Back when I started this blog, I had no idea how much posting here would make me want to become a better photographer.
I knew almost nothing about photography when my kids were small. I just took whatever point-and-shoot we had at the time and pointed and shot. We didn’t even have a digital camera until Mr. T was three. I wish I could have captured their babyhoods and young childhoods better.
I’d only been blogging for a few months when I knew I needed a new camera. I wasn’t sure I was ready for an SLR, so we opted for a Panasonic DMC-FZ28, which falls somewhere between a point-and-shoot and an SLR. It was a great little camera; I learned a lot with it. I got myself off automatic mode, and learned to fiddle with aperture, exposure and white balance. (What’s that? You don’t know how to change your white balance? Find your camera manual and see if you can control it. It will improve your photos immediately. And to all those knitters who complain that their work isn’t photographing in the right shade: white balance is what you want to play with.)
It surprised me how much I liked taking photos. I’d assumed that the photos would be little more than garnishes for the writing on my blog–the writing was what really mattered to me–but the more photos I took, the more I cared about how the images looked. At the beginning of 2009, I made a resolution to take at least one photo each day, and I posted them to my flickr page, here.
I made it until the end of July, and then lost steam. I continued to take photos, but not every day. And I only posted to that flickr set occasionally.
It was only once I’d stopped doing it that I realized how much I’d learned from the exercise. How I’d learned to find interesting shots in the most mundane places. How approaching an image from a different angle brought it to life. How the right light can make all the difference in a photo.
Chris and I finally decided that I’d graduated to a camera that could do more. So as of my birthday, we’re the owners of our first digital SLR.
I have so much to learn. I’m reading Nikon D90 for Dummies with a highlighter in my hand. (And only a real dummy highlights a dummy book.) Meanwhile, I’m having a whole lot of fun.
Playing with wide-open apertures.
And shots of ordinary things.
Getting up real close.
And closer still.
Finding art in the everyday.
And the not-so-everyday.
(This is one of my favorites so far. My friend Foothill Home Molly came to visit with her kids. Mr. T and I took them on a little tour of Berkeley: to the Lawrence Hall of Science, to the very delectable Ici for ice cream, to the Elmwood Library. Then we walked past Tail of the Yak, and I insisted that Molly and her daughter Avery take a quick peek. Tail of the Yak is an utterly unique little shop, filled with beautiful ribbons, Mexican carvings of saints, exquisite jewelry and all kinds of unexpected treasures. It is not the sort of shop for young boys, particularly young boys in the throes of playing zombies, so the three of us waited outside. But for one short second they became curious about what they were missing–and I snapped this photo. Then they got back to eating brains.)
I’m inaugurating my camera with a new photo-a-day project, begun on my birthday. It’s a set on flickr that I’m calling the sunday night upload–because Sunday night is often when I’m uploading my photos for the week. I won’t kick myself if I miss a day here or there (I already have) but I’m going to try to make a year. And I’m going to try to make better photos.
So, hey, all you photo-heads out there! How about sharing a favorite photography tip with me? I’d love to hear it!