Eight Reasons Why I Love Photography

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By Steve Russell

Blue Lake

Recently I read, on another photography blog, an article entitled “10 Reasons Why I Hate Photography.” I’m pretty sure that the writer had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek when he wrote and posted the article but he did make a few good points. His article prompted me to list eight of the reasons I love photography.

When you’ve finished reading the article, please use the comments section to share what you love about photography.

You have the opportunity to capture some really awesome images

As a photographer you not only have the opportunity to see some incredible sights as you move through your life, you also are able to chronicle the sight by capturing an image of it. In addition to being able to visit this beautiful lake in the Italian Alps, the photographer captured an image that he can visit whenever he wants. He can also share the image with others to show them what he saw. A picture truely can be worth a thousand words.

Photography is a great way to meet new people

Waiting for Old Faithful

Go someplace where there are a lot of people around and where you won’t be hassled by that segment of society that is convinced that unless you’re taking a photo of someone you know, photography in public is somehow illegal. I’m sure you know the kind I’m talking about. National and state parks, wildlife refuges, city parks, sporting events, etc., come to mind. The image above is the crowd waiting for Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. Set up your tripod with your camera and the longest lens you have mounted on it and start taking photos. I’ve had some great conversations with total strangers by doing this. If you haven’t before, try it. You might be amazed at how much fun it is.

Photography is full of surprises

110409_SRP5D_-110409_untitled_-_MG_0869 Egret with fish

I’ve written before that if you see a great shot in your viewfinder, you just missed a great shot. The corollary is also true – sometimes you get a great shot you never saw in the view finder. Last Saturday I was at the Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, FL, and just for fun about 45 minutes after sunrise I was shooting directly toward the sun to capture silhouettes of this reddish egret. In truth I wasn’t very interested in capturing silhouettes and was shooting from the car instead of getting out and setting up with my tripod. After snapping off 5 images I put my camera down and drove away. Image my surprise when I downloaded the images of the day onto my computer and found this one of the egret, beak open, fish suspended between the top and bottom parts of the beak. What happened was at the moment I pressed the shutter release the egret tossed the fish to orient the head towards the egret’s throat so the fish could be swallowed. Look closely and you’ll see two water droplets also suspended between the top and bottom part of the beak. Had I seen that through the viewfinder, I would have missed it completely. Lucky, yes, but what a nice surprise.

It stays with you

Small DSLR

Elephant Rocks State Park

Photography is like riding a bicycle, once you learn the basics of photography, they stay with you. In the early 90’s I became disenchanted with photography for a number of reasons which could be an article by themselves. From then until January of last year I used various point & shoot cameras to capture the moments I wanted. In January 2010 I purchased my first DSLR. The learning curve was about the camera, digital photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. I already knew, and remembered, composition, lighting, reciprocity and all the other skills and techniques that haven’t change in a hundred years. There are still things to learn about photography but what I know has stayed with me over the years.

It’s a great way to spend free time

Uncertain

If you’re reading this article then you’re a photographer on some level and if you’re a photographer it’s because you want to be. Which is a better way to spend a Saturday, watching the 47th baseball game of a 162 game season on TV or using your photography equipment taking photos and improving your skills? Yes, I do watch a baseball game from time to time and there are some football games I wouldn’t miss for the world, but on more than one occasion I’ve recorded the game to watch later and used the daylight hours with my camera.

Toys and more toys

Think Tank inside

My wife likes to say that the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. The old adage fits for women and girls as well. Yes, photography is expensive if you want it to be. I keep a wish list that will always have equipment on it and not everything on the list costs over $1,000. However, there is a certain thrill with opening a box of new equipment whether it’s a new memory card or a new camera body. Remember, whoever has the most toys when they die, wins.

You get to bask in the praise of others

Great Spangled

When you take a really good shot you get to show it to all your friends and acquaintances if you choose. I’ve never failed to receive positive reinforcement in return. Yes, they will sometimes respond with a question like, “Wow, that’s really good. What kind of camera do you have?” as if the camera was the only reason the image is really good. I’ve found that if you simply answer the question they will usually respond with a compliment about the photo. Besides, you know that they know that it’s an image they can’t capture.

You can easily change the way the photo looks


Back in the old slide film days if the image wasn’t quite right of if the colors or exposure was incorrect the slide went into the trash. Today, it’s amazing what you can do with an image in Photoshop and Lightroom. I’ve rescued more than one image that would have gone to the landfill had it been a 35mm slide. In fact, I’ve even rescued some old slides that weren’t quite right and I kept anyway – scan the slide, manipulate the image and voila.

These are only eight reasons. I know there are more. Now it’s your turn. Use the comments below to tell us reasons why you love photography.

Photo Credits:
Blue Lake by Wagman_30 on Flickr Commons
Waiting for Old Faithful by nicholasngkw on Flickr Commons
Egret with Fish by Steve Russell9 on Flickr
Small DSLR by jónr on Flickr Commons
Elephant Rocks State Park by fotobydave on Flickr Commons
Uncertain by Brian Auer on Flickr Commons
Camera Bag and Equipment by Steve Russell9 on Flickr
Great Spangled by Property#1 on Flickr Commons
Tree in Snow – Underexposed by Steve Russell9 on Flickr
Tree in Snow-Exposure Corrected by Steve Russell9 on Flickr

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  • http://bracketedphoto.tumblr.com/ Mark Braithwaite

    Great post. Definitely agree on the ‘surprises’ aspect. I was out taking some photos on Saturday and took a snap of a daffodil which in itself isn’t too amazing a photo. However as I took the shot a fly landed on one of the petals. I saw this on the screen and thought, OK, that makes it a bit more interesting. But when I was running it through aperture and doing a quick sharpness adjustment I noticed that just peeping out of the main part of the flower head was a spider, clearly attracted by fly landing. It’s VERY difficult to see unless you zoom in, but has made that photo about a million times more interesting now! http://www.flickr.com/photos/markbrai/5609346549/

  • Erica Eaton

    Well said, one of the things I love most about photography is that it can be a great family activity!! Taking a trip to an amazing photographic site is a lot more fun when you have you spouse and kids in tow. I have taken some amazing family photos completely by accident, purely because I was enjoying that magical moment with my camera in my hands.

  • http://www.photographymadesimple.co.uk Mihai Rosu

    Hi, i wanna thank you for this post.For me, taking pictures it’s like driving my car. I forget everything, my mind becomes much clearly, and you don’t need to be far away from your family, that’s of course if that is your job.

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