For the past month or so I’ve been on what seems like a sabbatical from life. I have almost entirely stopped watching TV and movies.
Sleep? Ha ha ha ha. I mean, nope. Well, 4 or so hours a night on average.
Camera? Oh, yes.
I’ve always enjoyed photography. At PLU while studying graphic design I took a photography course and fell in love with it—especially the darkroom. I would spend entire days (literally) there getting a print just perfect. While my classmates were using a roll of film or two and ending up with one or two prints I was going through a half-dozen rolls and making dozens of prints. At one point my professor attempted to get me to switch major from design to photography. During the next semesters ended I was sneaking away from other classes (usually art history)and into the darkroom. I loved the process of developing film and making prints. It was cathartic for me.
Unfortunately the darkroom isn’t really a viable option anymore. I can (mostly) however get a similar feeling on the computer. I love learning new techniques for digitally developing my photos in a way very similar to the darkroom techniques I once used. Additionally, I have a familiarity with software that I’ve developed in design that transfers over quite nicely to digital photography. Plus, digital is way cheaper and faster.
Since the beginning of February I’ve been taking pictures—lots of them. When I wasn’t taking pictures I was editing or retouching them. When I wasn’t doing doing either of those I was trying to figure out how to take better pictures. Those hours have easily numbered in he hundreds.
I think it’s started to pay off. At least I hope it has. Though it’s just a start I feel like I’m on my way to building a respectable photography portfolio.
There is a very close relationship, I’ve found between design and photography. Line, composition, color, are all pieces of the visual puzzle that I’ve become familiar with and put to work in my designs. These all apply directly to photography allowing me to feel comfortable jumping from one medium to another. There is one major difference, however—light.
At first I didn’t understand my own deficiency. My compositions were interesting enough (i thought). There was a problem though. I was completely dependent on luck for my light. Whether it was sunny or cloudy I was shooting the same way and ending up with inconsistent results. Inside photos? Forget about it. Completely awful. I had no idea why.
I do now.
I was light-ignorant. I’ve learned so much in the past few months about light. This was my weakness in photography (duh, it’s the main principle that’s different than design). In fact it’s now difficult to look at many of my old images without cringing, in horror that I once thought they were great photos. That’s why I’ve made a point to learn about and understand light and use it to my advantage rather than continue to allow it to be my photographic Achilles heel. While I’m not there yet I can already see a huge improvement and hopefully you can too!