag along.

  5. Dear AJ, thank you for sharing. I think it added a dimension to your work that I didn’t see before – knowing the person behind the photos. And knowing in what setting and frame of mind this photo was taken – somehow it became more than just a photo. It became a photo with a story. Thank you so much for this message. I shall call it to mind when I sometimes feel discouraged over my photos. I wish you a wonderful day. Sharon

    • What a wonderfully kind thing to say Sharon! It is something of a story, and one that has taken more effort than it ought to tell. But having written it, hopefully it will be easier to tell it to myself the next time :)

  6. Your saying of trusting your talent got me thinking.. I am sooooo not that way. I am always doubting myself & thinking it is never good enough, no matter how many people tell me otherwise. Art & photography both. But.. the next time I have doubts I am going to remember those three words you said .. trust your talent….. I am hopeful that those 3 words will help me with my own “journey” since I will be heading into the half century old mark on MOnday! so thanks for the encouraging words!

    • You have marvelous talent and it is clear with everything you put your heart into. I still want to tag along on one of your jobs as a grip to see how a real photographer works. I didn’t pick up a camera until I was 51 after not touching one for 30 years, so I like to think you don’t really get good until 50 ;-)

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