I decided that my next hobby/passion/obsession is going to be digital photography.
Not just digital photography, but really good quality photographs. Most of you will find this as a complete surprise, but it is actually something that I have thought about for a long time. Here’s the exact thought process that helped me arrive at my new “passion” of really good digital photographs:
I worked at the Greatest University in the World at the Web and Media services department, which allowed me to have visibility into both web production as well as the photographers from St. Thomas. One of the people I worked with (although never directly) was a guy named Roger Rich. He is a legend at St. Thomas, and is pretty much a photography God. In fact, he is the person who immortalized Bill and myself on the St. Thomas email login page (click the link so you can check out my ridiculous blond hair dye – which was self inflicted). I saw his technique and skill, and I was always intrigued with what he was doing. However, I never really took the time to learn the craft.
This is when I took the bulk of my Electronic Media Production classes at St. Thomas, and learned how cameras work, in both video and still form. I learned crazy techniques, concepts (like f stops, aperatures, etc.) and more! At this point in time, I would have probably been able to produce some decent photographs. The problem at the time; I hated my professor, I was dead broke, and I really wanted to concentrate on a career that I could actually make money (computers). So, I put photography on the back burner, and didn’t really think about it for a few years. On the bright side, I did get the chance to make a kick-ass documentary:http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5291109536270409844
I really didn’t touch a camera much, other than to take pictures of me hanging out with my friends. Shot composition, field clarity, and other photography techniques were not major points of interest, and pretty much every shot I took was of the “point and shoot” variety. I was more concentrating on 1) reducing my debt from college and post-college. 2) starting my own business. 3) trying (with sporadic success) to get laid. Quality photography was probably #1,343,575 on my priority list.
April of 2007:
My good friend Brandon told me about some very cool photography techniques that you can do in Photoshop to blend three photos together and create a beautiful image. The coolest was HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography (check out that article… the pics are beautiful). I was amazed! I knew that techniques like this were possible, but I never really considered it a reality from my end.
Meanwhile, I went to an art gallery opening for my friend and client, Chris Price. Along with his wonderful Oil Pastels and paintings, the gallery had another artist on display at the time. The other artist was a photographer, and she was selling prints of photos she took in her extensive travels (Japan, Italy, USA, and others). The photos were very cool, and very expensive! (around $100 a pop for a small 4×6 framed photo). I thought to myself “man, I could make a lot of money if I started taking and selling photos… enough money to pay for my International travels!”
May of 2007:
I was at Nestle headquarters talking to a colleague named Amit, and he showed me a panorama photo that he shot while he was back home in India. It was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! We talked about the techniques that he used, and he said that he “stitched” the panorama together using a program provided by his Canon brand digital camera. While we were talking, I mentioned the HDR technique that Brandon had showed me. While trying to find HDR (I can never remember the name, and I actually had to ask Brandon for this while writing this post), I stumbled upon a blog devoted to Digital Photography by a man named Harold Davis (I have actually exchanged emails with Harold, and he’s a great guy! You should definitely check out his blog!).
July of 2007:
One of my favorite bloggers, Matt Cutts, posted an article about photographing fireworks. I was interested for two reasons: 1) Matt doesn’t usually talk about anything other than SEO and gadgets… so this post MUST be important and 2) the night before, I watched Sarah’s roommate take pictures of fireworks from her camera phone (With little success. Due to the sporadic nature of fireworks, it’s hard to take pictures of them). So, when I read his timely post, I was getting pretty fascinated with how he took such beautiful pictures. Check it out:
Beautiful, isn’t it?? It totally looks like it was taken by a professional. I later learned that Matt’s techniques indeed involved the consultation of a professional. He learned his techniques by reading a book about Digital Photography by Scott Kelby.
In this book, the author shows you exactly what you need to take professional quality photos in a variety of situations (how to photograph flowers, weddings, city scenes, landscapes, etc.). I bought the book right away!
August of 2007:
Now that I had a book, my next task was to get a camera. My brother Brian bought a sweet Canon SLR camera earlier in the year, and I thought maybe I would get a camera like his. Then, Brandon told me about a new Canon camera called the Powershot G9 that was smaller than a traditional SLR camera, but had many of the same capabilities. I bought the camera, and decided to spend some time in September getting acquainted with how it works before I left for Europe in October.
September of 2007:
I’ve been reading the book and taking photos with my G9… I’m not as proficient as I originally had hoped, but I’ve read almost all of the book and I plan on taking some awesome photos in Europe!
October of 2007:
I’m going to take some kickass photos and share them on this blog!
2008 and Beyond:
I plan to get good at photography and hopefully start a photography blog where I share my photos! I have been reading Harold’s blog daily ever since I discovered it earlier this year, and his photos are a constant source of inspiration! I am hoping that I can get good enough to put my photos on display, and maybe even sell prints (or give them away to my friends and family). I will keep you updated with my progress. Please wish me luck with my new hobby and if you’re also interested in Digital Photography, maybe we can take a class together!