This Is What I Saw


Tilden Park

This Is What I Saw, January 16, 2010

Tilden Park Jewel Lake Loop and Beyond

For whatever reason, I was allowed two photo walks this weekend. Thank you honey! This set is from Saturday when the weather was still nice. The walk itself was enjoyable, and I explored a new trail that led to a crowded forest of Eucalyptus trees. I was reminded of how happy I feel taking a cool morning hike, the more challenging the better. Some may drink, some may take drugs, but for me there is no better high than a backpack and an ascending mountain trail on a cold morning. That is feeling alive! Even better with a camera!

But truth be told, I was not happy with most of the pictures I took Saturday. I was downright frustrated. This was partly a result of using two cameras I’m not fully familiar with. Cameras take time to learn. One was the Sigma DP2 that I have not used in a long time (it is a highly capable camera, but can be immensely frustrating at times) and the other was the new Ricoh GXR, which I am still working to understand. Over recent months I have been concentrating on using the Olympus E-P2 (and E-P1 before that), a camera which I now know well and love, and use primarily with a fast 40mm (35mm equivalent) lens from Panasonic. Another issue is that the GXR has a 50mm lens, a tighter frame than I have been used to in recent times. (PS: I have a thing for serious compacts!)

On top of gear issues I simply felt that I was not capturing what I saw or what I thought I saw was actually meaningless, dull, uninteresting. I took a lot of pictures but did not see much. I was also working through a new exposure pattern so that I can learn how to get bright enough prints of the dark, colorful imagery I like to focus on.

So I guess Saturday was really just a training day. If I had openly acknowledged that when I walked out the door that morning I may have felt better about how things turned out. But with so few opportunities to actually go take pictures I always want to leverage them as much as possible. Lesson learned.

Side Note: Another lesson learned is that I need to be present in the environment when I’m out taking pictures. I love to take pictures of the places I love, and ironically I’ve had to learn to remember to be present in those environments when I’m out photographing them! I’ve come back from a few photo walks feeling as if I had been futzing with the car radio while driving down the freeway, and not remembering the last few moments.

So there I was disappointed and frustrated, and wondering why I do it at all. Why bother, and who really cares. Then, today (Sunday) I was given the gift of a second photo walk (actually just more of a walk in the Tilden rain) and on this walk (walks are great for thinking and problem solving) it occurred to me that when something is a part of our lives and such a deep part of who we are, as photography is to me, it becomes something akin to an Olympic trainer where day after day you just get out there and do it. Some days it works for you and you enjoy it and some days it does not work at all. You may not want to go, you may be frustrated, you may even be injured. But still, you go. And you go and go and go, because you have to. You push through and move forward and move on. You practice, because practice is the only way to get anywhere.

Sunday’s pictures on the way soon.

One Response to “This Is What I Saw”

  1. 1 melissa

    loving your blog! you are a gifted writer as well as photographer. i will enjoy your “journeys”…..

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