My first exposure to photography was when I was eleven in elementary school. We were given a photography assignment and we had to shoot a variety of themes. The only camera that I could get my hands on was an old Kodak Brownie SIX-20 Model E film camera. Armed with a group of friends, we circulated the school grounds to take pictures. When I developed them, I was fascinated with the grain and the movements that the show shutter speed (or maybe my fast running) was creating. Unfortunately, the assignment finished and photography would be overtaken by football and other interests.
In the early 2000s, I bought a Canon Powershot G2 after seeing a deer in my back garden. This was in the days before mobile phones had decent cameras and I was disappointed that I didn't catch the moment. Unfortunately, I didn't get off of the auto mode on the Powershot, but often curious about why some of my photos had a "blur" behind a sharp subject and yet photos taken moments later of the same subject were sharp from corner to corner. Again, being in the early 2000s, photographers didn't have access to a wealth of resources on the internet and the instruction manuals provided very little insight. So, the Powershot remained a great camera for taking snapshots.
In subsequent years, I have progressed from a couple of Canon bodies to the Fuji X-Pro 2. Moving from auto mode to shutter priority, aperture priority, or manual exposure was a huge step for me, but the creative opportunities become endless. One of the great things about photography is that you're continuously learning something new and just when you think you understand a concept, there is always a different way to approach it.
The internet has provided some wonderful learning opportunities for photography. I have learned so much from the videos that Mike has provided on YouTube. His simple approach to photography has helped me grasp the concepts of exposure, white balance, ISO, depth of field, etc. I enrolled in the 7 Blocks of Photography course last year and really enjoyed it. For me, photography is a mix of the creative and technical and the course provided insights into both sides. Perhaps next time I'm in England, I'll have to line up a workshop with Mike!
However, one of the areas that I continue to struggle with is flash photography. I will always look for natural light but the ability to create better light when the lighting could be improved is a skill that continues to elude me. I should go back and review some of Mike's videos . . . . .
Yet, I'm pleased with the way that my photos are now turning out. My wife convinced me to join a local photography club this year and I have had photos displayed in two exhibitions. It's quite something to see your work in a frame in a gallery!
As my confidence grows, I find that my photography is shifting from taking pictures of things to taking pictures of people. I do like the thought that a photographer is capturing something that has never happened before and will never happen again.
Last, writing this article got me thinking . . . . . I wondered if Dad still had that old Brownie camera in that basement. The answer is yes, so I'm off to the camera store tomorrow to see if I can get some film. It will be interesting to see how my approach to photography has changed after all these years.