There is something in this article by Sarah for all to appreciate – her splendid images, her journey in acquiring skills, her engaging remarks and insightful advice.
“I live in Pennsylvania, northeast of Philadelphia where the suburbs begin to meld with the countryside. The location provides lots of places to photograph, including urban areas, woodlands, wetlands, and all manner of waters’ edges. I like to shoot outdoors, especially at the nearby Core Creek Park and Tyler State Park.
I took the long road to using a DSLR and choosing Nikon gear, and very much consider myself a beginner. I used various auto focus cameras for decades and, with a good quality lens and a fairly solid eye for composition, I was satisfied. The simplicity really appealed to me. Then, after a trip to Glacier National Park in fall 2015, I came home disappointed with my photos. The landscapes demanded a wider angle and deeper view than what my simple, straightforward Sony Cybershot with its Carl Zeiss lens could give. So I took the leap and bought a Nikon D5500, which for a non-techie like me was a little like jumping off a cliff. I signed up for a photography class, and set out this past year to learn as much as I could. I try to shoot photographs whenever possible, and just have fun with it.
I like to take photographs outdoors, and love quiet landscapes. I spend a lot of time at local parks or meandering around Bucks County’s quieter roads, looking for things to photograph. I’ve started to dabble with birds in flight, which I didn’t think I’d be too interested in until I had some success shooting the eagles fishing at Conowingo Dam. Now that’s a fun day out! Mostly I’m just listening for my voice in my photos, and am interested to follow where it leads
I joined Nikonians last year when my husband, Bob, suggested we register for the Fall 2016 ANPAT to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. He attended the Spring 2015 ANPAT to the southern marshes, swamps and beaches, and really enjoyed the trip. While it didn’t take much to convince me to agree, I was a little apprehensive about whether my skills would be too rudimentary. That definitely wasn’t the case. The ANPAT really is a trip that welcomes all skill levels. I learned a great deal from the others on the trip, and also had a great time in a stunning location.
I read the Nikonians forums regularly for information, often searching the archives for threads on concepts I’m trying to learn. I’m also inspired by the photographs other members post, and frequently look at their shooting data to conceptualize how the image was made. I really appreciate the commitment of Nikonians members to sharing information. It’s an engaging environment that fosters learning, and encourages both the artistic and the technical aspects of photography.
My tip for other beginners is to show your photographs. Get them out of the computer and let them breathe. The discipline of choosing and processing photographs is a great learning tool, and feedback from others, a great motivator. That, and have fun with it! Enjoy the ride.
I was visiting the Kingdom of Tonga many years ago, and was out for a morning walk around its small capital, Nuku‘alofa. There was a dark black Mercedes sedan parked near the water, which was highly unusual for an island that had very few cars at that time, and certainly not new ones. There were two Tongan men standing along the pier wearing dark clothing and dark sunglasses—all very “Men in Black” looking. I learned that they were the King’s bodyguards keeping vigil while the King undertook his morning exercise routine. Sure enough, looking out in the distance on the water I saw the King of Tonga rowing. My camera wasn’t up to the task, given the wildly reflective water and bright morning sky, so I didn’t get anything more than a couple dark silhouetted shots. That’s one do-over I’d love to have!”
Sarah, you have described a journey that continues but that cannot help but inspire others in their own searching to improve their own capacity in photography. Thank you so much for providing encouragement by your example.
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