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Old May 8, 2007, 8:20 AM   #1
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Such a simple question, but there's probably as many answers as there are people who own cameras.

Related question - What do your pictures say?

Most of my favorite pictures end up as my desktop/screen saver. Friday I was doing a fairly important but mindless task that didn't involve the computer. I'd occasionally look over at my monitor to see the (seemingly) endless photos floating across it. It suddenly occurred to me what my pictures actually showed, versus what I THOUGHT I was "saying" when I took them. It got me thinking about why I continue to have such fun taking pictures and which ones I really like.

I take lots of macros (mostly flowers), landscapes, details, and travel photos. When I was taking the pictures, I was just snapping things that caught my eye - whether it is a world-class scenery (such as Half Dome at sunset taken from Glacier Point), or something small (the color of an old lock on an ivy covered fence and gate). So I thought of my pictures as a way of recording the world around me.

There are several thousand pictures on my work computer, not all very good but for some reason they appeal to me. Watching them parade across the monitor was not watching my world (freeway traffic jams, people everywhere, paper and more paper) but rather it was a fantasy world. Macros are a different way of looking at the world, not what you normally see. My landscapes and flowers, even the few birds I take,are not a reflection of city life, but rather an idyllic, fantasy, quirkyworld, how I would like my world to be (probably why I love Rick's fog pictures so much). I look at little things, the details in a scene, which is why I use long telephoto lenses for my landscapes more than wide angle (though I'm discovering better ways of using a wide angle, slowly).

It was a big revelation to me to discover that I wasn't recording reality at all - I was developing a fantasy world to escape to. Many of the pictures I really like here follow the same theme - it's something unusual.

I'm not trying to say that's the only reason for taking pictures. A friend of mine is more the photo-journalist type and doesn't "get" my fantasy shots. All his pictures tell stories, they are action oriented. They are outstanding also, just different from mine.

So why do you take pictures, and do your pictures really reflect what you think you are taking, or do they say something else entirely?
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Old May 8, 2007, 9:10 AM   #2
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Why take pictures?? I never tougth so much about it really. I like to think I document my time here on earth. I work in the trade of photography and have since early eightees taken a camera with me and been a happy snapper. Family photos of course is important to me. Nature photos (landscapes, macros, animals) I take because it gives me pleasure to be out looking for THE motive. I just love to take photos and a day without it, well... I do not think my images will survive for decades after I`m gone, but hope my children will take care of some just as a timecapsule. I do not have an agenda when I`m shooting, just looking for a nice subject.

Photography is fun and atleast I find pleasure in trying to improve me self. Some photos are for decorateing my living room and some for the family album.


ps and some are for this forum:-)
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Old May 8, 2007, 10:12 AM   #3
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True story

My family was on vacation in a camp ground at Mertel Beach I was 12, an awkward age. Spent most of my time with nothing to do. Then one day, in desperation to get me out of the camp site. my mother handed me the family camera, an intamatic. And told me to go take a picture of the beach. 20 minute later I returned and ask for money to go buy more film.

I was hooked. Looking at the world through that cheap plastic view finder was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

Then it got even better. My pictures stunk. How was that better? Every thing I had ever tried to do before that day. Some one in my family tried to teach me. But no one knew anything about photography. I was free to do it my way. I read and I practiced I tried new things. Everything I ever learned how to do well I taught myself.
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Old May 8, 2007, 10:50 AM   #4
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i never liked taking photos before !!!! i started scrapbooking about 2 years ago and needed photos. turn out i enjoyed taking photos more than scrapbooking.

i only like taking pictures of people. every time i have taken pictures of things or animals that are not pets, they never even made it to my computer even if some of them probably was my best shots.
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Old May 8, 2007, 11:22 AM   #5
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Why I take photo's,

Because photography has simply changed the way I look at the world.

A bold statement maybe that I can only explain with some examples.

a few years ago I sometimes saw a bird, now I'm seeing many more. When walking with friends I'm the dopey one that cries out "did you see that kingfisher, theres an European jay, look a heron" ... (always regretting not having my camera with me) ...then they smile and I don't know what they think, but frankly I don't care. Why do I see them because I started looking for them to get pictures of them.

getting a macro shot of some lichen that turns out to look as an underwater scene.

just going hunting for a shot of a flying bird, the fun, the result, ...

or just the fun of getting crisp sharp photo's

and as the icing on the cake seeing the world through the eyes of other photographers - meaning you guys and girls - and adding to that view.


and Harriet they do create a world for me
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Old May 8, 2007, 1:04 PM   #6
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I came across it purely out of boredom only four years ago. That is when I started to get serious about it and came across this board. I learned alot starting in the Panasonic forum and when I decided to go with a DSLR I chose the Pentax ist DS. The forum here was no where near the participation it has now and it quite much like the Panasonic board.

Before any of that the extent of what I knew was a 110 camera. Minolta with telezoom. I thought that was the best. I was in my mid-twenties then and I just was a snap happy kind of guy. No idea of anything but to put it in the viewfinder and snap the picture. I did have the short lived disc camera and thought that was the end all be all. After it fizzled out my interest in taking pictures went on hiatus for almost twenty years.

Now for me it is to capture a moment that is seen by me and conveyed to others in the same way I saw it. I traveled alot with my job and had many interesting places to take pictures. Now I am just putzing around with the occasional wedding and just about any sports event and of course, my dog.

I see so many things now that had me wish I had my camera to capture that moment and it has slowed me down to enjoy the time I have while I am here and able.

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Old May 8, 2007, 1:35 PM   #7
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Hi Harriet,

Ronny's and your answers pretty much mirror my experience. I see things differently, noticing more of the detail of my surroundings. I may not have the "eye" for shooting inanimate objects, people, and landscapes that some here have (and I AM jealous), but my relatively small world is much more detailed and rich now than it was during the period after I abandoned film and before I adopted digital photography.

I hate to admit it (not really, but it sounds good), but Pentax DSLR digital photography also satisfies what some may consider a character flaw -- I'm generically a "gearhead", fascinated with precision machines and electronic gadgets. In the past, and for some -- still, I've satisfied this "need" with motorcyles (when they were much more affordable, and I was much more physically capable), watches, high-end fishing gear, computers/software, and guitars.

Photography is also an important part of maintaining my health. It motivates me to go out and keep active. I have a disabling heart condition, and without the motivation to find the next of my feathered subjects, I believe my situation would deteriorate significantly. Because these guys aren't always very cooperative, I'm constantly being pushed to do more to get the shots that I want.

Photography fills out and extends my life. . . things just don't get much better than that (it could be a bit less expensive tho. . .:-))


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Old May 8, 2007, 2:22 PM   #8
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Interesting question thanks for the post.

1. It lets me be in the outdoors year-a-round.

2. I get a lot of enjoyment out of sharing my wildlife hunts, especially with people that don't have the opportunity to do it themselves. It also is a feel good thing when people appreciate your work and ask questions.

3. Adds a few bucks to the bank account.

I think my photos help me tell wildlife stories.

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Old May 8, 2007, 7:45 PM   #9
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Harriet, thank you for posing such an interesting topic! I have inadvertently been thinking about this very subject. I was thinking about my high school years & "what I was going to do with my life" I never had the insight that most do. I went to junior college for law enforcement & when I got through it, I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do. So, I continued through life & its experiences always searching for that niche, just going where my life's path seemed to take me. Riding the wave if you will. Sometimes, enjoying its view & others hitting the reefs. Never realizing that I always had an interest in snapping pix.

Then one evening, almost 5 years ago,my sister asked me if I would intested in splitting the cost of a zx-7 with her. It was like a switch was turned on & a new world was opened up. The ordinary suddenly had life & color. Structures now had character & distinction. Childrens' smiles seem to light up the day. The delicate veins of a tulip petal look larger than life.

Rather than telling a story or making a statement or creating a fantasy world, I think that I am just recording an instant when everything is right in my world & as long asI do, that instant will ripple through my day.It is just so relaxing to be outside, at a place of my choice, doing what I really enjoy & consequently feeling that I have a control of that wave... so to speak. As I really have no formal training (other than basic ), so myshotsseem to happen haphazardly (at least to me) but none the less, I do enjoy them & the learning process that doesoccur along the way. I just hope for now that SOMEDAY, I will find a program, class orother mentor that will help me formalize my thought process & make it stick in my pea brain.:GUntil that miracle day happens, I will continue to be appreciative of you fine folks on this wonderful forum!

Thanks again, Harriet!


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Old May 8, 2007, 9:16 PM   #10
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This is a neat thread, good post Harriet. Prior to digital cameras we had a Canon point and shoot 35mm. We used four or five rolls of film on vacation, one roll at Christmas, and, aside from those events, a roll or two of film would last a year. I have always loved computers and when digital cameras became affordable we went through a few of those but weused them in exactly the same way, recording special events and other than that, they gathered dust.

My wife is into scrapbooking and she wanted a better camera than her current Kodak point and shoot. I am the family "researcher" so I had to figure out what type of camera would suit her and which one to buy. As part of my research I ended up checking out this forum and some of the amazing photos that were being posted. From that point on I was hooked. I love learning new things (my retirement dream involves finding the right college town and taking classes for the rest of my life) and I began devouring everything I could on the subject of photography.

As to WHY I take the photos, I don't think there is any reason aside from the challenge of getting that particular shot right, and then the next one, and then the next one. It is much like target shooting to me: a perfectly composed and focused shot is a bullseye. Whatever I am taking pictures of, I want to capture an image that is better than any other image I have already taken. Maybe the best way I could put it is "I take pictures so I can learn how to take better pictures."

The *side effect* of photography for me is much like some others have described though. I pay much more attention to the world around me. I pay serious attention to things like bugs, sunsets, Osprey nests (there are at least two dozen nests I have counted within ten miles of my house) etc, etc. I also notice things that I would have completely missed like how light changes and plays on objects. And by hanging out here and checking out pictures taken by other people, I have learned so much about clouds, animals, science, and, of course, photography.


PS: In case you are wondering, every once in awhile, if she promises to be careful, I let my wife play with "her" K100d.

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