Photographing — I got it now

Smiling woman

This is not me, but I am smiling and happy just like her…

I want to thank all of you for your encouragement and support. Life would be quite struggling without awesome people like you!

Tree said, “Although I too want to learn more technical shooting, I think sharing our hearts and creativity with others is so much more important.
Each time we share a creative piece of writing or creative photo we put a little piece of ourselves out into the world!!”

Cee said (in her email), “What makes my photography special (and yours) is that we see from our heart and soul and capture people (especially you) and thing (me) in a unique and special way”

I carve these wisdom words into my heart.

When I decided to start photographing, like many other beginners, I read many articles I found online and watched many photographing videos. I learned (whatever the amount I was able to absorb) about lights, compositions, taking head shots, taking better landscaping photograph, photographing at wedding… I know I have a passion for photographing, but I had no idea what I really liked to do with that passion.

I started following many photographing blogs. I paid attention to what excited me. I saw several amazing landscape photos and thought I would give it a try, but even though I was excited when I saw other photographers’ landscape photos, I was never excited with my own. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t reproduce the magnificent feeling I had at the shooting spot. Worse yet, I felt something was missing. It took me a while to figure out that what was missing was my heart. I am not a landscape photographer after all.

My heart was not in portrait photography. Not in flowers… Where could it be? I couldn’t get it. Why is it so hard to understand myself? It’s me, isn’t it?

When I first get to know street photographing, I was very excited. It became more and more clear to me that I am interested in catching candid moments. I particularly interested in either people’s expression or something I call a piece of art. With that knowledge, I moved to the next phase: I wanted to be as good as those street photographers I had admired for so long.

Well, let me jump to the conclusion: (1) You guys are so kind! You’ve helped me to learn something about myself! I can’t thank you enough! (2) Tree, Cee, and all of you were right. I am unique in my own way, and I should be satisfied (and happy) with that. And I am (I just didn’t know it.)

Now my new goal is: “be as good as I can”, not “be as good as you are” ;-). (What a relief! Ha!)

THANK YOU!

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About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Street Photographing. Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to Photographing — I got it now

  1. Paul's Pictures says:

    This is good news Helem Street photography needs people with heart. It is important work photographing and sharing moments in people’s lives

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Paul. I appreciate your comment. At some point in the future, I would like to have a project that I can really benefit someone. When I get there, I am sure I will ask you for more advice. 😉 Helen

      Liked by 1 person

  2. treerabold says:

    I am so happy for you!! Isn’t it wonderful to “know” what it is you are here to do?! I think we all have our callings and our special gifts…whether it is our vocation or hobby. Congratulations to you my friend! I look forward to a future of Street Photography by Helen!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy says:

    So glad you are interested in street photographing. To me, it is challenging to capture their expressions, but you do so well. Like Tree, I look forward to your future street photos. Such a thoughtful topic to share, Helen. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joannesisco says:

    It is so powerful to finally ‘know yourself’! I’m very excited for you … it will change how you see the world 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. loisajay says:

    Helen–this made me smile. Just like the woman in your photography. This, to me, says ‘Helen.’ Yay for you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mother Hen says:

    You are free to be who you are and capture what interests you.. Isn’t it wonderful to realize that. If I put too much pressure on myself I would not enjoy it. It’s our own individual journey… Happy photography trails to you…Helen!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Something I realized this week – took me long enough.
    Be inspire by other people’s talents, not discouraged that I’m not as good.
    Your doing great, Helen. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Helen, nice to see you posting again, your photos are great, and I agree, we all have our own style and view of the world, these make us what we are, it’s good to learn few techniques with others, but the important is to find our own qualities and enjoy it.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Street photography is a fantastic genre with so many possibilities to be creative, I look forward to seeing the fruit of your labour.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Steve says:

    This is very interesting Helen. I never have actually had that conversation with myself. I only ever approached photography as a hobby a few years back, after telling myself consistently that it was too tough to learn! For me, the breakthrough is in actually proving myself wrong 🙂 I just get out the camera when I feel like it: digital, film, phone…whatever. It could be a candid, a landscape, an animal, or even a pattern or the way sunlight falls on an object. Have you ever heard of Miksang, or contemplative photography? It’s a very find way of freeing yourself and just seeing the world with fresh eyes.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Lignum Draco says:

    That’s a lovely smile. 🙂
    I’m glad you’ve found your passion. Now you know where your heart is, the rest will flow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      I was caught when I took her picture. She said, “Are you taking my picture?” Then she started walking away and I took the photo.
      I’ve learned so much from everyone’s comment. I am so happy. Still, I need to sharpen my skill. 😉 Helen

      Like

  12. Helen, it’s been a while since I’ve visited, so imagine how delighted I am to read where your journey has now taken you! I am so happy and excited for you. Like you, I have struggled (and continue to struggle) to find my passion in what I shoot. When asked, I don’t have a coherent answer, as I shoot a bit of everything (except portraits and flowers – those I know are not my passion). But reading through all the fabulous comments left here and coming across Steve’s reference to Miksang, I understand your excitement! Like street photography for you, those photos really captured my attention and made me wish I had shot them. I think I’ve begun to find an answer BECAUSE of your wonderful post and the comments you have received. So thank you to you! I promise to visit more often and watch your continued development as a street photographer – it’s going to be a fantastic journey! All the best to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Good morning, Stacy. Your comment makes my day! I am so grateful for all the comment/suggestion/advice I have received. It is even better to know that someone else has gotten something out of this too, because I like them so much that I just have to share with others. That makes me so happy! Helen

      Liked by 2 people

    • Steve says:

      Have you ever seen any of Henri Cartier Bresson’s street photos? There’s a fascinating documentary featuring interviews with him and his work. Highly recommended!

      Like

      • Helen C says:

        Yes, I have. I am actually a little puzzled by his work (and didn’t feel comfortable to ask 😉 I like the content (context?) of his photo, but isn’t that true that some were not sharp? So, not-sharp is all right? Or because those were old photos? Or maybe it is my monitor… Helen

        Liked by 1 person

        • Steve says:

          Well they are old photos taken with an old Leica. Some of them pre war. He always said that after your first 10000 photos, you might find a great one. Something similar to that anyway! Don’t quote me though 🙂 Actually, some of the most famous street photos around are not sharp by modern standards. In street photography, you often pre focus so ou can capture a moment quickly. This sometimes means things are even out of focus. Even the great photographers have more photos in that don’t work than those that do. The trick is in choosing only the best to show 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Paul's Pictures says:

            I agree I am almost obsessive about sharpness but it’s not at all necessary for a good photo to be sharp. depends on the subject,and on what one is wanting to say. I disagree with those who say you have to wait ten thousand photos before you get a great one. Like everything in life it MIGHT take that long or it cuold be ther very first one you make haha..I think it’s pretense by some so called famous “togs” now when they say “I only gt one good one a year”. Personally I know I’m not great, but if i only got one good one a year I would find some other way to practise art!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Steve says:

            I probably misquoted it, but the general idea is that photographers must always practice and make photographs. The numbers themselves don’t matter. It’s a question of not being complacent.

            Liked by 1 person

  13. Cee Neuner says:

    I’m thrilled for you Helen. You got it and you are feeling it. I so adore your adaptability. Hooray for you, you have come a long ways. Just keep having fun, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Good morning, and thanks, Cee. Hope you don’t mind I used your words. It meant so much to me that I just have to share, in case someone else has the same problem like I did. Thank you so much for your friendship, support, encouragement. Helen

      Like

  14. Great new goal! I’ll bet you surpass it.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I totally know what you mean! I love this by the way, “Now my new goal is: “be as good as I can”, not “be as good as you are” ;-).” and so true! We must all embrace our uniqueness! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. evenretep says:

    Hi Helen, I have been a photographer for more years than I care to remember, I have photographed riots to babies, weddings to trees. I was a photographer in the Air Force and used photography as a form of employment, but been disabled due to a motorbike accident and since then I have used photography as a form of therapy and life would not be the same without it. A few months I was asked to shoot a wedding and I couldn’t handle it I used to spend 8 hours on my feet, pandering to the whims of mothers of the bride, no longer have the courage to be the protector of a set of unique photographs never to be repeated. I glad I no longer wish to dodge bricks and bottles, being forced out the way by over enthusiastic police. Don’t get me wrong I loved 99% of it all but know…….

    I do it for me, I do it for the art, for the pleasure of an image, the colour of nature, I still do some studio work, but just for friends and family, I no longer have to be at someone’s beck and call, just being me.
    I have a condition which affects my brain, weakness in my arms and legs, my arms jerk, I have to concentrate to do many things but photography as I have done that for many many years doesn’t need my concentration, doesn’t need me to think and as photography as an art form you should not need to concentrate, the eye and the camera works together, the more photographs you take the easier this becomes. When I trained I was told the rules of photography, there philosophy of photography, rules of thirds blah blah blah.

    You take photographs how you feel, leave the rules, philosophy and everything to those who want to use them, those to make money from photography and those who have a very long pole up their backside.

    I have been there, used photography to make a living. I have now go rid of the rules and take images how I feel and I believe that’s the best way and that is my philosophy.
    I have a website which gives tips and advice I have a small gallery so if you want to look
    http://www.rainbow-photography.net

    Take care 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. You have a good advice here: “I do it for me, I do it for the art, for the pleasure of an image, the colour of nature…” That is exactly what I should do. I guess one of my problem was that I couldn’t take a good photo as I wanted to. Even though I was taking a photo for myself, I failed to meet my own expectation. For that, I think mostly it was because I didn’t give myself enough time. And I am working hard on that.
      Thank you so much for your excellent advice. I appreciate them. I definitely will read your tips, and advice on your web site. THANKS! And take care. Helen

      Like

      • evenretep says:

        Hi Helen your welcome, you have hit the nail right on its head, your working to hard, if you are not doing it for employment then you have all the time in the world, if you photograph a tree and you don’t like what you have taken, go back the next day, the tree will still be there. Before leaving take a minute to do some deep breathing and relax then leave the house, also shoot as if you are shooting with film, expensive film and you have only 24 frames, with this thinking you will choose you subject and make you know your camera more intimately. Its very difficult to shoot whats in your minds eye as the imagination is a wonderful place where I live a lot of my day lol. Stop trying so hard and just enjoy photography. Please keep in touch 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

        • Helen C says:

          More good advices, Pete. Thank you. Yes, my conclusion is: (1) Like you said, stop trying so hard and just enjoy photography. (2) whenever I am ready, find a good instructor and take a one on one course. I often learn things by asking questions. 😉 Thanks again. Helen

          Like

          • evenretep says:

            Just one thing about an instructor, make sure you are taking photographs how you want and not how your instructor wants. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          • Helen C says:

            Pete, I agree. What I have in my mind is to go out with someone to take photos together using the same camera at the same spot. That would answer some of my questions 😉 Helen

            Like

  17. carol1945 says:

    Your description of your process was insightful, and the responses you received equally so!!! What wonderful people are following your blog!! For myself, in moments of despair, I think why bother to photograph anything myself when it has all been done before? And so much better? Your inspiring words help me to flip the mood to the other side. Each of us is unique and each of our photographs whether they are “good” or “bad” are expressions of our own individuality. And, that has value.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Helen C says:

      Carol, I am so glad that I am able to help you to flip the mood to the other side just like others had helped me! 😉 Like I’ve told you before, I think you are a very special person. You are kind and thoughtful and sincere. I am so looking forward to your new posts! Happy New Year! Helen

      Like

    • very well said. After all, it’s like anything in life. If we compare ourselves to others then we would never do anything!

      Liked by 1 person

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