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(Just) a bit about me

Published June 19th, 2011

Let me start off by first saying, thank you for stopping by my little corner of the internet, and secondly for pulling up a chair long enough to read what I have written here. If any of you are familiar with my Flickr stream, then I am sure you are aware of the fact that I am about as prolific a writer as a photographer. This tendency of mine is sometimes a good thing I think, and sometimes not. Let us hope for the former because I have a lot that I would like to be able to say. But for today I figured, as way of an introduction, I would tell you a few important things about me and my beliefs in photography.

I have been seriously dedicated to photography since 2002 when a Pentax K1000 made its way into my hands and almost did not escape again. Not long after that I bought my first “real” camera, a Nikon FM2. My family of cameras has grown much since that first Nikon over the years, but that FM2 is still going strong.

Even though my current range of cameras are all film, and I have never actually owned a digital camera, I put very little stock into the film vs. digital argument, a debate that has quickly wound down over the years. Suffice it to say, that a camera is a camera. The most important parts of photography happen behind the camera, not in it. Those who remember this become better photographers than those who place more faith in the equipment they are holding than in themselves.

I would not mind carrying that belief a step further too, and say that what happens behind the camera is even more important than what is going on in front of the camera. I say this to remind people that pictures are everywhere. They are on exotic beaches in foreign countries certainly, but they are also in the bus stop just down the street. They exist at high noon on sunny days as well as during those amazing sunsets and sunrises. Magic hours occupy two to three hours of each day, this still leaves over 20 hours of perfectly good shooting.

Many of us realize that light is an essential part of photography. Without it, we cannot make photographs. There is another important ingredient though, and that is vision. I am not talking strictly about eyesight, as it is possible even for the blind to make photographs. What I am referring to is that magical combination imagination and willingness to really look at the world around us. Combine that with the technical prowess to operate the camera and you have a potent formula that will produce {insert appropriate adjective here} photographs regardless of setting, weather, light, time of day, and so on.

Which brings me to talent. I do not put much stock in talent. I realize that some are naturally more adept at certain activities than others, they grasp concepts quicker and learn faster. But talent is no replacement for dedication, persistence and passion. Those three traits will trump talent any day of the year. What is more, none of us picked up a camera for the first time and immediately started making world famous images. We all started out stumbling and feeling our way in the dark. Some of us are humble enough to admit to this, some of us are not, but we were all there at one point. Those that have succeeded at this art have done so because they had the passion to invest themselves in it and the dedication and persistence to do so for very long spans of times, often a lifetime.

I will most likely expand on some of these threads in later posts, at least I hope to be able to do so. For today though I had better wrap this up, and I would like to do so by answering a few of the recent questions I have fielded in the past week.

What advice do you have for a beginning photographer to get better?

Carry your camera with you everywhere. Never leave it at home, it ought to always be on your shoulder, for a number of reasons. Mainly, if you do not have your camera, then you cannot take pictures, and if you are not taking pictures then you are not practicing, and it is difficult to get better at something without practicing it. Besides, the best way to guarantee that you will see amazing pictures to be taken is to go somewhere without a camera.

Do you think digital cameras have taken the art out of photography?

No. Photographers make the decisions on how to use their equipment, not the equipment itself. A camera is merely a tool: a lifeless and soulless box of plastic, metal and glass. Never mind that defining how a camera can be used in a less artistic fashion is a tricky endeavor, but assuming that we did, I think we would find that those photographers who did so with digital cameras would be just as likely to do so with practically any other camera.

Is Zeb your real name?

Yes. Maybe if you get to know me well enough one day I will tell you the rest of the story behind it…maybe.

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KRowland Pictures  about 7 years ago

Thanks Zeb, you are an encouragement to those of us who keep trying to get better. Welcome to 500px, I hope to stay here awhile. It fills out niche. I will follow you here on 500px, not only for your photos, but your blog. (Hoping that 500px will add the new blog posts from friends to our notifications.)