Since moving back to the mountains and beginning to blog, I have revived a long-time interest in photography. I am by no means a professional photographer, but a dabbler who enjoys capturing a vision, be it a landscape that has meaning for me or my beautiful children (easy subjects no doubt) or just something that evokes or expresses a certain feeling or sentiment.
I got my first camera as a birthday present when I turned 16 on a cross-country driving trip with my dad and stepmom. A Canon AE1 SLR with an awesome zoom lens. I loved that camera. I never did take a photography class as I wanted to (well, I did start one as a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill but was forced to drop it for reasons too complex to elaborate on here), but I did experiment and play and take lots and lots of photos. Many of the photos I took in high school were featured in our graduation ceremony slide show, but I never had to courage or confidence to do anything more than that with it.
Alas, however, to my great shame and embarrassment (to this day I cringe when I think of it), I sold the camera in my early adulthood in order to help pay some heinous credit card debt.
Since then I was always grabbing the cameras of friends and family to take my own version of shots I saw around me. I admired the photography of others. I got a little cheapo point-and-shoot and made the best of it, taking hundreds of photos on every trip.
Early in our marriage, my husband and I treated ourselves to a Nikon CoolPix 4500, a high quality digital point-and-shoot (I don't think they make that exact model anymore). I quickly took it over and began taking tons and tons of photos. Why not? Digital made it so easy to delete the not-so-great ones (of course, I was--and am--not so great at deleting).
When I discovered blogging, well, that just upped the ante. I had a venue to show my photos, and a way to see others' photos for inspiration. Flickr followed, giving me more exposure and more inspiration. As I got more and more into it, I realized I needed a better set-up, a better camera.
Finally, in early 2008, we received a bit of a tax windfall (in addition to the President's stimulus check) and my incredibly supportive husband encouraged me to spend some of that windfall on a new Digital SLR. After much research and comparison, I purchased a Nikon D80 DSLR with an 18-55mm lens and and a 50-200mm zoom.
I've been playing around and studying a bit since in order to improve my skill level. I still have a long way to go. I think I'm pretty decent at composition and at capturing that certain feeling or vision. I could do much better in the technical areas. I'm getting there.
One of my next areas of growth (other than learning all the ins-and-outs of exposure and shutter speed) is in manipulation of the images--the Photoshop stuff. I do not currently have Photoshop but I do use Picasa--a free download from Google--for sharpening images, cropping, and saturation. Those are the only changes I make to any of my images, so most of them you see the way they come straight from the camera.
There is so much inspiration in the blogworld...and real world. If you like my images, I truly appreciate it. I hope you will see as I learn more, do more, and improve my skills.