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03-12-2018, 12:38 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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I was a Horrible Photographer (An inspirational message)

I have, for some time taken a break from photography. I only recently came back after having spent roughly the equivalent of a k-1 kit on a mountain bike and gear (old hobby I still very much enjoy).

Part of my return involved looking at old photos, and seeing what I did wrong or where I could do better. The trip down memory lane also kinda got me down, believing I sucked then, perhaps I am not any better now.

Well that appears to not be true, I do pretty ok (most of the time) and it appears I am not the only one with this line of progression. What is really cool is when you see someone who is a professional photographer be willing to open up their archives and share their humble beginning photographs and be willing to say "Yep that was me and man have I come a long way and so will you"

So I give you, this guy Peter Mckinnon. I don't know much about him other than he was willing to share, critique, and laugh at his photographs from when he started as well as compare them to where he is now 13+ years later.



Do you have a story like mine or his? Care to show examples of when you started to where you are now? Please do! It may just help bring someone back to our fantastic hobby!

03-12-2018, 01:49 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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A great reminder that we have all grown as photographers and will continue to do so. I know I have learned a lot since I picked up my first camera as a 11 year old. At that time it was considered good if I got the subject in the frame - focusing correctly was optional. As an 11 year old I took a cruise around the Baltic Sea as a school trip and was given the camera and a couple of folks of film. Very few of those shots are useful.

More recently over the last 6 years from going from a K-r to a K-3 my photography has improved. Part of that improvement has come from the tools I use - better camera and better lenses but I do know my skill has a roll to play too. I find deleting the bad ones much easier and I spend a bit more time taking the shots. One of the best things I did for my skill level was to take part in the Daily Challenges here on the forum. It commits me in a friendly way to shoot everyday and my keeper rate has improved immensely. The gentle feedback from others in the group has provided opportunities for growth and a greater understanding of what pleases others.

The fact that photography does make me think, keeps me learning and wanting to learn. There is always something new to explore. What's even better is when my health isn't good I can still play with my camera. I don't have to be the one always in control as I can take shots with the camera making many of the decisions for me.
03-12-2018, 02:48 PM   #3
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Digitizing old slides is quite an eye opener...digital comeuppance!
03-12-2018, 02:53 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by W.j.christy Quote
Do you have a story like mine or his? Care to show examples of when you started to where you are now?
Totally agree with you, and yes my early photographic efforts for years was average at best. Thankfully, I didn't think it was awfully average or bad, so I kept on shooting and improving. I'm not going to bore anyone here by posting an early example of my work because it simply is not post-worthy. Technically there was nothing wrong with it, but what a 13 year old mind finds interesting certainly evolves over the years.

Cop out?

03-12-2018, 03:14 PM - 1 Like   #5
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All my earlier photos were of my baby girl. I won't post any photos here but will say she's now 50 years old. What I didn't understand at the time was, I didn't have to stand far away to get the shot. So saying that there is a lot of space between me and her. Since that time, I've taken college photography courses to learn composition and better focus on what I needed to know about photography. I'm still learning but my photos are much, much better now days than they were when I was 18.
03-12-2018, 11:53 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by W.j.christy Quote
I have, for some time taken a break from photography. I only recently came back after having spent roughly the equivalent of a k-1 kit on a mountain bike and gear (old hobby I still very much enjoy).

Part of my return involved looking at old photos, and seeing what I did wrong or where I could do better. The trip down memory lane also kinda got me down, believing I sucked then, perhaps I am not any better now.

Well that appears to not be true, I do pretty ok (most of the time) and it appears I am not the only one with this line of progression. What is really cool is when you see someone who is a professional photographer be willing to open up their archives and share their humble beginning photographs and be willing to say "Yep that was me and man have I come a long way and so will you"

So I give you, this guy Peter Mckinnon. I don't know much about him other than he was willing to share, critique, and laugh at his photographs from when he started as well as compare them to where he is now 13+ years later.

I was a HORRIBLE PHOTOGRAPHER - YouTube


Do you have a story like mine or his? Care to show examples of when you started to where you are now? Please do! It may just help bring someone back to our fantastic hobby!
Its nice to have you back. But I have been where you are. Sometimes I think I am still there. The mind plays tricks.
A month ago I was shooting a wedding for a friend. He invited someone that unknown to me works at the same company as I do.
He saw the shots after the effect and he was very impressed. He asked if i was planning to do photography full time someday. He asked if he can recommend me to people. I said please do.
We are our worst critics.

Last year I also to a "break" in the sense that i didnt want to take pictures anymore. Rather i wanted to learn how to process my pictures in a better and faster way.
I have managed to do that in some way. And I have gigs booked in the coming month. Sadly they are all not paying jobs. I dont mind though. One paid gig later in the year.

Next year. nothing is for FREE anymore.
03-13-2018, 08:54 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I had a similar discussion not that long ago

I actually had a similar discussion to this with my son's cub scout den a couple of months ago. I was teaching them the basics of photography and how cameras work. Part of the activity was for the kids to take pictures and work with cameras. After taking a bunch we were going through them and discussing what was they got right with each picture and what they could have done better. The kids really liked one of the pictures I took as they didn't get anything like it and I had to explain why it turned out better and how I took it. I explained that I have taken a lot of pictures over the years and that when I learned it was with a camera that didn't do anything for you except provide basic metering. I also told them that every picture they took turned out better than the first one I took because technology prevents lots of mistakes I made when learning. I still shoot mostly all manual as I used that same camera exclusively until recently At the next meeting I brought in the very first actual picture I took and the one they liked from the previous meeting. I told them that there was the proof that I took some dome downright awful pictures and didn't start off even taking good ones.

So here is the first picture I took with my Spotmatic F and SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 and some ISO 200 Fuji film. I had basically figured out how to focus the camera but didn't really understand how to correctly read the meter or what an f-stop was:
Name:  Bonsai1.jpg
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Size:  246.9 KB

And here is the picture from the meeting after a couple decades and 10s of thousands of pictures worth of experience with my newly acquired used K-3 and old 135mm f/2.3 Vivitar Series 1:
Name:  Grasses.jpg
Views: 161
Size:  412.8 KB
03-14-2018, 09:20 AM   #8
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In photography there is no such thing as being the best. I am continually growing and learning and there are no limit. No other are better than another, every photographer have their own unique identity by the way they visualize and capture time. These reasons are the beauty of photography.

To me, my best pictures are my worst ones. My worst pictures are what gives me the ability to take great ones. Without my mistakes and often poor vision, I cannot stem and grow into making my photographs into something beautiful.

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