Sunday, August 31, 2014

Being into photography

This isn't the typical "What I'm Into" post with a variety of topics. There was one thing that stood out for me in August: photography. It took over my thoughts, evenings, weekends and often my nights when I'd obsessively plan things in my mind, resulting in not enough sleep.

Early in the month I was taking drives through new neighborhoods, pulling over to take pictures. Then I was stopping by gardens after work and on weekends. One weekend I went to the wildlife refuge on both Saturday and Sunday. At home I was making messes with my photo experimentation of droplets, scrapbook paper and store-bought flowers. And I think my neighbors probably think of me as, "that weird girl who's always standing in that corner of the lake with her camera," after all the time I spent trying to get good dragonfly photos. I "pinterested" ideas (always a very humbling experience) and read editing tutorials to work on taking my photos to the next level. I experienced a range of emotions and thoughts related to photography and my pictures. In more dramatic moments, I wished I could start over again and delete everything I've ever showed anyone, because it was "all wrong." And of course I sometimes got caught up in whiny thoughts about needing to upgrade my photography equipment, as if I can blame it entirely for holding me back.

It seemed like the more I photographed, the more I wanted to try and retry in order to get the pictures I was after. In some cases, I got close to what I wanted, but in others I was still disappointed. And then I felt ungrateful for always wanting something better.

Being consumed by photography is both thrilling and tiresome. I was glad to make the most of the last part of summer, but sometimes I felt conflicted by "What's the point of all this?" thoughts. I have hundreds of photos to show for my time, but most will never actually be posted/seen. A friend of mine reminded me that every photo I take is practice and helps me be better, which is a great point. ("But then what?" my argumentative mind thinks.) They do serve that purpose, even if now they are just taking up space on my computer. I try to be liberal in deleting, but there's always the, "What if" aspect of pictures that makes me keep several--maybe I will wish I had documentation of certain flowers, for instance. You know, if I ever decide to create my own little photo directory. :)

Or maybe I'll be asked to post my photos in a gallery, and I will want to have several options to choose from. And that's exactly what has happened--my boss asked me to be the October "artist" (I never think of myself as an artist) for our little gallery at work. This will be my third time. At first, despite being very flattered, I was uncomfortable and hesitant to accept. I worry that maybe I'm taking the opportunity away from someone much more deserving. I worry that people will look at my photos and go, "Eh...I don't get why her stuff is here again. There's way better stuff out there." Because I think that all the time! And that's probably not cool of me to say here in the public, because it's likely smarter (in a business sense) to sound all confident and together about my photography. Well, I can be very insecure about it when it comes to more official ways of presenting it. And I'm not fishing for compliments and reassurance--not at all. I'm just expressing how I feel and how I'm sure a lot of people feel about whatever it is they spend their time on, whether it's cooking, writing, parenting, sewing or coding new programs. And the internet can be such a double-edged sword in this respect, because we have this HUGE pile of resources to help us learn, but then we are also exposed to so many people doing the same thing and seemingly doing it better (and often at a younger age and with less practice). It's hard not to compare.

Anyway, this is WAY more texty than I intended, but I'm leaving it. The photos contained here were all taken this past month, though I'm intentionally leaving out some of my finalists for the gallery. Might as well keep some things a surprise, if any of you happen to see it.

How about you--did you have any overarching themes in your August?


  1. Part of the reason for keeping all of these photos: because it can bring back such good happy memories of the days spent taking them. When I see photos that you have taken while we were out together it makes me happy, it captures the moments!

    I think it's super cool that your gallery month is also your birthday month! It makes it even more special.

    My August was consumed with doctors appointments and trying to get work done while being away from work so much. It was stressful, but I'm happy that it's coming to an end.

    I'm glad that you were able to get out so many times this month to take photos, and that the weather was good. 😄

    1. True, Dania--one thing I neglected to mention is that I get a lot of enjoyment taking pictures, even if most just get filed away after that. And later it is fun to peruse a few and remember happy times. I'm very glad I can give other people with me a record of those times, too!

      I agree--I'm happy it's an October gallery. :D It feels festive.

      I'm so happy it's coming to an end, too! What a tiresome August for you. :| Here's to September: *clink*!

  2. I know that you are not fishing for compliments. I know, too, that you think that I am prejudice because I am your mom, but this last set of photographs left me breathless and teary-eyed at the same time!

    You are an artist even if you don't think so. You capture beauty in everything. You see beauty in some things that others do not, then you show it to us. You are, also, a perfectionist. Perfectionists are not perfect; they aspire to be perfect, but nobody is perfect. So that is what makes you frustrated.

    I am proud of your drive to experiment with your photography, always learning. Enjoy it ! That trait is definitely to be admired. I love your photography. I, also, agree with daniak that some of your photos can be very poignant for others.

    Don't delete all of your photos, even if you think you are hording. Your hording is much better than my sewing room.

    Thank you, love, Mom

    1. Haha.. yes, I do think you are biased. :D But I very much appreciate your comment and you in general. Thank you. :)

      I really do need to go through and get rid of some old photos, but it's an overwhelming task. I think I've improved on narrowing down while I'm going through the editing process, but I still have a LOT of photos of a very similar scene because it's hard to choose which one to show.

    2. Wow, what a great comment! I feel the same way, well put.

    3. Well I'm glad you're into photography. You've shown me a lot of amazing things through photos, and I've learned a ton just by looking at the shots you've taken and through what you've talked about, I'm also glad you were really fired up to take photos in August; I hope to always see more of your work!

  3. Art is a harsh mistress. I see your pictures and try not to get discouraged (because you're light-years better than I am since I'm still so new), but that's how it is with any art. I write and get discouraged because everything I want to say has already been said and in so many better ways than I could ever say it. But you have to pick yourself up, pick up that pen (or camera or paintbrush or instrument) and try again. You have to think of a new way to see the world and try to give your perspective to the world. And your right, with every picture (or word or brushstroke) you are improving. I bet you can look back over the years and see how you've grown.

  4. A) your photos are almost all better than mine except when I accidentally take a good one, B) the point of all these photos is to increase your ability, but also fill your spare moments appreciating beauty and doing something you love. It's rare for some people to get the time to do what they enjoy most. I love your willingness to share your photo journey.



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