Sunday, June 7, 2009


This photo blog has been a very interesting experience. It has lead to some personnel growth and has taught me some unlikely lessons. I'm an engineer by trade and thus have spent years exercising left-brain activities (heck, I use a spreadsheet to plan vacations!). I've never considered myself an artist. Photography started as a hobby for me, a way to record memories. It was never meant to make art. So, I was so surprised and pleased on that day that a film developer asked to display one of my photos on their wall. What a kick! Still, coming back from a vacation and having a $200-$300 bill to develop all the film lead me to eventually start to leave the camera in the closet.

I decided to start the blog last year, after I took the plunge and bought a digital SLR. I reckoned that it would be a good way to journal my attempt to becoming a better photographer, and to share stuff with friends and family. I certainly did not expect other people to read it!

I was looking for feedback when I started posting photos in public areas. It was a bit frightening when I first did. I was hoping for constructive criticism, but fearing ridicule or, worse, disinterest. I was ecstatic when I received some criticism. I learned a lot from it. The linked post is a result of that.

Then, I discovered the concept of photo memes. For awhile, I just lurked. There are so many people out there with interesting stories, beautiful poems, and gorgeous photos! I learned lot by lurking. When I stopped lurking and decided to contribute to a meme, I was, again, full of trepidation. But the response to my first post was, to me, overwhelming.

That’s when I learned that having a audience is fun. I’ve never liked being a center of attention, so, this surprised me! However, I also found that this brought with it a certain amount of pressure. After that first post to Skywatch Friday, I wondered what I’d post next. Looking through my collection, I saw nothing that I thought was as good as that one. I felt pressure to perform well. I’ve used that perceived pressure as a goad to get out and take a lot pictures, try need styles of shots (portraits, for example) and new techniques. I believe that I am a much better photographer than I was 10 months ago when I started the blog.

This, finally, brings me to this photo. A few days ago, I posted a photo. In that post, I mentioned that I took another that is one of my favorites, and that I’d post it today. The response to that was amazing. Now I’m obliged to post this one. What’s interesting is that in the past, I’d be nervous about the implied expectations, now, not so much. If nobody else likes it, I still like it, and I guess that’s what really matters. But, all you readers have helped me to gain some confidence in “my art”. I don’t yet consider myself an artist, but perhaps, I’m getting closer. Thank you all very much!

About this image: I saw the rays of the setting sun striking the tops of the grass and saw a cool photo. I took a number of shots, different compositions, and camera settings, etc. One of them I took with a slower shutter speed to capture the waving of the grass. I got the blurring of the grass in the foreground, but it didn' look right. But I still liked to overall image. So, I applied the Orton Effect which softens the overall focus. In the end, the result of that helped the image convey what I felt when I was standing there.

Sorry for the long post - I didn't expect that when I started writing :)

Be sure to visit Scenic Sundays or other great scenes.


Anonymous said...

Your photos are gorgeous & I love the different effects you experiment with. I'm not a photographer, so I don't know how much my opinion matters, but I sure enjoy visiting & can't wait for your page to load to see what you've posted.

When I click on the links you have in your paragraphs, it says there's an error loading page. I don't know if it's on my end or yours, but thought I'd let you know.

Thanks for starting your blog & posting your photos - I sincerely enjoy them!

Russ said...

Thank you Tricia for your kind words.

BTW - I did fix the links. Weird, the raw text looked good, but something got corrupted.

JPT said...

That's a great image - stunning colours.

Ian Bines Design-Photography said...

thanks for visiting my blog, the building you were asking about is called the guerkin building. its in the city were all the bankers and alike work...

Karen said...

I started my blog so that my daughter in law, who is from England, would be able to get to know our family before she actually met us when she and my son came to the United States. When strangers started commenting on it, it was a real surprise to me, so I know exactly how you feel.

Your photos are amazing, and beautiful. keep that camera with you all the time. I have found that I miss lots of opportunities every time I leave mine at home.

The Explorer said...

I appreciate the story. I think most of us have the same experience, maybe we have some different objectives when we are capturing images or capturing a moments. And when we do blog, it is really felt good that other people appreciate it. You have a great blog and your photos are one of a kind. I really appreciate your photos here, even I am not in your place, I was given a chance to have a glimpse of it.

Las Islas Filipinas World

floreta said...

wow this shot is simply amazing! i love all the layers in this piece.. lots of depth.

EstherK said...

Your story is very inspiring, Russ! And this photo is amazing. I do wonder sometimes why I blog, who's going to look at my pictures when there are SO MANY photo enthusiasts out there - but then, the sharing of my world gives pleasure back to me - and when just one or two friends show their appreciation, it makes it all worthwhile! Thank you for the story AND your photos!

ms toast burner said...

An interesting and thought-provoking post, Russ.

What you wrote about being very left-brained in your approach and not really considering your photography as art (or as art, yet) is interesting. I have no problem in seeing the artistic aspect of your photography at all. It's very evident to me.

Me, I'm all right-brained and that's my sticking point. The teckie bits of photography are limiting my expression. Learning about aperture, depth of field, exposure etc intimidates me. I have a couple of blog entries about my trying to understand these things that I haven't published because I'm 'full of trepidation' about that!

I'm very surprised that you were nervous about posting your photos as well but that's a very useful and inspiring nugget of info for me. Thanks, it's made me question myself!

Bryan said...

I've enjoyed your photographs since that first Skywatch post. I just finished studying engineering (electrical) in college, so I likely approach photography fairly similarly to you. The difference is that you have years of experience with both film and digital processes. By the time I've been shooting as long as you have, I hope that I also am shooting as well.

Russ said...

Thank you everyone! Its been an interesting journey. I enjoy perusing all the various blogs that I follow. The far off strange places, the nearby semi-familiar places, the interesting different points of view, the different styles, the different subject have all taught me *stuff* :)

Ms toast burner - you should post them. you'll get help whether you want it or not ;) geeks like me always like to share

Bryan - congrats on the EE, I was EE/CE (computer). I think digital to film photography is a lot like on-line poker to live poker. With on-line poker you can play lots of hands in a short period and do it easy and often. You gain experience a lot faster than some only playing live poke 20 yrs ago.

Digital photography is the same - you get a lot more experience and instant feedback because digital is faster/easier/cheaper than film processing.