I’m not a Professional Photographer. I’m an Amateur Photographer and I do what I do for the fun of it. I happen to be at this awkward place right now, and have been for several months, where I’m feeling challenged to find the fun in what I do with a camera. I still like to think about going out taking pictures, I like thinking about editing my finds in Lightroom and I like getting feedback from family and friends about the pictures I take. But what I’m starting to think about is WHY. Why do I spend this much time with a camera and in a digital darkroom. Why do I try so hard to find the next photograph, the next place to go, the next best editing tools, the next best cameras? I’m not trying to “go pro” so…
It’s not that I don’t like doing it, thinking and reading about photography, it’s that I don’t know what to shoot anymore. Flowers? Really I’ve seen enough and I have enough flower shots to last me a life time. I know the approach here is to “find your own vision of those flowers”. O.k., I get that but I’ve shot them in every way I know how and that’s enough. Street Photography; I like it, it’s fun, it can be challenging, but what’s the point? After a decade of shooting “the street” I have a gigabyte or more of street shots that are good, not great, but good and so what? And so on. I’ve been taking pictures for a long time and I love it. I really do enjoy being behind a camera, seeing the light, waiting for a moment and seeing the results. I just wonder what the point is.
Or is there a point? Maybe I’m missing the whole idea. I don’t really have any ambition to be a paid professional photographer, I don’t aspire to fame, although I do like recognition and I would be in deep denial to think otherwise, I do like seeing the light and being aware of what’s happening around me as I anticipate the possible shot. Maybe all I’m trying to do is to stop trying so hard to get the next exceptional image. Maybe I should just quite over thinking it so much to the point that it takes the fun out of it. Maybe I should just shoot for the fun of it…like it used to be.
This past weekend we went camping with some friends. I went without over-thinking how I might want to capture the weekend on camera, but instead decided to just bring the camera for some family camping snapshots. If while I was there some pretty or interesting images would present themselves then I would get them as just a matter of seeing something worth taking a photograph of, besides just documenting the camp trip. And I did. There was beautiful scenery all around, including some wildlife, families having fun in the water, camp site cooking, in other words beautiful images of life were all around and I didn’t have to think my way through any of it.
It all just was and all I had to do was have fun with my camera, making adjustments, composing and firing away. Life is so easy when you just let it be and you just become a part of it.
I didn’t think I had to get up before sunrise or leave the party to catch the “magic light” I just let myself be available to the light there was. I’m not saying that chasing the light is a bad thing, it just doesn’t always have to be the thing. I came across this duck while taking a walk and stopping for a break on a public dock. I wasn’t out looking for wildlife shots, I was taking a walk and the duck swam up. Picture.
So keeping my hobby relevant isn’t a struggle after all. It’s just a little more fun, a little easier and very much a part of my daily life. To quote a blogger I like, Robin Wong at http://robinwong.blogspot.com/ who authors “The origin of Shutter Therapy”, he loves doing “shutter therapy” just for the fun of it. And so do I.