These days, the world of photography is open to everyone. The availability and ease of use of digital SLR cameras and photo editing software allow anyone to create high quality images. Easy and cheap trans- and intercontinental travel open up myriad previously inaccessible environments. We can all see lions and pandas, visit the Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon, and capture the beauty of the Northern Lights or the chaos of a thunderstorm. We also have unlimited advice and support available through blogs, forums, and websites, providing us knowledge that once required years of learning and practice. Photography is no longer a pursuit only for the well-connected or dedicated enthusiast.
The popularity of photography has soared over the past decade. Digital cameras have removed much of the mystery and challenge surrounding capturing good photographs, opening doors once closed to the general public. There was a time when photographers needed to have a steady hand, an artistic eye, and be able to handle complicated equipment to capture good photos. These days, the vast array of technical features (auto-focus, depth-of-field preview, sensor crop, image stabilisation, burst rate, digital filtering, etc.) render such technical skill and effort unnecessary. With the advent of smartphones, most of us have a camera with us at all times. We can also now share photos via the internet minutes after capturing them, providing a sense of instant gratification. We are essentially living in a golden age for amateur photography.
However, that's not to say that skill no longer plays a significant role in taking good photographs. It's usually pretty easy to pick the difference between images from a talented professional photographer and those from an amateur 'point and click' photographer. You won't confuse the images in National Geographic for someone's holiday happy snaps.
|Cracks in the Earth|
At the moment, I definitely fall in the amateur photographer camp. I guess whether or not that ever changes is entirely up to me. While I don't plan on becoming a professional photographer, I could certainly stand to learn a thing or two and I'm sure it will be great fun trying. There is always room for improvement, and I currently have nothing but room in that regard. I think the need for practice to achieve mastery is captured well by Henri Cartier-Bresson's quote:
“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
|The Grass Isn't Always Greener|
|Night Flowers #9|
I know I say this about a lot of things, but I definitely will work more on my photography skills. In fact, this time I'm making myself accountable to the commitment on this blog. I will upload one new photo every week. I won't upload old photos - it will always be taken in the preceding week. Where possible, I'll try a new technique, effect, or equipment each time. If you're interested, check back every Wednesday to see how it goes. I always welcome comments and feedback!
|Pencils Standing #4|
“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”