I’m not a professional photographer but I love snapping photos. I don’t have any fancy equipment, just my cell phone (an LG) and I have a Nikon (no lens kit yet, so it’s really only good if I don’t need to zoom). But even using my cell phone, I’ve managed to capture some pretty cool shots and I’ve had several people (including professional photographers) tell me that “I have an eye” for photography.
I don’t know if I have “an eye” for it, but I DO have an interest in it, I’ve always seen things a bit differently than other people, and so I guess that’s enough of a combination to get me some “money shots”.
I used to take photos when I was younger, of my daughter when she was little, of get-togethers with family and friends, but I didn’t start taking a real interest in photography until I lost my Father.
You may be thinking, “What does your Father’s passing have to do with photography?” I’ll tell you….
One – It Makes You More Appreciative of the NOW
I actually wrote more about my Dad in my previous post, so if you haven’t read that one yet, maybe go check it out?
Dad was diagnosed with stage four mesothelioma January 2000, and six months later, he succumbed to the ravages of that horrible disease.
All my life (to that point) I knew my Dad as “the macho man”, the “man’s man”…..he drove a dump-truck when I was a little girl….when we moved to the farm (I was 10 then) Dad would let me sit beside him when he drove the tractor….he chopped wood….he fished, smoked a pipe, built stuff, repaired stuff, somehow, Dad knew how to do it all (despite only having a seventh grade education–long story short he’d lost his parents in WWII when he was still just a little boy).
Anyway, Dad’s birthday is July 25th. He passed away July 26th, one day into his 61st year on this planet.
Dad’s passing really hit me hard. But it also taught me something: NOTHING is permanent and we shouldn’t take anyone or anything for granted.
Not that I took my Dad for granted, but I DID take for granted that he would always be “here”. I took for granted that he would always be strong and healthy and able to do anything.
And so I started taking photos…..a lot of photos. I wanted to “hang on to” moments and memories…my daughter being a little girl….my pets….delicious food my Mom had prepared….travel….family and friends.
Losing Dad also hit home that I too will one day no longer be “here”. I’m not quite yet into my mid-50’s, but we never know when our time will be up, and so I want to snap as many lovely photos as I can, so I can share them with those who matter to me, and now here too, on my website, with others around the globe.
Two – It Makes You More Aware, and Brings Awareness To Others
Photography, specifically nature photography, brings into focus and highlights what makes our planet so incredible. When you share that photo, you’re allowing people to experience things they may not have noticed themselves, or maybe it’s something they would never be able to see because of where they live. You can, in a small way, help to raise awareness of the natural world and work to promote its conservation.
I love sharing my photos….not because I think I’m such a great photographer, or because “I have an eye”, but because I love bringing awareness of how fortunate we are. Even if we can’t travel afar, we each have something beautiful “in our back yard”.
Three – You Will Never Capture The EXACT Same Moment Twice
In my opinion, photography never gets boring. Whether it be wildlife, people, nature, food, fashion, architecture, art, landscape, or any other photography you’re interested in, there’s always a new angle, a new perspective, different lighting that you can introduce to your photos.
The clouds will never be in that SAME position again. The waves will never be EXACTLY the same when they caress the shoreline. The way the sun hits a mountain peak or a field of wheat or the facade of that cool building, will never be EXACTLY the same.
Your child won’t be that small forever.
Your friends may not be in your life forever.
Your parent(s) won’t be here forever.
YOU won’t be here forever.
Four – Nature Photography Is Great For Your Mental Health
Nature photography is extremely therapeutic.
If you’ve had a stressful week, heading out to be alone with your camera and the natural world can be a great way to wind down and forget your troubles, at least for a little while.
These days, in my opinion, a lot of people spend too much time indoors. Going outside is extremely beneficial for our well being, so why not head outside, even for a half hour….”see what you can see”….and appreciate it while it’s there. Because you know what, it won’t be forever. Everything changes. That’s Life.
If you like to go for a morning walk before your day gets too busy, again “see what you can see”. We often walk on auto-pilot, but when you stop to really notice things, you’ll see how truly beautiful your surroundings are.
I currently live in a suburb, not far from a park, and several trails, so there’s always something interesting to see and photograph.
Five – Nature Is Everywhere
Even for those who live in cities, there’s nature and wildlife to be found — you just might need to look for it more.
Or, venture out into the countryside and you’ll have even more opportunities to see new things. That’s one reason I love road trips so much, I can see things that I don’t see every day (like wind turbines, massive solar panels, wildlife).
Seasonally you’ll have different opportunities (depending on where you live). I live in southwestern Ontario, so right now it’s a good time for taking photos of gorgeous blossoms, hiking in the forest shots, beach shots.
In fall we get gorgeous colours on the trees, everything from brilliant yellow to flaming orange to dark crimson red.
In winter everything is blanketed in white, so it can be a bit more challenging to find those pops of colour that add interest to a photo, but it’s very rewarding when you do.
In spring, everything is coming back to life, and snapping photos of my favourite spring flowers makes ME feel like I’m coming back to life.
As I said, I’m not a professional photographer, but I do know these important things to keep in mind when snapping a photo:
- just as they say that the three most important things in real estate are “location, location, location”, in photography it’s, “lighting, lighting, lighting”. Best time of day for outdoor photos is early in the morning and later in the day, during “the golden hour”.
- use the rule of thirds . Before you press that button to capture that image, mentally divide up the image using two horizontal lines and two vertical lines, creating a “nine block” grid. The idea is that an off-center composition is more pleasing to the eye and looks more natural than one where the subject is placed right in the middle of the frame.
- don’t rush. Of course, you want to capture that perfect moment before it’s gone, but if you snap too soon, it’ll likely be out of focus, misaligned or blurry (or all three of those things).
Of course, there are many other tips I could share, but the point is not to worry about making that “perfect shot”, because you’ll lose the moment you’re trying to capture, the point is to really SEE what there is to see, and if you love it, snap a pic of it, and share it, because chances are, if you love it, so will someone else too!