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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Third From the Top.”

Make sure I use these parcels of enlightenment to gain as much knowledge to make my blog photographs….as good as they can be.”

(This is the third sentence (slightly paraphrased) from Mark Bialczak’s blog, at http://markbialczak.com/2015/03/25/photo-101-keeping-my-edge-aligned/  which I highly recommend.)

(Actually Mark is referring to his photography using his camera phone, but in keeping with the assignment I elected to edit his words to adapt to my own post.   I hope he won’t mind 🙂

The hints and tips offered by bloggers and WordPress support people are invaluable to me  in improving my own photography skills.  In fact the very concept of being “required” to do the exercises is extremely helpful as it brings some order into my chaotic work schedule.   The word required in this useage refers to my own personal requirements, forcing me to participate–. there are NO mandatory requirements to the DailyPost feature. only suggestions.

I have been taking photographs for a very long time.  Haven’t won any prizes, but have  learned a lot through trial-and-error, and instruction here and there– from my staff photographer buddy at the newspaper where I worked years ago, and from my husband, who was an accomplished and experienced photographer.

My original working camera was a Yashika-Mat, which I still have.  However, I can’t find it at this moment when I want to take a photo of it.  [To see my search method of operation please see  http://mumbletymuse.com/2015/02/23/mad-woman-searching-for-lost-things/  which pretty much sums it up.]

Anyway, I supported five kids for two years with use of that camera…(not well, but adequately.)     It was recommended by my friend at the paper, as being relatively easy to use, and indeed it was quite serviceable.  The Yashika-Mat paid for itself several times over in the years I used it.  I was not a staff photographer, but as a reporter and then features writer I did personally take a lot of the casual photos used with my articles.

Later I had a variety of 35-mm SLR cameras, including a Nikon, a couple of Hewlett-Packards, another Nikon, and now my Sony Sure-Shot, which has a Carl Zeiss lens, and 4xZoom, plus a “no shake” feature to compensate for my…well, shaking.  🙂  Once I used some of the excellent advice and tips found here from Mark and other real photographers (and reading the instruction manual) I have come to respect this nice little Sony.  Still no prize-winning photos, but so far I have been very pleased with its range and versatility.

It is important to say that I depend heavily on automatic cameras, and it has been years since I actually tried to use the 35mm settings.  One of my difficulties was that it is hard to stay still, and my vision has not really been conducive to good focusing skills.    My proficiency with f-stops and lighting has never been excellent, either.

Nevertheless, over the years I have managed to take photos that are at least passable, some of them pretty high quality at least as far as esthetics, if not technical skills…if I do say so myself.  I would add, that my short-comings as a photographer have not particularly worsened with advancing age, so I can’t use that excuse.  🙂

Something that I have learned over the years is that skilled operation of almost anything comes with practice.  I know that’s pretty mundane, but still, part of my issues with photography has been lack of preparation, and neglecting to “get to know my camera.”

That means it wasn’t the best idea to take a brand new camera on a trip to Mexico and read the instruction manual in the van riding to and from wonderful photo-ops.  Sure, my photos that resulted were not all really bad, they just could have been better with a bit of effort on my part.

That’s the story of my life, photography chapter.