Tuesday, March 20, 2012

For the Love of the Game

Photography for me has become an obsession.  I’m sure many of you have tread the path that I’m currently walking – You got a nice camera for a birthday or Christmas to take pictures of your little one – aka “Momtographer” or in my case a “Dadtographer.”  Then you realized you really enjoy taking pictures and maybe those pictures aren’t just of your precious child.  So you start taking pictures of stuff you saw on flickr or Facebook or tried to copy that great picture at a friend’s house but there seems to be one major difference – your pictures stink.  Ok, maybe that is a little harsh but they don’t look like the masterpieces you had hoped for.  Now like you, I occasionally got lucky and took a really good picture but those were usually a result of snapping away without any real knowledge of photography.
Fast forward to this last January when I started taking photography classes.  Our instructor gave us homework like any good instructor should and I found myself shooting some of the most mundane items in our house because that is what was available and that is what I had time to shoot.  I got some great critique from my instructor based on those incredibly boring photos.  After I got used to receiving critique from my instructor I discovered the critique section here at DPS and decided to start submitting some of my photos for criticism from totally random people that have no knowledge of the area I’m shooting or of my shooting style.  I have received some great critique from DPS members and I have been trying to use most of it.  I have even tried to pass along (or regurgitate) some of the information that has been given to me.
As I found myself getting ready to comment on a picture this morning I realized there was a real problem….with my comment.  I was going to ask the photographer “What is the purpose of this picture?”  It is a simple picture of two park benches.  The problem with my comment (besides being just plain blunt and rude) is “If you are new to photography, why does every shot have to have a purpose?”  Can’t a person just try something?  I know most of the photo’s I’ve taken will never be displayed on a museum wall or featured on a website tribute but that doesn’t mean the photo’s I’ve taken didn’t serve a purpose.  I’ve learned something every time I’ve gone out.  It could be that I learned a little more about AV (aperture priority) mode or how my polarizer affects my photo or even that I suck at slowing down to really consider my shot.  But those little things are what will hopefully help me transition from taking good photos to really good and someday maybe even great photos.
In short, take pictures, take lot’s of pictures!  Who cares if the subject is a boring park bench.  Take it anyway because you will learn something.  Ask for help and critique and don’t take it personally when someone breaks apart every aspect of your photo (they really are trying to help.)  But most importantly take pictures because you want to, because you love the game of photography.

On that note, because I'm trying to do more B&W photos, here is another shot of a barn that I noticed on my way home from my in-law's house the other day.  There are so many interesting barns on that short 2 hour trip that I'm sure I'll have a few more photos to share in the future. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rural Decay

Every night on my way home from work I see this old farmhouse (pretty well surrounded by new farmhouses and a 4 lane divided highway) and think to myself "I wonder if I could get a good picture of that house?)  I've seen it with storm clouds in the background and thought it looked pretty cool so yesterday I decided to drive out to the house and have a walk around.  I took about 8-10 photos from different angles and subjects (there is an old shed on the property as well) and this is the one that I think came out the best.  I am experimenting with B&W photos because I love the contrast available and the focus on lines and geometry.