When a person looks at their life they can often name at least one thing they are passionate about. For some people it’s obvious. The avid Miami Dolphins fan (yes, they do exist) who knows the average yards-per-attempt for every string running back. The MLG player who spends hours perfecting his Starcraft strategy to upset the Korean champion at the next tournament. The guitar player who lives and breathes riffs and chords and melodies on his way to Nashville. Each of these individuals’ passions are simple to see and identify. For years I likened myself most to the Starcraft contender. I thought that videogames were my biggest passion, the single earthly thing that fed and fulfilled me most. Only recently have I learned that, though videogames still play a large part in my recreational itinerary, they are no longer that item about which I am most passionate.
Through my day job I have access to Lynda.com, an enormously robust learning website featuring instructional videos about many creative topics stretching the spectrum of digital and traditional art. The site offers topics from properly implementing box shadows with CSS3 to developing film in a darkroom. Until eight months ago I didn’t realize how great a utility this would be for me, nor how it would help me discover a new and vehement passion.
For the last two years I’ve found myself surrounded by photographers. Those who crossed my path and become closest to me always had some intrinsic connection to the craft and, while it had always interested me, I’d never taken the time to learn about the art. As I observed my friends working and playing with their own cameras my interest began to grow. In my free time I chose to explore Lynda.com and see what they offered in terms of photo tutorials and how-to’s. Turns out their selection of videos on the topic of photography is one of the site’s largest devoted sections. I dove in head first and sponged up everything I could about taking pictures, from camera types and lenses to proper exposure and how a camera’s manual controls work to what the “f number” is and how that effects things in the image like “depth of field” and “bokeh.” I knew I’d been bitten and the only cure for the itch was to start taking pictures.
I knew I needed a camera that allowed for an extremely shallow depth of field, had a fast lens, allowed for full manual controls, and shot RAW. Glancing at my old Fuji point and shoot, I realized it had none of those things. The hunt began for a new camera and I wasn’t yet sure how invested in the craft I wanted to become so I read up on high-end point and shoots and learned that a number of manufacturers make cameras in a point and shoot body that are capable of taking exceptionally high quality pictures. Technology is truly something else these days.
This is one of those cameras:
I bought this camera knowing it would either confirm my suspicions that I was falling in love with photography or it would shoot them down in a heartbeat. Obviously it didn’t do the latter.
These are some of the first images I took with it.
As the saying goes…
“The rest is history.”
But I’ll add an addendum to that and say, “The rest is history… so far.”
I’ve taken at least a few pictures every day since then, and use my roommates and various other friends family, flora, and fauna as ad-hoc models to help hone my craft and learn the art.