Snappy New Year

One of my goals for 2013 is to re-discover photography. It is something I enjoyed a few years back but I gradually stopped doing although I’ve no real idea why. This blog post is all about how I fell in love with photography, my drift away from it and my renewed desire to get back into it.

As a child I grew up in a household where photography wasn’t a big thing. My dad shot cine film from time to time but his photography skills were legendary for his ability to cut off people’s heads or other body parts. He took a handful of decent photos but the camera was only really brought out for holidays and at family get-togethers. Possibly because of this I’d never been bitten by the photography bug and I didn’t actually own my own camera until I was nearly 30.

That first camera was a Fuji FinePix 6800Z which served me well for a number of years. In fact it did well until the day my daughter was born early in 2005 and one of the first photos of her was taken by a nurse. Whilst I was used to the shutter lag of the camera the nurse wasn’t and so the photo was slightly blurred. That rankled and after it I started noticing the shutter lag more and more as I moved from taking holiday photo snaps to trying to capture photos of my wriggling daughter.

In November 2005 I started to look into buying a new camera and I discovered that if I wanted a more responsive camera then I’d really have to buy myself a DSLR. After a few weeks of extensive reading and research I bought a Nikon D50 with an 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-S DX lens. I was delighted and, even when ignoring composition rules and leaving the camera in auto mode, the quality of the photos was far better than the FinePix’s.

Over the next couple of years I bought a couple more lenses, my favourite being an 85mm f/1.8D prime. Through it I fell in love with portrait photography.

However, just before Christmas it struck me how few photos I take these days and most of those are taken on my iPhone. Looking back, it was sometime around 2009 that I started to use my camera less. I really can’t figure out why it happened, it just did. I started taking my DSLR to fewer places and generally took fewer photos and in retrospect it’s sad that I’ve possibly missed some of my daughter’s early years (although they are far from photo-free).

Once I’d realised that I wasn’t doing something I’d enjoyed it became an itch that had to be scratched and over the last ten days or so I’ve started to read about photography again, revisit some of the web sites I used to look at and, most importantly, take photos again. I treated myself to a 35mm prime lens and I’m starting to think about buying a new body later in the year. The bug is coming back and it’s making me very happy.

During my initial stage of loving photography I got as far as using aperture-priority mode but I was still taking a lot of photos in auto mode too. Now that I’m revisiting photography and coming at it with fresh eyes I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos and learning much more about depth-of-field than I knew before and also more about the exposure triangle and the rules of composition. I’m aiming to restrict myself to aperture-priority and manual modes much more than I used to and, as a result, hopefully become much more conscious about what I’m photographing and how I’m doing it.

I’ve created a new photography tag for this blog since I plan to write a lot more about how I’m getting on along with some of my photos. As ever, feedback, comments, suggestions and advice are all gratefully received.