Deal 9: Hacking Photography mega-deal
In this post Lisa Newton from Travelin’ Local shares 10 ways that her life has been changed by photography.
It has certainly changed mine, for the better.
Not too long ago, before cameras became digital, I, like many baby boomers, used film based cameras, and mainly used my camera to take pictures of my children as they grew up. You know the standard ones that are in every family album–first day pictures, visiting grandma pictures, first Christmas pictures, vacation pictures, and so on. Looking back, that was all fun, and it certainly will always bring back fond memories.
For me, that’s when it began and ended, because due to life’s intervention, I stopped taking pictures for many years, because I became a full time mother, daughter, sister, wife, and worker.
But after moving to California and after some life changes, low and behold, a 2008 Christmas present of a Nikon D40, allowed me to literally as well as figuratively “take a new look at photography.”
In the last 10 months, photography has taught me more than I bargained for, and I still can’t get enough:
Now I’m constantly looking at the world, and my surroundings. Now I center on every detail that within my purview. And when I say look, I mean I really look—up, down, and all around. No detail large or small is not within my effort to visualize how it might look in a photograph, even if I’m not currently taking one. Before restarting my passion for photography, I would just walk around and take many sights and sounds for granted. Not anymore, that was then and this is now—and now, I look and pay attention.
Although I talked about looking in the paragraph above, frequently just looking isn’t good enough; you have to see, too. See the different angles, the different sides, the different light, and the different heights, from all venues and vantage points.
Time used to be a measurement of getting from one place to another. For most people, it’s about always being “on the move.” For me, now, time is spent much differently. I spend my time trying to take in my surroundings with a more discerning consciousness, and attempting to look and see everything that I can at any given moment. Time is more than time passing me by, or a clock ticking from one hour to the next, time is a place and fact that I use to merge into my ability to see and look in advance, in why I would approach my subject matters, and how I would use that time to my advantage to capture the image that I’ve visualized.
Art and Photography are borne and spring from the proper understanding, and mastery of the use of light. This one kind of goes without saying, but now I take notice where the light is coming from, its intensity, its frequency, its duration, and its brightness. Before, I barely paid attention and took a nonchalant attitude about it. When you have a camera in your hand, light becomes an integral part of your life.
How the focal point of your photograph and its subject matter is presented is a function of not only light but distance. How far away should one stand or focus on to get the right shot at the right time? It’s amazing what occurs to me when I’m visualizing the “perfect” shot, which will be a function of my subject matter, where I’m standing, or what lens I plan to use.
As the old saying goes, you never stop learning, especially when photography is concerned. Even for professional and seasoned photographers, resources like DPS are invaluable. Through this wonderful resource, everyday new innovations are presented, analyzed, explained, and taught as the name Digital Photography School, belies its ultimate mission. Even when learning about the new, the old is equally important – matters including, composition, shutter speed, aperture, or the Rule of Thirds. The other area of learning which has become very important to me is studying the masters—for example, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, or Margaret Bourke-White. It’s invigorating, challenging, and always a journey to learn, and learn some more.
Yes, and as my website is testimonial, I have discovered travelin’, but not travelin’ around the world, or even for a vacation. I travel everyday in my own neck of the woods– in my city’s neighborhoods. And because my neighborhood is in Los Angeles, I admit to having a pretty large and interesting one at that. However, the theory remains the same, regardless of how large your neighborhood is– you can find plenty of relaxation, fascinating places, and unique photos to take in your own backyard. Look, see, and realize that what’s in your own neighborhood is all too frequently an “Eye into the Soul of the World.” Best of all, it’s exciting, affordable, and I learn as much if not more, right here, right now, and that’s how Travelin’ Local came to be.
Before owning a camera, seconds didn’t matter. Now, just as taking time to get a great shot is important, seconds are equally as important. They can be the difference between an action and inaction. Seconds are the breakdown of time further into time. Time is a function of space and distance, and that plane is, and will be forever an issue for photographers to master.
For sure, every photographer worth his or her salt, needs to know about and how to use proper focus; but I’m also talking about focus in relationship to personal focus. Focus on your camera’s battery, focus on your camera settings, focus on your subject, focus on your environment, and even focus on your time management. It’s not always about taking the picture, but as importantly the process of how you’re going to do so–the post processing, marketing, mounting, and all else that keeps us photographers concerned about and why we are passionate about taking pictures. This list is interminable, and goes on and on.
With my camera in my hand, I’ve gained a new found appreciation of a smile, a gesture, a sunset, a building, a child, and the beach– and life itself more. I see things differently, more clearly. These were but only a few examples of my new found appreciation of life, and life’s offerings since I’ve got bit by the camera bug.
How about you? How has photography changed your life and made it better?
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October 28, 2011 02:16 am
i just adore the camera and its glamorous photos. I am an ametuer but i will always see the world in its better view. i never thought that people would realize just how much the camera means to me. but reading these comments and looking at the photos made me smile
October 20, 2011 01:57 am
the camera is the most wonderous invention. it creates memories and it was the helping hand in creating diffrenet inventions such as television and better postcards. i myself have my ownm camera and enjoy taking pictures. it opens your eyes to a world beyond meaning. and for that i will always show my gratitude
December 6, 2009 02:43 am
It was really a nice article . Well I am an Amateur Photographer with only a Sony H7 and without a DSLR as on this day. However I am learning new techniques everyday and your article is a real big motivation for guys like me at this end in this beautiful port city of Visakhapatnam located on the east coast of India.
December 6, 2009 12:13 am
A very exciting article. I am a newbie to photography and have a similar lifestyle to the author. I am experiencing similar revelations. It is so wonderful that photography is more than a hobby. It is an a life changing adventure that makes one grow and appreciate all things big and small, accomplished with only with a simple glass eye and ones imagination.
December 5, 2009 01:09 pm
I agree...I've had my camera for about 11 months now, and it doesn't leave my side very often. I do a lot of low-light photography, so I could tell you just about any day what the moon phase is, and when it will rise and set. Funny how we don't pay attention to certain things until they have a daily effect on us, then we seem to focus on it. (no pun intended)
And I can't even travel light to the grocery store.
December 5, 2009 06:35 am
I suggest another paragraph.
Creativity comes about in how you use photo manipulation software. For example, Adobe Elements, both for MAC and PCs, can lead to very unusual and different images than the one originally taken. Curiosity to explore the various tools that Photoshop offers can be daunting. However, the more you explore and try the different tools, the greater the chance that your creative spirit will be awakened leading you to a whole new world of photography.
December 4, 2009 12:30 pm
Photography has certainly changed my life. I have learned to look at things from different angles and I have learned to chase light!
When I watch movies I have become more aware of how a frame is composed.
Thank you for sharing!
December 4, 2009 12:28 pm
I call myself a time stealer. I capture a moment of time in a box. At any time I can re live that moment or share that moment with anyone and can now do that with more people and faster with digital.
Many a time I have had eyes rolled at me for taking pictures. People always hate thier picture taken just like they hate to hear thier voice.
Recently I took some family pics during some clowning around. Capturing nothing of any meaning at the time but when suddenly a young life was ended I had captured something that can be no longer.
December 4, 2009 09:08 am
Yeah, a great post and equally inspiring replies. I've been really into it for the past year after years of hesitant dabbling. Photography (especially with my 50mm prime lens) takes me out of myself (not always a happy place) and into the world, seeing how the simplicities of the moment also embody the complexities of life. Shooting a good photo is the same process. So many simple things lead to a complex and meaningful result, making photography the perfect blend of analytical thinking and instinct/intuition. I'm not very good but I don't care. I'm hooked for life.
December 4, 2009 08:42 am
Many thanks for having translated what I felt since some time. Yes, Photography has changed the way I see, look, feel the environment I'm living in.
December 4, 2009 07:58 am
Incredible! You've completely captured thepassion of the journey. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area and there is also much to be "seen" here. Photography has completely changed the way I view, interpret and interact with life and I love it. Thank you describing it so wonderfully!
December 4, 2009 06:23 am
I couldn't have said this any better myself. Truly touching....
December 4, 2009 05:14 am
Amen and amen. The best thing that happened to me was when my ancient Petra SLR died.
December 3, 2009 01:16 am
I love how you've put into words exactly how I feel. I've always enjoyed taking pictures and was also told that I was pretty good at it, but it wasn't my life. I was a paramedic and had just been accepted into nursing school when I woke up one morning and just decided to change my major to photography. I've had a difficult time explaining to people how I see the world differently now. I don't just see it, I really SEE it. And I love it.
December 2, 2009 05:40 pm
Photography has taught me to see things differently and in creative ways.
December 1, 2009 11:37 pm
Without a doubt I think I look at things differently as a result of photography. I see more than I use to.
December 1, 2009 09:48 pm
For me, the single biggest change was that I started seeing the world, not as one huge wide object, but a series of intensely small dioramas that come together to create our lives.
December 1, 2009 04:26 pm
Nice read. Thanks for sharing.
December 1, 2009 12:52 pm
Great article and so very very true.
I agree with Killian and Lars-its 'sanity' for me too. Ive been swinging in the pangs of low level clinical depression for the past year and half and photography has been my way of getting out of it and truely focusing on the ONE thing that absorbs me and keeps me happy (while I battle on everyday to get better). With the help of photography, I get better and better each day :)
December 1, 2009 11:15 am
Fantastic article; feels as though you wrote from my own thoughts; I completely identify. Yes, photography has changed my life. I've been photographing for over a year; actually bought a new camera today- very happy.
I took a web design class years ago at The Maine Photographic Workshops up in Rockport - one of the best experiences I've ever had in my life. I'd love to go back and take a photography course.
All of you ideas and expressions are almost a way of spiritual being; would be nice if everyone walked their environment present-minded. Thank you for sharing. esta* @sheconsulting
December 1, 2009 04:12 am
a wonderfully spot on article and pretty much sums up a lot of the way I feel about photography .... it has undoubtedly opened my senses far more to my enviornment .. opened up different ways of seeing and as you so wisely point out ... the journey has become just as important as the destination
"you dont need eyes to see .. you need vision "
December 1, 2009 03:47 am
Did photography has changed my life? Well, it has literally changed the way I see things. I pay more attention to what I see and I see a lot of details.
December 1, 2009 01:41 am
Great post. If I had to write something on the subject, it would be very much the same. Especially looking and seeing and the quality of light throughout the day. Thanks for sharing!
December 1, 2009 12:51 am
This will be a little different from most of your responses, but when I was about six or seven, Mom & Dad noticed that I seemed to be fascinated with picture postcards when we were on vacation. When they asked me why, I told them that I was able to see things better in postcards than I could when I looked at them. You see, I'm almost blind with only about 10-15% of my vision in one eye and only light sensitivity in the other. So it was easier for me to "see" things in postcards than in real life.
Based on that, they bought me my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic 100 that year at Christmas. That single purchase has led to a lifelong enjoyment of photography. But as I said, for me it is different... often times, I actually take a picture and then see something instead of seeing something then taking a picture of it.
December 1, 2009 12:05 am
Bravo Lisa on an absolutely wonderful article that, like many others have posted, expresses my feelings perfectly. Photography has helped me through some very difficult times over the last couple of years and has enabled me to 'reconnect' with the world around me. I live and work in downtown Baltimore and I also now find myself looking at and visualizing everything as I move around my environment, from the largest to the smallest of things around me. Not a day goes by where I don't find beauty in the most unlikely of places. Not sure where I would be without my cameras. This article is one of the few that I will be printing to show friends who just don't understand my obsession:o)
November 30, 2009 11:52 pm
Lisa thank you, great article. It's so good to read about photography and not hear only about gear or technical stuff...Photography brings poetry in ours lives.
November 30, 2009 08:18 pm
for sure this has changed my life... before i would just walk past things and just dont care! now i'm like, observing every single detail. or even though i've been to a place a million times, still i try to find new things to capture.
November 30, 2009 02:11 pm
What a wonderful look at just how photography has impacted your life - and it such great ways - really, it feels like for me, wrapped about the point of "focus"....so, so good...
November 30, 2009 01:57 pm
Now this was a really great post. Certainly one of the best this year on DPS. Thank you!
November 30, 2009 12:18 pm
Well-said Lisa! Photography really does make you see the world differently. People often suggest that I switch to video for my project documenting the cultural traditions of the diverse residents of LA, but I love the magic of freezing a moment of time so you can examine it in minute detail and relate to it over and over. Video (and life) moves by me faster than I can take it in. A still photo lets me stop and dwell in a moment, even long after the moment has passed.
As another shy person mentioned, it's also a great tool for meeting people. Just pointing your camera at someone is an excuse to start a conversation, whether you're in your own neighborhood or around the world.
November 30, 2009 09:51 am
Thank you all for the great comments. I'm happy people have found a new sense of themselves via photography, which touches the inside of us. Each time I pick up my camera, a new world opens up. Plus, that world stays open, even without the camera.
November 30, 2009 09:40 am
Great article, photography is indeed the about seeing and the art of painting with light.
And I agree with Jason, it's no longer possible to travel light anywhere :-)
November 30, 2009 09:02 am
I usually prefer being an observer rather than a participant so photography is complementary to that tendency.
Photography means I no longer "travel light" to anywhere!
November 30, 2009 08:28 am
Lovely post, really, thanks.
November 30, 2009 06:21 am
Lars -- Agreed. I'm learning to stop and really see the world around me. I look at my teenagers in new way, the place where I live, and new things I've wanted to see.
Best to you too!
November 30, 2009 06:13 am
@Killian My parents also died and my reinvented interest in photography became a breathing point.
I can only concur what the article say. I have to say that I got an AHA-experience about time and the seconds.
My life matters more for me through photography..
My very best!
November 30, 2009 05:34 am
I had a really lousy few years starting with my own health taking a hit, my father being ill and dying, a boatload of bad family history coming out, having a job that is absolutely toxic, and the near-demise of my marriage.
Photography has really saved me. It's helped me to find the beauty in a world that is not, for the moment, user-friendly. It's helped me to stop, change my focus, and actively find things that I want to see. I don't know what I'd do without it.
November 30, 2009 03:48 am
I think everyone should do one of these. Why not an entire blog of them? They're cool.
November 30, 2009 02:15 am
Through photography, I have learned to be more outgoing and forgotten about my shyness. I was always a loner with very little self-confidence. By looking for new places and subject matter, I joined a photo meetup. Through the meetup, I've made many friends and learned more than I could possibly learn by just attending classes for photography.
Yes, I've learned to see; really see details and my backyard as well. I never knew bugs were beautiful until I experimented with macro photography. I never realized the quality of early morning or late afternoon light. I never saw so much beauty in this world and in the mundane until I learned to capture it properly on film/sensor.
There is beauty all around us. We just have to learn to see it. My camera has opened up a whole new world for me
November 30, 2009 01:43 am
Beautiful article and very, very true. Thanks!
November 30, 2009 12:51 am
All you said and even more. Thank you.
November 30, 2009 12:41 am
WOW, you never realize how its changed your life until you really think about it!
i'm a 14 year old boy who started photography ever since i was a little kid, photography has given me a lot of different thing in life like: patience, seeing from another direction, acceptance of the other opinion and many more thing to use in my life , because the photo isn't always how you expect it , but it's special even when it's different
thanks a lot for opening my eyes to how photography has truly changed me , thank YOU :D
November 30, 2009 12:34 am
Yes. It changed my life (but not the way of life :P ) ....ummm...it's hard to explain ^^
November 30, 2009 12:34 am
Love it. I live in San Diego and try to capture my own city as well. I just got serious about my photography a little over a year ago and have very similar experiences as yours. Great article!
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