Lens Artists Challenge #133: My Photography Journey

Life’s journey seems to take twists and turns, but it’s been my experience that important happenings come at a right and perfect time. Amy has given us the challenge of describing our photo journey. I started this blog at the very beginning of mine.

For me, photography came as I closed down my part-time speaking and writing business. At age 70, I didn’t know what to do with all the extra time I would have. Friends suggested sewing, quilting and crocheting. No! I’ve sewed and crocheted before, and it wasn’t fulfilling.

After several weeks, I remembered how much I enjoyed the photography class I took at Pierce College when I was a returning student (My youngest was in first grade). All the journalism majors had to take the photo class and the photography students had to take a journalism class. We had to use an all manual camera. Fortunately, Richard brought back a Minolta from his time in Vietnam, and I used that camera. What fun I had developing the film and making prints.

During that time, I was also writing for a newspaper and started taking the pictures for my column. I always wrote tight so the editor wouldn’t cut my articles. The only time he cut one was to run one of my photographs a half page. After graduating and moving, I stopped taking photos except of family with a point and shoot.

Fast forward to my retirement decision to purchase a DSLR. Not sure about the decision to make photography my new passion, I bought an entry level Nikon, the D3100. I didn’t know anything about crop sensor vs full frame or even how to use the camera. And, what was ISO?

From the archives, a picture taken with my D3100 shot on auto because all I could see in the dark was the green “A!” This was taken at one of my first outings with my new camera.

I found that photographers were more than willing to share their expertise, and I wasn’t afraid to ask questions. I found out that ISO was like the film camera’s film speed and much more. I didn’t take a class because I didn’t want assignments and homework. Come on, wasn’t I too old for that?

The more I learned, the more I understood the limitations of my 3100. So, within a year, I bought a Nikon D7100. I could bracket automatically and it had two card slots. I liked that camera and used it until 2020.

Here’s a shot taken with my 7100 in 2014. Now I know how to reduce the white at the bottom.

I was still learning, experimenting and asking questions. In 2015 I did the 365 Challenge, and I’m so glad I did. My photographic ability jumped after that year. That in itself was a journey.

Here’s a picture I took during week 10 with my new/used macro lens.

My passion for photography never waned through the years. The more adept I became, the more I realised my need for a camera that would be better in low-light situations. If I was to get another camera, it would be a mirrorless for the size and weight. Marlene bought a Fujifilm X-T2, and when I saw her pictures, I knew that was the camera I wanted. The color was outstanding and the clarity amazing.

In 2020 I bought a Fuji X-T3. I’ve always bought new cameras, but used lenses. This time I came home with a new camera and three new lenses. I have not regretted that decision. I still use the Nikon for ultra wide and telephoto shots. I’ve sold my wonderful Sigma macro lens since I have one for the Fuji.

Here’s an image taken in 2020 with the Fuji.

So, here we are in the present. I’m still learning and growing in ability. I do need to conquer Photoshop and other plugins. When an outing is sort of blah, I still come home with an image or two that are worthwhile. I now see things differently, and I’m more aware of my surroundings. Most of all I’m having fun. What an amazing journey that’s still twisting and turning while moving forward.

Perspective and Progress: the 365 challenge

I’ve gotten complacent. I’ve gotten bored. I’ve become too comfortable. Yes, I haven’t currently pushed past my comfort zone with the 365 challenge. For those of you who are not familiar with this ominous task, it means taking a photograph a day for one full year. I’ve just started into my 34th week, and I can tell you there are some days I’m ready to quit.

But, I won’t because I realize what I have learned through the process. I was talking with Greg, a photo buddy, during one of our outings and he said that I was a good photographer. Others have said the same thing, but I wasn’t ready to hear them, being stuck in low photographic ability esteem. That day I said, “Yes, I believe I can finally say I’m not a beginner, but maybe call myself an intermediate.” He then went on to tell me all I needed was to learn the software. I agreed.

This is all part of the 365. I’ve become very comfortable and good at close up, macro, and landscape shooting. I’m having fun doing HDR and trying not to over process it. My camera is mostly on manual these days, and I’m helping new photographers. However, there are still things to learn. This is mostly in setting up and lighting a shot. This is what I need to work on with the 265. But, I don’t have the equipment and don’t want the expense of studio lighting. I’ll just have to ask my photo buddy if I can come over!

I know I need to move past my complacent, bored and comfortable self and expand my knowledge. I’ve set a goal to have that done before the 365 ends. If I’m persistent enough, I can do it. Greg, when can I come over?

Here are some of my 365 images. There are others that I posted directly from outings already shown in this blog.