I don't know if I have found my photographic "vision" yet,
but I have definitely found my obsession. For me, it began five years ago when
I bought my first sophisticated 35mm SLR film camera. Before then my photographic
experience had been limited to the typical point-and-shoot family snapshots,
but with this new camera something "clicked" (other than the shutter)
and I suddenly saw a world through the lens that I had never noticed before.
I saw fascinating images that told stories, and I wanted to capture those stories.
To reach that goal I first had to admit that I didn't know an f/stop from
a bus stop! Then, the really big step was to become a serious student of the
craft in hopes of one day also becoming an artist.
All Photos © 2007, Jim Mitchell, All Rights Reserved
Cameras, lenses, and all their myriad accessories are tools whose functions
must be learned if they are to be used to their maximum potential. There are
no rules for acquiring this knowledge; you must find what works best, given
your time and budgetary restraints as well as your experience level and personal
approach to study. The key is to explore all the possibilities and determine
what best suits you. In my case I lacked both experience and formal training,
had a time-consuming "day job," and a frugal spouse whose tolerance
had limits! And so, I began.
I read books, magazines, Internet articles, and camera manuals. I attended
seminars (equipment manufacturers offer them for all levels) and took courses
(community colleges are a good source). I also studied other photographers'
work to decide what did and did not appeal to me, and why.