Friday, June 21, 2013

Taking the plunge into Photography

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

 Probably not one of Cartier-Bresson's first 10,000 photos.  
"Behind Saint-Lazare Station", Paris, France, 1932

Some people are afraid to seriously get into photography or just to take that step from using the camera on full manual to start controlling more parameters by yourself. I was once in the same situation. I thought sharing my dilemmas at the time might help people to take the first step.

I got interested in photography after I started dating a hot young architecture student (Who is now my hot young architect wife). My fear was that I might not stick with it for long either since I'll loose interest or just not being good enough. Being on a tight budget, I didn't have the money to invest in an SLR only to let it collect dust shortly after.

My solution was a compromise. I'll buy a relatively cheap compact camera, but one that has manual controls over the ISO, shutter and aperture. This would allow me to learn and practice the basic,s see how I do and then make a more informed decision moving forward. After some research I settled on a compact Canon A720IS. This allowed me to suck for a relatively small price.

Turned out, I loved taking photos and I stuck with it. I learned about camera basics, about composition and to use Photoshop to enhance my photos (The Internet is an endless source of free information, even if we mostly use it to share photos of cats that can't even spell right). The compact camera allowed me to easily carry it around with me and constantly take photos and experiment with different things I'd pick off the net. Most of it wasn't very good, but I was having fun and learning a lot.

After about a year I felt ready and eager to take the next step. My first "serious" camera was a Canon EOS 450D that I bought during a trip to Germany back in 2008. I remember being overwhelmed at the difference of quality of my photos compared to my compact camera. 
That and the feeling you get while looking at the world through the viewfinder and hearing the rewarding shutter sound is exhilarating and just makes you want to take more photos. I was hooked! 

Me with my newly acquired toy! (and some Germans crossing the street...)

I don't quite feel I've took those 10,000 photos yet but as long as you're photographing and trying out new stuff you'll get better at it. There are some tips I can offer a starting photographer (and I'll write a post dedicated to it later here is the post on the subject), but the most important one is to enjoy it and keep taking photographs.

"Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow."
Imogen Cunningham


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