Updated: Jan 10
Photography isn't entirely a new thing for me. In my 20s, while guiding fishing trips in the arctic, I had my Dad's camera in the boat at all times. It was loaded with slide film and fitted with a polarizing filter on the kit lens. Today, I own a couple of cameras, including the one on my phone. What is new to me today is performing photography well, or at least attempting to do it well.
I am by no means an expert in outdoor photography, however, I thoroughly enjoy the learning curve of a modern DSLR camera that keeps my brain active most of the time that I am using it. There are so many skills involved in composition, lighting, focus, and the camera settings themselves. In the beginning, it is a little daunting and I still make many mistakes. Little by little, however, it becomes methodic and natural. The camera becomes familiar and together, man and machine are able to perform some pretty cool visual art together.
There is also an added component of the photography hobby these days, post-editing photos. This is almost another art form in itself. Previously, the ability to edit photos after the camera clicked was severely limited. You would compose the photo in the viewfinder, make the camera settings appropriately, and press the shutter button. Then you had to take the film to the photography shop and wait for it to be developed.
Software is inexpensive and the results of post-editing photographs can be startling. Startlingly bad or good! Another advantage of photography today is the volume of learning opportunities on platforms such as Youtube. The hobby has really evolved in a short amount of time, and it is so enjoyable to me as an art form. Right now, my favourite photo editing software is an app on my iPhone. Snapseed. This app is free and very powerful. There are a ton of tips and tutorials on its use here on youtube. My son Garreth uses more expensive image editing software. Kevin too.
Photos, done well, with good equipment, add a significant layer of emotion to my outdoor activities. A quick snap with the iPhone almost never elicits the same feelings as some of the photos taken with either Kevin or my own Canon cameras.
The photo on the right (above if you’re reading this on your phone) was taken last fall after I shot my whitetail fawn on a grey November morning. Kevin arrived a little later and he took many photos. Some of those photos are joyful and lighthearted, and some are introspective of the event. This photo though. This one gives me emotion when I look at it months after the fact. I was alone, I had been successful in the hunt. It was quiet, cold and I was full of emotion. The depth of field and colour invoke feelings in me that would've been lost had I simply taken the grip n grin selfie. It isn't a perfect photo either, but it doesn't need to be. A photo like this simply would not exist in my possession had I not started down the photo