Shoot first, Ask Questions Later
I have to admit that I am essentially backwards when it comes to learning some things. I am reminded of the time, as a young child, I slapped (yes slapped), another kid in the face for pushing a girl down. Then I got my ass kicked by him and his two friends. I didn’t learn my lesson. Years later I told a group of well-known bullies to ‘shut the fuck up’, all because they were insulting my date who had a birthmark covering most of her face. I was chased for miles and only escaped because of my skateboard. Did I learn yet? No. A few years after that I almost got my head smashed in because I told an overly flirtatious man, in front of his wife and friends, to “keep his dirty hands of this woman, because she doesn’t like it”. Come to think of it, I still havent learned my lesson. Don’t get the idea that I am some defender of honor, I just jump on the chance to be an asshole to someone who deserves it. I wish there were more people in the world like that.
Suffice to say I seem to be approaching the same technique with photography. Shoot first, ask questions later. I was raised around the wilderness and in small towns. All of my grandparents were farmers. My father is a forester. So it’s no big leap for me to want to shoot flowers, plants, and nature. How well I do it depends on me. Not having technical training or education in photography combined with my stubborn learning habits makes for a challenging adventure. My first shots were basically visual train wrecks, without the excitement that a train wreck offers.
Now I have to admit that these learning experiences are much more enjoyable than getting punched in the face, chased across town, or threatened with death. Although I am willing to bet my learning curve would be steeper if there was some bodily threat involved for poor composition or over saturated colours. Sounds like a good startup business for me. “Take a good photo or I will kick you in the nuts”.
I have managed to improve my photographs since the time the images above were taken. It has been a year. The improvements are slight. I have a better idea of composition and creating interest. I don’t do as much post production, although occasionally I still draw outside the lines. I even notice the lighting once in a while now, whereas before it was an afterthought.
Getting those images that stand out are still just as exciting as they have always been. Thats the fun of photography. It’s not quite as much of a rush as starting an argument with some douchebag over his treatment of others, but it’s still a helluva lotta fun. I enjoy more aspects to photography now; pre-planning locations, scouting subjects, looking for good light, post-production, and sharing all have some attractions that stem from the process as a whole. These learnable, for me, have come from shooting the photographs and picking them apart when I get home. The next time I go out I have a few ideas I want to try, or a few things I want to avoid. Of course, the best thing is creating some of those photographs that people just like to look at.
So my journey to this point wasn’t without its challenges and disappointments but overall it has been fun. Again, I was never really in this for any other reason than entertainment and a new family friendly addiction / hobby. I still get the urge to poke sleeping bears though, and I just might do that, but with my camera in hand.
Troy Alan White
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