Back to Basics

I've been taking photos for years. Seven thousand three hundred and forty three photos on my Macbook and boxes and boxes of pics waiting to be immortalised in albums and frames all attest to that fact.  I love taking photos.  I love to record the beauty, the happiness and the fun of both everyday and special moments

 Over the years I have moved from a simple point and shoot to a DSLR and then finally to a full frame.  Sadly my skill has not kept pace with the gear.  I just never moved off the dreaded green button.  So effectively I have been using a powerful, full frame camera as a point and shoot.  It's a travesty.

I blame a combination of perfectionism, fear of failure and technological intimidation.  A few years ago, I did an online digital photography course which was destined to set me free from the auto button, but unfortunately I moved from auto to aperture and shutter settings and never took the ultimate step to shooting in manual.  It wasn't long before I was back on the green button and my camera spent most of it's life hidden in the cupboard.    I felt quite intimidated by it and while I still loved capturing memorable and beautiful moments, I took to snapping most pics with my Iphone.  I even went so far as to leave my big, beautiful camera at home when we travelled to Croatia last year and Nepal earlier this year. 

 I was determined to face the fear when we went to Norway a couple of weeks ago.  I  knew that it was a spectacular country and that I would deeply regret not having a decent camera with me if I didn't take it along.  So I set off on a crash course to get myself off auto mode.  I googled around and found a photographer  in Cape Town who offered a course called "Beginner to Pro".  It was great.  David was  practical and succinct.   Within half an hour, he had me shooting in manual.  He asked me a few questions about the type of photography I was interested in and then gave me a a couple of broad outlines, showed me some basic settings and got me going.  

First 3 manual pics


The take away for me - you've got take photos if you want to learn photography.  I have read,  researched, signed up for multiple online courses but I just haven't taken manual photos.  I have had to make my peace with the fact that I am going to take a lot of bad photos before I learn to take the photos I really want to take.  This is a good thing for me.  I struggle so much with the curse of perfectionism.  Anne Voskamp calls it as it is:

Perfectionism is slow death by self. It will kill your skill, your spark, your art, your soul
— Anne Voskamp

So it's back to basics once more for me as I learn to embrace the process of learning through my mistakes.  I took my camera to Norway and I was pleased with some of the pics.  I discarded more than I kept, but that's the process and I am determined to keep at it.  Taking pictures for my blog is one way to keep me using my camera.  I am experimenting with food photography and also planning to follow the example of a photographer on VSCO who takes a walk everyday with his camera and just shoots whatever catches his eye.  I live in beautiful surroundings, I shouldn't battle with this one.  

I plan to share what I am learning here in the hopes that it will inspire others to give it a go as well and also in the hope that I will learn from others who started out like me with all the gear and no idea but who are now taking great pics. 

Here's to keeping our art and our souls alive by embracing imperfection and giving it a go

First few photos taken on manual in Norway