The first photos

We’ll start at the beginning, because I’d like to talk a little about my first shoot, and the experience of dipping my toe into photography. I got my camera on a whim in early July. I’d been thinking about a DSLR purchase for a while, but with the onset a few unexpected, kind of stressful life events, I found myself hungry for something to pour myself into. After doing a little research, I settled on a Nikon D3200.

In the week before my Nikon’s arrival, I readily consumed any photography literature I could find online. I read about aperture, exposure, shutter speed, ISO, and tried to familiarize myself with the terminology as much as possible. Finally, it arrived, and while I probably should have waited and read the manual first… I couldn’t wait. I set it on Auto, grabbed my dog, and headed out into the field.


This is one of the first pictures I took, and it’s still one of my favorites. I love the angles of Scout’s nose, the intensity of his gaze, and how pronounced his dapples are here. For a rescue Dachshund, my little pooch looks pretty stoic, noble, and dashing. A dashing dash-hound. I probably could have been a little less dramatic with the vignetting, but I REGRET NOTHING. It’s a noble portrait for a noble photographer’s assistant.


That same evening, I took a walk through my new neighborhood, the Hyde Park area of Austin, TX. The summer sun was just starting to set, and I was ready to capture everything interesting that I could find within the golden hour. This quaint little cottage had a front yard full of flowers and foliage, and all of the garden was outlined by this little fence. I wanted to capture the fence with lots of perspective, to show the length and various shapes. I love how the light is captured so nicely along the more distant ends of the fence, but I could have gone, again, a little less heavy on the reduced exposure around the edges. Oh well. That’s what negatives are for.


I took a lot of flower pictures with this shoot. They were everywhere. You would think, in the Texas summer heat, the flowers would have given up. Maybe it was the wet spring we had, or maybe these particular flowers just naturally thrive in sunshine. For whatever reason, these were stunning, and I love the way the color was captured in this photo. I credit my camera for the fantastic detail capture, but I did enhance that in Lightroom slightly after the fact. From what I’ve read, when shooting in RAW format, you sometimes have to go back and enhance the detailing slightly.

For a first shoot, I’m pretty proud of what I accomplished with these. I found myself struggling with where to place the credit – is it just that I happened to buy a good camera, or do I have a pretty good natural eye? Can I call myself a photographer yet? I didn’t, at first, but now I’m growing into it. Any other photographers (or other types of artists, in general) struggle with this? When do you declare yourself an “artist,” rather than just a beginner? Do you ever stop feeling like a complete newcomer to the hobby, or do you just embrace it, enjoy the process, and soak up all you can?


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