I have taken photographs for as long as I can remember starting out with a 110 when I was a kid, remember those? Though I’ve never had a truly fancy camera I have always enjoyed looking through the lens and trying to capture a bit of the beauty I see all around me. Right now I am mostly using a Nikon Coolpix L820. I appreciate the 30x zoom, the way it captures color and balances light and dark and the fact that it is lightweight so that it doesn’t hurt my neck & back to carry it around. I would be thrilled if there was a way to pack all of those features into a pocket camera which is my preference to carry weight-wise when hiking.
I love digital photography because I can take as many photos as I want without worrying about the cost of film or developing. That way I can take both those shots that I’m pretty sure will come out well and experiment with those that intrigue me but are more likely to be deletes.
I was thinking the other day, what is it about photography that makes me feel so good when I am doing it? This is what I came up with.
Looking through the lenses focuses my attention and tethers me to the here and now. This is powerfully important for someone like me whose brain is almost always stuck in the on position. (Plus its a lot cheaper than therapy and I have something to show for it!)
It helps me to notice the beauty in the mundane.
And it helps me to see the beauty or mystery that is hiding in the ugly
Taking photos helps me to remember what I have seen and experienced.
It helps me to keep loved ones close by documenting our special moments together. The photographs help to tell the story of what I love about them.
Taking photos helps me to look around and see the big picture.
And it helps me to notice beautiful and amazing details.
In other words, taking photos brings me great joy.
How about you? Do you like to take photographs? What do you enjoy about it?
7 thoughts on “Why I take photographs”
I have the same Nikon and what few times I ever use it, I want to slam it against the wall. After seeing your photos, clearly I am incompetent and it’s not the camera.
Awww. So sorry that you are feeling that way when using your camera. I often use it in easy auto mode since that works well for most situations. My second most frequent way to use it is have it in auto mode with the macro turned on. I do sometimes get frustrated when trying to capture macro shots but all in all I really like the auto light balance and how this camera handles bright objects like snow and water. My most frequent “trick” is when taking distance pictures is to partially focus on different parts of the scene before snapping (then turning the camera to frame what I want in the picture)- you will find the camera’s light meter balances differently giving different results – for example bringing out colors in the sky or a reflection. I also have to remember which setting I am on since the telephoto doesn’t work the same if I leave it on auto w macro and then try and get a distance shot. You have a good eye for beauty. Don’t give up!
Cyndi – I like the way you thought about what functions photography plays for you and how it helps you to focus more closely and appreciate more what you are seeing. It is very similar for me too. I also find myself getting into a “zone” where I forget about everything else, even hunger, and just focus on how I can capture what I see.
I love that feeling! Total focus on what I am seeing in the here and now rather than my mind intently thinking about something so that I miss out on what is right in front of me.
And with that comes a sort of “quiet” adrenaline rush. Don’t know any other way to describe it.
I agree – it forces you to focus your attention, so you have to look more deeply at what’s around you that you might do otherwise. I think that alone makes photography worthwhile, even for someone like me who simply takes along a cheap digital camera while hiking or boating.
I totally agree. The photos I get (or don’t get!) are secondary to the experience of seeing and paying attention.