I bought my first SLR, the Nikon D80, in 2007 not long after my daughter Amanda was born.
Like any new parent, I was eager to get the best possible photos of my child and I always liked photography but never actually spent money to get a good camera. I had always used point and shoot cameras and never understood or cared to learn about the underlying principles of photography.
With the D80 and armed with knowledge from reading Bryan Peterson’s fantastic book, Understanding Exposure, I set out to see the world through the lens of my camera.
It had become quite a fun hobby – a creative outlet that I was lacking and needed.
Flash forward a few years and I was hardly shooting. It was getting harder to find time to go out and shoot. I was preoccupied with other stuff in life. Worst of all I was lacking inspiration.
This year, I have made the time to get behind the camera and enjoy it once again. I re-read Understanding Exposure, cleaned up all my glass, and headed outdoors.
I am now pushing my comfort zone more than ever with higher ISO settings, shutter speed priority, etc. Rediscovering the fun in finding that one really good shot that you’d be proud to frame on your wall.
One big change I have made is that instead of just going out with my camera to find things to shoot, now I figure out what I’d like to shoot before I go out. This way I can plan on a time of day, what gear to bring, etc. Planning has made my trips out with the camera much more satisfying, and a much better yield of “keepers” from the day’s shoot.
I have no illusion about being a professional. I know the limits of my skill and I like doing it on my terms and not under pressure for a paid job. But I have taken quite a few shots I am proud of and have a hell of a lot of fun doing it.
Find that thing you enjoy and get back at it!