I need practice

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This morning when I left my apartment to make a trip to Naples to visit my parents, I stuffed my Nikon D5000 (my camera) and my laptop into my backpack. I haven’t used my camera much lately and have only been taking photos with my iPhone. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve become a firm believer in what Chase Jarvis says, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” In other words, don’t worry about the tools, just create, just tell stories.

However, I also understand that truly learning how to use my DSLR and learning how to use editing software (I recently purchased Lightroom) will allow me to make more dynamic, more interesting photos. It will allow me to tell more compelling stories.

I have owned this camera for six or seven years now and I have tried a few times to learn how to use. I’ve watched who knows how many YouTube videos, I took a photography class through adult ed, and I’ve taken a whole lot of bad photos.

One of my quest in this project to make something every day is to learn more about photography and how to make better pictures. The first step in that process is bringing my camera with me more often and taking more pictures. So that’s what I did today.

When I arrived at Mom and Dad’s, I snapped a few photos of the house I grew up in. On my way back to Portland, I made a detour to Westbrook, through my grandparents’ old neighborhood and stopped at the graffiti wall just off Main Street to capture a few images of that. I also tried to take a few pictures of the setting sun against the blistering white snow.

None of the images are all that good, but today’s session got me thinking about how what I need to do to make better pictures. Learning to use my camera is only half the battle. I need to plan shoots for the best light and learn how to take advantage of whatever light is available. I need to learn to take a little more time to compose photos and not just smash the shutter button whenever the mood strikes. I need to learn what all those settings on my camera actually do.

Most of all, I need to keep taking pictures.

And you know what, I still take better pictures with my iPhone, and that’s perfectly OK.

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