I’ve been taking photographs for over forty years now. The operative verb being take. Photographing is a completely different activity and that’s what I have been practing for the past couple of years.
In the previous millennium, practicing was a little bit more expensive. You had to buy film, take your pictures and then develop it. And at this point you realised that you had failed. With a digital camera you can check the result immediately and you can enhance your picture later. That still can’t compensate for the fact that if the original sucks, you can’t make it great.
I’m too lazy to practice enough to become a great photographer. Average, or maybe a little better is what I’m aiming for. And only for my own aesthetic pleasure. Luckily the web and YouTube are full of great pictures and tutorials both for taking pictures and fine tuning them afterwards.
All of us probably suffer from some degree of creative block at one time or another. That is why I’ve defined my goal like I stated up above. It’s for my own pleasure. Sure, I enjoy and crave likes and great feedback just like everyone else but if I don’t get any, it doesn’t damage my ego in any way.
From an economic point of view, the most important thing that I’ve learned, is that it’s not the equipment, it’s the photographer. I’ve checked out professional photographers that use the same gear as I do. They usually compare their pro equipment and the hobbyist versions that they use. And I cannot see the difference in most cases.
That being said, I still had to turn in my Nikon D3400 in 2020. I had used it well. I decided to upgrade just a little bit to a D5600 so as to get some more control of my shots. In 2021 my trusty Nikon 18-200 mm broke and could not be repaired since there were no spare parts to be found. So with the estimated repair price I purchased the following version of the 18-200 mm AND the highly recommended 35 mm f1.8. Used, of course. Shouldn’t need anything else…..
The 35mm lens may be improving my work. Because you just can’t zoom in or out and have to take a step forward or backward. I’ve been trying to concentrate on two things, composition and light. And I have noticed a few new things. In my first 35 mm portrait shown here, I really, really wanted a reflector or shade or something. The sunlight hitting the models head was really disturbing. We had already changed location once because the light was awful and I couldn’t get the right composition. And I wasn’t even being picky with leading lines, patterns, shapes and what have you.
Using the 35mm can also be a little frustrating. Portraits, landscapes and street photography work well at the moment. But last weekend I really noticed that I wanted my zoom. Walking around islands in the archipelago during nesting time means that you can’t get up close for your shot. So no birdy shots.
You may not notice the change, but I am feeling good about my progress and all the things that I can take in to account when taking a shot. I no longer take ten shots of one thing. I try to prepare a little bit better. I don’t have to do as much work afterwards.