When I grew up, not many people had their photos taken, not to mention owning a camera. Photo day was a special day. We dressed for the occasion. I remember feeling different (excited?) on those days.
When I was a senior in high school, my brother Chris brought an old camera home. I took some photos of my friends. For me, camera was a tool to record our youth. Later I used the tool again when I was a senior in college.
My husband started taking photo when he was in junior high. After we got married, he automatically became our family photographer. Many years into our marriage, he started persuading me to play with a camera. I bought a point-and-shoot and loved it for many years. Of course that wasn’t what my husband had in mind. He bought me a big camera; I complained how heavy the new camera was every time I used it.
So, I was a happy point-and-shoot photographer for several years. I knew nothing about composition, exposure, DOF… Taking photos was “click, click, click”. I enjoy looking at my photos, but most of the time, I probably only looked at them two or three times.
Then I retired. Didn’t want to be bored, I decided to give photographing a try. Nikon D7000 wasn’t as heavy as others; that helped. I started watching YouTube, reading articles… A lot of time I had no idea what I was seeing or reading, but I didn’t stop. I became serious in photographing, and made some progress in recent years — this is what I really want to share with you.
1. Cee’s Photo Challenges
I was a blogger since 1999 (I believe.) I started blogging because I wanted to practice writing. By accident, I discovered Cee’s Photo Challenges (in 2013?). It took me at least 3 months to build up the courage to submit. When Cee featured one of my photos, I was thrilled. Other bloggers were very friendly. Every “like” or “comment” gave me a reason to continue shooting.
This was probably one of my biggest turning points. I really appreciate what Cee has done for many of us.
2. Photographer bloggers
I have benefited a lot from my online photographer bloggers. Whenever I had a question, I would post it here and soon an answer would arrive. It never failed. (Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.)
3. Otto’s online workshop – Finding Your Photographing Voice
One problem I was facing was: I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I needed a direction; I wanted to take control. Taking a workshop seemed like a logical next step, so I signed up for Otto’s workshop.
I’ll be honest; I almost quit photographing after taking Otto’s class. I struggled a lot with my homework. Otto was helpful and nice. But it was clear to me that I didn’t have a bright future. If photographing was not for me, I wanted to start something new, maybe painting, as soon as possible.
It was many months later that I realized how much I had gained from Otto’s workshop. It gave me a solid foundation to build up my knowledge base. Even today, I remember what he had taught us.
4. Blogging Community
Our blogging community is great! I continued participating Cee’s photo challenge and met more blogger friends online. It has become a big part of my life.
5. 1-1 tutoring/ read manual
BUT, I still wanted to be a better photographer. Maybe a one-to-one tutor was what I needed? Finding a private tutor wasn’t easy. I didn’t know any local photographer then; long distance – I wasn’t sure it would work well.
Finding a shooting partner might help, I thought. By now, my husband had given up on me 😉 (Don’t worry. I have earned his respect back.) And I didn’t find any friend who needed a shooting partner as bad as I was. Oh well…
I started reading my camera manual line by line (the first time 😉 Knowing my camera, watching tutorial videos, and reading articles… I finally made some progress and became more confident.
6. XDrive Photography Learning
From Amy’s blog, I found out about Raj’s XDrive lessons. It is one of the best things happened to me for many reasons (other than the lesson itself): (1) it provides me an organized way to learn photographing. After reading Raj’s lesson, I usually search Internet to learn more on the subject. (2) it gives me a way to ask questions, and Raj always takes time to answer them. (3) after we do our assignment, Raj gives us his constructive feedback on each of our photos. Constructive feedback is hard to get nowadays. (4) I learn from other participants, too.
That’s it – my journey so far. I still have a lot to learn; I am getting better in learning. I want to share my experience, because I’m hoping it will help others. Since this is Thanksgiving week, please allow me to take a moment to thank everyone. Because of you, life is good.
Thanks for visiting my blog.