Anyone who has been following my blog or another social media stream of mine could probably guess my photography passions. I am pretty literal. 🙂
I first want to state, digital photography renewed my passion 10 years ago when I got my first digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 995. It taught me the joys of being able to control the whole process of picture taking from the shutter click to the final product. It also was frustrating being a Point and Shoot camera in that the shutter lagged so much, I could not use it for action photography.
Thus, when the 995 stopped working, I found I could afford a used Nikon D70 digital SLR camera and I fell in love all over again. This was the type of camera I had been waiting for. Ah, you young guns out there, you are living in a golden era of photography. I hope you can appreciate it.
Wildlife is what gets my heart racing. Photographing a wild creature in their habitat is the most exhilarating photographic experience I know of. Even as a kid, using a Kodak Instamatic (a misnomer if there ever was one), I would try and photograph birds and small mammals. I do like photographing natural landscapes, waterfalls and other scenics, too.
A few months after graduating with a degree in Forest & Wildlife Biology back in 1981, I did an internship at Olympic National Park in the state of Washington. One day, I took a hike up above the treeline and walked into a herd of Mountain Goats browsing on the hearty plants, mosses and lichens of the Olympic Mountains. I spent a couple of peaceful hours enjoying their company and, using equipment by today’s standards would seem archaic, photographed, watched and learned from them. It was this experience which cemented my desire to continue to document the lives of wildlife.
The photo is a scan of one of the Kodak Ektachrome slides I still have from my internship. The colors were a bit faded so I punched them up some. I hope to someday revisit the Olympics again with better equipment and much better knowledge than I had back then.
Something I learned over the years of wasting my time in places waiting for wildlife to come to me is to research where the wildlife one wants to photograph are. There are many guides which give you information for when and where bald eagles congregate each year for instance. I now know where migrating Snow Geese layover near where I live.
Better equipment and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens gave me the confidence to try my hand at another personal passion of mine: Sports. I stopped playing team sports like ice hockey, baseball and football years ago. I knew I could stay in the game if I learned how to photograph those sports.
It has taken a lot of exposures and an investment in better cameras to get there. Today, I enjoy photographing both professional and amateur sporting events around Syracuse. Have gotten to know and appreciate the sports and athletes even more in the process.
Travel photography has always been a passion of mine. I have boxes and boxes of 4″ x 6″ prints and 35mm slides which need to be digitized of past travel adventures. My first trip with the Nikon D70 was to visit my daughter in Bath, England. She was doing a college semester abroad. It was the trip which really sold me on digital photography. The freedom from film let me use variable ISOs. Allowing me to photograph in bright Sun outside and dark rooms inside automatically.
I have since enjoyed photographing destinations all over the United States and, yes, Walt Disney World, too. You could say Disney is a subset of my Travel photography passion.
People are fascinating to photograph. Did you know I first started out as a Portrait and Wedding photographer? I loved it but was not very good at the business end of it. I am much better at stock and general event photography.
Does not mean I stopped taking photos of people. I think I do it more now than ever. Except I do it at festivals, fairs, themeparks, parks, beaches, cities, streets, sporting events (fans) and anyplace I come across interesting people.
All of these photography passions of mine have brought me great joy, helped me grow as an artist and a person and opened up opportunities I only dreamed about when I got my first SLR camera as a present from my parents at the age of 16. It has been a great ride and I have much more to do and photograph. Hope you will come along with me as I continue to share my passions here.
This is my contribution to Assignment 25: Your Photography Passion. Click the link to see other photographers and people share their passions both in life and photography.