Learning to Take Photos Again

Confession: I don’t think I’m a good photographer any more.

I once considered myself hot shit. I had a digital camera while my friends were still rocking disposable cameras. I sort of knew how to use Photoshop. I knew how to select one color, and then make everything else black and white (like this, which emphasizes the red). That technique impressed the living hell out of everyone.

Now I think I’m sort of terrible.


A lot of this has to do with the limitations of my DSLR camera.

It’s old, and not very sensitive to light. There are newer ones that are faster, which means more light absorption and less trying to stand still in low-light conditions.

The auto-focus is broken. I have to manually focus everything. Which sometimes results in gorgeous surprises — but often means important photos are slightly out-of-focus because I’m not fast enough with my hands to focus and snap at the same time. 


But most of my shitty photos are, honestly, my fault.

I stopped taking photography seriously. I just snapped photos on my phone while I was out. My phone camera shots are pretty shitty, quality-wise, because I didn’t take them seriously.


More importantly, I got out of the habit of carrying my good camera around. Consequently, I am now slow to flick between the settings of my good camera. I forget to turn off the “indoor white balance” when I’m outside or in sunny rooms, making everything blue. I fucked up the photos I was taking of my friends’ daughter’s first birthday. (You can see the blue there that I tried — and failed, to reduce in Photoshop.)


People are like “come! Take photos of my event!” and my heart wells in dread. I might get the perfect photo, or I might fail utterly.

When I show up, I take as many photos as possible.

My sweaty fingers are crossed when I load the photos onto my computer. I hope just posting a few photos makes me look selective, not incompetent.

I guess the answer is just… practice, practice, practice. Boring solution. But practical.

Taking pictures around the house:


Taking pictures of this guy taking my Christmas tree (Sir Douglas Fir III) away for a bonfire. (I was like “You’re setting my tree on fire? Flippin’ sweet!”)


Taking pictures of my neighbor’s still-up Christmas lights:


Taking pictures of this crumbling wall art:


And, finally, here’s a better photo of the flowers up top, in the day.

It’s a totally different photo from the sunset flowers. I love that. Lighting!


The quest continues.