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10 Ways Photography Has Changed My Life

In this post Lisa Newton from Travelin’ Local shares 10 ways that her life has been changed by photography.

Has Photography Changed Your Life?

It has certainly changed mine, for the better.

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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:

1. “Look.”

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.

2. “See.”

200911251314.jpgAlthough 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.

3. “Time.”

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.

4. “Light.”

200911251315.jpgArt 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.

5. “Distance.”

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.

6. “Learning.”

200911251315.jpgAs 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.

7. “Travelin’.”

200911251315.jpgYes, 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.

8. “Seconds.”

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.

9. “Focus.”

200911251315.jpgFor 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.

10. “Appreciation.”

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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