23 years ago, I was a sophomore in High School. I remember sitting in psychology class with a mixture of upper classmen when the teacher stood at the front of the room and asked us where we wanted to be in five years. Then he proceeded to go through the rows listening to our answers, one by one. I was 15 years old and an athlete. Playing sports was all I ever knew and all I was ever known for. In fact, my first love at 5-years-old, was baseball.
As I listened to the answers, I distinctly recall being very surprised by a profound stirring inside of me. I knew what I wanted to share but no one else did. Not even my best friend, who sat in front of me and declared to everyone that she wanted to be a writer. I could have answered it for her, because I knew her to be clever with words and observations. It was obvious.
Deep within me, I wanted to say that I hoped to be a photographer for National Geographic. But it made no sense. I had never owned a camera, and did not even know how to spell the word: geographic. So, I said what everyone expected me to say, which was that I saw myself playing soccer in college.
I feel like I have gone back to that moment two decades ago and have finally answered the question honestly. I know there will not be any National Geographic photography assignments in my future. But last week, I decided to take the training wheels off my camera. For three years, I have been using my Cannon Rebel XSI as a simple point and shoot. That means the settings are automatically adjusted for me, and all I have to do is show up and push the shutter.
It was a step of faith to sacrifice great pictures for a season in order to learn about F-stops and ISO’s. But, thanks to a 13-year-old whiz of a photographer helping me along, I have taken some decent shots! My question has always been why? Why should I stop taking pictures in the automatic settings if I get fabulous pictures consistently? My teenage tutor told me that this step would allow me to be more creative.
I doubted that I’d ever get through the frustrations of mess up’s and missed opportunities to make the “more creative” reasoning hold any merit for me. But, yesterday, while in my mother-in-law’s garden, it all clicked.
Because there is no such thing as a black and white butterfly in automatic settings.
I love photographing nature because it makes God seem very Big to me in the Small things.
These are my favorite. I could not bring myself to do any photo editing because there was just something very mystical about the Straight Out of the Camera Shots. Who Knew riding without training wheels could be so much fun.
Last shot of the day. It seemed appropriate for the beauty of trying and learning something new.