A Little Thought (Keep Practicing) – 2017 Week 15

Eagle at the Oxbow Park

Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.
— Anton Chekhow

When I went golfing with Wei, he usually took 4 or 5 practice swings before each shot, and I took 0. My reasons were: (1) he had used up more than his allowed-practice-time plus mine; I had to speed up. (2) I need save energy (3) it was frustrating that, quite often, my practice swing turned out to be much better than the real one.

Of course, photographing is different (I think ;-). I have heard several photographers say “practice, practice, practice” as if they knew my bad habit of not practicing. Now that the weather was getting warmer, I decided to go out practicing shooting because I wanted to be able to say, “I did practice.” 😉

All photos posted today are the results from our recent practice run at Silver Lake and Oxbow Park.

I can fly. I can fly.

A kiss a day…

At Silver Lake, we met a photographer T. While introducing myself, I said, “I am a beginning photographer.”

Wei said, “She always says she is a beginner!”

Later, at home, Wei said to me: “I don’t like hearing you say you are a beginner. You are NOT.”

Hmm… had my privilege of being a beginner been expired? Since when? Where is the line between a beginner and not-a-beginner?

“What’s the qualification for being a beginner?’ I carefully asked.

Wei didn’t respond, so I continued. “I consider myself a beginner because there are so many photographing things that I don’t know.”

“No one knows everything, not even a professional photographer,” Wei said.

“I would feel more comfortable saying I am not a beginner if every time I shoot, I am confident that at least 50% of my photos would turn out good.”

“No one has that kind of confidence,” he said, sighed, and then continued, “You always look down on yourself and I hate that.”

Wait a second, if I look down on myself, can I be this happy? And I like some of my photos!

But he must have a reason for saying what he said (maybe)… So, I did some serious thinking that night. I think I like being a beginner because I’m comfortable of being one. Being a beginner makes me feel freer. It’s less stress, and no responsibility. I want to keep learning and that’s the only important thing for me at this moment.

Hmm… should I start calling myself an advanced beginner to make both Wei and I happy? 😉

(Pictures of eagle and owl were taken at Oxbow Park Zoo. They were inside of a wired space. I learned that if they are far away from the wire, it is possible to make the wire disappear from the photo. I didn’t do any post-processing work to remove the wire. In fact you still can see a light trace of the wire here and there.)

(This last photo… the eagle was too close to the wire so the wire was more obvious. I kind of like seeing the wires in this photo though. I thought it goes well with this eagle’s sad and angry and hopeless expression. Don’t you think so?)

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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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, Weekly Little Thought. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to A Little Thought (Keep Practicing) – 2017 Week 15

  1. loisajay says:

    I enjoyed this Helen. I always say I am an amateur photographer. In case someone didn’t realize that a pro does not use a point & shoot camera… Funny in reading this though, because whenever I see someone with a ‘big’ camera, I always assume they are a professional. After talking with them, I realize they are not. We are both just two people who enjoy taking pictures.
    And I really love the ‘I can fly’ photo. I did not realize that about being far away from the wire to make it disappear. Now I cannot wait to try this little trick you just taught me!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Good morning, Lois. “Amateur” — that’s a good word to use! I’ll try that next time. I wonderful what Wei will say… 😉
      I believe some pro said that they do use point and shoot camera too. 😉
      The wire thing… I didn’t know it either. While we were taking photos, Wei casually mentioned it. Of course, I had to see it to believe him. Ha ha ha. In all those photos, we stood very close to the wire, but if the subject was at least 4 or 5 feet, the wire didn’t show that much. The last photo, I think, the eagle was 2 feet from the wire.
      Learning is fun, isn’t it?
      Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • loisajay says:

        You just made me feel so much better, Helen. Maybe I had better walk a little straighter with my point & shoot camera. I just cannot remember all the different settings of a ‘big’ camera. This weekend I am going to take photos through a fence or something to try that wire tip of yours. I’m excited! Thanks so much, Helen.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          Well… did you? And how did it turn out… I mean taking photos through a fence or something. Maybe wire is different since it is thinner? I am still learning…
          Have a great day.

          Like

          • loisajay says:

            I think you are right about thinner wire. The wire on the cages on Saturday was kind of thick and the animals were back too far and it was too dark. Either that or I really need to up my skills or camera! But I am not giving up, Helen!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy says:

    Great photos, Helen. Love these bird shots. Wei is right, you are not a beginner photographer. I think you are not look down on yourself, may set the bar a little higher… 🙂
    Btw,I used to play golf until it got so popular that we had to wait in line to hit a ball. I thought the waiting was stressful for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Good morning, Amy. Thanks for your comment. I finally figured out the best way to hold my camera last week (accidentally) — doesn’t that qualify me as a beginner? 😉 In case you wonder, the back button helps, but it didn’t help me 100%. And it turned out that after I set my preview button as a focus button, I can shoot much better now. Ha. I am so happy (since we are going to the river cruise today 😉
      I don’t mind the waiting when I golf. It’s when other people are waiting for us that drives me crazy 😉
      Have a wonderful day.

      Like

      • Helen C says:

        I should say it was not because program preview button to focus. It was that by using preview button to focus, my right hand had to wrap around the camera in a certain way and that turned out to be the most stable way for me to hold the camera. I can use any button to focus as long as I wrap my hand in the same say 😉 Don’t want to mislead anyone 😉

        Like

      • Amy says:

        I tried the back button, will practice it to get it work. Thank you for sharing your expertise. I think the continuous leaning experience makes it exciting. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          Thanks, Amy. I am getting better with the back button now. For me, it does work better, except when you are in a hurry. 😉 Recently I watched another video. This photographer not only uses back button, but also program his “preview” button (in front the the camera) as his second focus button. I tried that too, and for me, that is even better, because it reduces hand shake when I take photos. So now I have both back button and pre-view button to focus. So fun.
          Have a wonderful day.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Helen, that eagle is an uplift to my day. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cee Neuner says:

    Oh these are wonderful practice photos. Keep it up. It is okay to say you are a photographer. You have a camera and take photos. That is all that is required to take a photo. People will assume the professional or amateur or beginner part. if hey see your work or how you hold your camera and take your shots. I know where Wei is going because he assumes you are belittling yourself when you say beginner. Only you know what it means to you.

    You can make wire fences or dirty windshields disappear depending on your camera, your point of focus and bokeh. The space between subject and fence makes a huge difference. Although in this case I like the fence, makes a different story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Cee. I smiled when I read your comment. T did make a comment on how I held my camera. He said he wished he could hold his camera like I did, because it looked very stable.
      Have a wonderful day.

      Like

  5. Anabel Marsh says:

    Stunning shots, beginner or not (that’s up to you) and I agree about the sad eagle. I also laughed at your golf anecdote. You are a pragmatist!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Anabel. My husband and I had many arguments on taking practice swing or not. I wasn’t happy he took so many practice swings (particularly when people behind us were waiting) and he wasn’t happy I didn’t practice at all. It’s interesting how we are all different. 😉
      Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Edward Tan says:

    I think Wei is right, no one knows everything, and nobody is confident that 50% of his/ her photos would turn out to be good…would you consider yourself as a “weekend photographer”? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anica Art says:

    Happy practicing Helen, it’s all we ever do 🙂 Love the shots!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Learning IS fun! Interesting isn’t it how a label can affect the way we view ourselves and others? I always keep in mind what my favorite photographer, Dorothea Lange said, “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” Happy practicing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks for your comment, Bespoke Traveler.
      >> “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
      Wow! It is true! I was thinking about this just the other day. I was thinking, “OMG, wherever I turn, there is this invisible viewfinder!” 😉
      Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely shots and I especially love the one you’ve titled so aptly “a kiss a day”! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  10. restlessjo says:

    I do think you’re funny, Helen (in a nice way) but you do have a point- people expect less if you say you’re a beginner. Your photos are great and I wouldn’t have a clue how to process out the wire so I guess that makes you not quite a beginner 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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