Last Christmas, I got my first DSLR camera.
I have refrained from writing about it or pointing out the pictures I’ve taken with it, because I have been terrified that they are rather subpar, unworthy of being mentioned and subject to possible ridicule.
I have, however, come to the conclusion that the only way I will get better at using the camera and taking photos is to draw attention to it and highlight my attempts, to learn from them and view each photo and each blog post that contains a photo as progress.
I have always loved taking pictures. I went to every school dance and vacation and sleepover, camera in hand. I was taking “selfies” with all of my friends before they were actually a thing. I uploaded every photo to Facebook, back when Facebook only allowed 60 photos in each album, so my vacations would be labeled Beach 1 through Beach 4. I’ve always wanted to capture every moment, afraid that I’ll forget some pivotal thing, some momentous occasion in my life and I won’t be able to go back. (That’s also why I write.)
So I got a Nikon D5200. My goal was, is, and probably always will be to learn how to use it and to master it. I want to take really fantastic photos. I want photos that will make you sit down and wish you could be where I was, because I captured it so perfectly. I want blurred backgrounds and sharp focus and vivid colors. I want to record my life in words and photos that represent the world as I see it, with extreme clarity, in ways that no one else can.
I’ve spent the past ten months practicing, instruction manual at the ready, reading articles and blogs and tips for beginners. I’ve fiddled with the settings and I did a little one-on-one session with a helpful member of the Best Buy Geek Squad. But figuring out this new hobby of mine is hard. I’ve taken a lot of blurry photos, and not beautiful-blurry-background the way I wanted. I’ve stuck to auto mode when I’m worried that I’ll only have one chance to get a good shot. And I certainly know how to overexpose and underexpose. I’ve warned my family that if I’m practicing with the settings, they’ll need to smile for at least five full minutes, because it will take me about 15 shots to get it right.
But that’s what it takes – practice, practice, practice. Every time I pull out my camera and snap a few haphazard pictures, I’m learning something new, whether it’s as simple as composing the shot or as difficult as adjusting the aperture when I’m indoors and the afternoon sunlight is coming in through the window. Every mistake is an opportunity to figure something out and make a tiny bit of progress.
This past weekend, Jim and I carved pumpkins for Halloween and had quite the adventure touring Fallingwater in Laurel Highlands and biking in Ohiopyle. I wanted to share some photos that I took over the weekend, that I’m pretty happy with. As always, there is much room for improvement. Also please know that these photos have not been edited in any way.