Just shut up and shoot….

I suppose, since I state that I’m into photography and list it as a topic on my blog, maybe I should actually write about it a little.

I came to the realization last spring that… I must now consider myself an artist.  I attended an event called “the Levite summit” at which all manner of artistic expression was presented and explored.

Just because you don’t paint doesn’t mean that you’re not an artist.  Artistic expression can take on many forms.  It may be that you express yourself by doing back flips on a mountain bike or by jumping from rooftop to rooftop.  You may be the creator of sand castles, or something of an impassioned and inexperienced writer like me; or, also like me… you may love to take pictures.

Like many of us today, I participate in and read internet based special interest forums on subjects of interest to me.  One of those happens to be about photography and photographic equipment.  These forums can be a blessing and a curse because they’re usually filled with tons of personal opinion, preference and brand loyal people who are keen to scoff at equipment not necessarily of their own choosing (read fanboys).

While I think it’s great that we bear loyalty to products because we believe in their quality or feature set, it’s still just stuff!  Artistry is not contained within a piece of hardware.  Unless configured, staged and then pre-programmed, a camera will not take a picture on its own (and don’t geek with me because AI is still artificial).

I have acquired quite a bit of equipment for my hobby.  I have it because I enjoy it!  I love the different effects that I can achieve just by changing a lens or using a different camera body, but in the end, it comes down to what I want to shoot.  I don’t take a picture if I don’t want to.  I personally don’t do this for money.  I just love the way it makes me feel.

I was thinking about my photography this morning and how little I’ve actually done in the last 9 months or so.  I’ve been out a few times, but nothing that significantly reflects my passion for the hobby.  I guess it’s just a part of a season and that’s OK by me.  If I’m not out there because I’m drawn to shoot a subject or landscape, then it’s not what I should be doing.  Integrity comes from simple truth and the simple truth is that it’s just not been in me recently.

All that stuff said, I did have a significant encounter this summer while out with my camera.  To tell that story, I have to tell another first.  Earlier in the year, I purchased a new “mirrorless” camera because I wanted something I could travel with easily.  I vowed to myself that I wasn’t going to buy every lens on the planet that works with the new system.  I was going to be content with the single and very capable “kit” lens I purchased with the camera (it was not part of a bundle).

This particular lens is great for all types of shooting, but it does have some limitations because it’s a zoom.  Without getting all technical, I can’t get many of the effects I like in the type of photography I enjoy.  I love shooting candid portraiture and landscapes.  That type of “picture takin’” really blows my hair back.  I also like to shoot extreme Depth of Field (blurry background and foreground with the subject perfectly in focus).

So… back to my original point… while reading through one of these “photography forums”, I noticed a thread on how a fellow photographer “overcame the agony of the X-T1…“ (http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3734655).

The article was basically about how a guy learned that his camera was in the end, a fine piece of kit and that he should simply learn to be content with it instead of focusing on its limitations or shortfalls (sorry about the pun).  The best part of the article was how he came to his conclusion… his wife used common sense on him.  The part of interest to me, was how it made me reflect on my own camera and photography.  Yes… I still want another lens or two, but something wonderful happened while I was reading the article.  I was reminded of an occasion a few weeks ago while at the annual “kick off” event hosted at my Church.

A friend of mine asked “Hey Tim, is that the new camera you’ve been talking about on Facebook?  You know, the little one with the cool pictures”.  I said “why… yes” and grinned my usual, silly and toothy grin.  Her question and observation wasn’t the cool part though… the cool part was what she said (or asked) next.  “We don’t have any recent pictures of us as a couple, so would you mind taking our picture with it?”  I had my big fancy DSLR rig with me, but she wanted to see a picture from my new, little Fuji.  I took one picture and showed her… Her reaction (and that of her Husband) made it all worthwhile!  “Wow… that’s so cool!  Can you send it to me and do you mind if I use it as my profile picture”.  You could have handed me a cheque right there and It wouldn’t have mattered!  She loved the shot and that’s what’s important!  The point being… I used what I had in my hand!  It wasn’t the best of my gear or the best for that kind of shot, but it allowed me to get the shot and it brought a smile to my friends face in the process.

The essence of art is about one thing and one thing only, how the art makes you feel.  If it touches you and makes you “feel”, it’s done its job! I went on to take more pictures of my friends with my other gear, but honestly, the first picture I took of them with my little Fuji wound up being my personal favourite.  It was my favourite because it captured them as they wanted to be… not staged, not posed, but captured in a simple moment that they wanted to have preserved.  It was a fun picture taken in a fun moment by a friend, for a friend.

I’m grateful that I came to this realization this morning and I’m also grateful that my friends helped to teach me a valuable lesson.  Do what you love!  And… when you do what you do, don’t sweat the small stuff.  (The grammar police are gonna get me for that last one)

There’s beauty in any occasion and it’s usually right there in front of you!  How you choose to capture the moment is yours to decide, but please…… do choose to act because the world will be a better and brighter place for it!

Thanks Katie & Joel for helping to teach me this lesson!

KAC Kickoff 2014 (6 of 6)