“Change your thoughts and
you change your world.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale
This post's lead image was shot in 2016, when I'd barely learned how to use my Nikon D7100--using a kit lens (the 70-200), because I had no other telephoto option.
So was this one.
This one, too.
All of them, actually.
I didn't know much about my camera yet.
But I was learning, changing, scouring my world for something to shoot and share and create with.
If you're newer to photography than you'd like to be, there's one sure-fired cure to what you don't yet know.
Practice, shoot, get out there and use what you have, learn everything you can about your equipment.
Don't buy more or "better" lenses or cameras before you're ready, thinking that will help. Instead, DO more.
Get better at creating with what you already have.
Look for opportunities, inspiration, vivid images that call out to you. Others might pass them by, but you can't.
It's always going to be about the images you take.
You'll get better at this.
I can see the shadows and tonality issues and lack of sharpness now in all of these captures. But I'm still spellbound by the images themselves.
Like every novel I've written, I can always go back and nitpick flaws in completed projects.
But I fall in love with my art--when I create it, when I look back at it. I'll always love each creation with the same devotion and passion as when it was brand new. They'll never dim for me. They never become something I'm afraid to share.
The key in capturing images that move others (now, tomorrow, and years from now) is to capture what first moves you. Even if you tell yourself you don't know how. Even if it won't be "perfect."
The rest will change--seasons, skill level, equipment, your visual eye and creative technique. And change is good. The more you practice, the better you'll become. I'm a strong proponent of improving yourself as an artist, rather than relying on buying ever newer gear.
But the thing that should never change is your enthusiasm to shoot whatever and wherever you are. To find your voice in your world, and to bring that vision to life.
Get out there and look for your next favorite image. Take with you whatever camera and lens you have. It doesn't really matter--not nearly as much as you think. Trust me.
Change your ability to bring beauty to life through your lens. Make that next capture a jewel, whether you're shooting with your cell phone or the latest mirrorless marvel.
The image is the thing.
The emotion and love your pour into creating it.
Years from now the rest will fall away. You'll remember and be proud like me of the moment, the beauty, the magic of a moment so special you HAD to capture it.
Like this image.
A variation of it will this year (two years aft it was shot with my new D7100 and lens, on programmed settings because I couldn't yet shoot on manual), will be a 2018 National Wildlife Federation holiday card.
Whodathunkit, back when I was squatting in deep woods along the shallows across Miller Lake from this favorite dock (as the sunset quickly slipped away, and I struggled to do justice to all that glorious, vivid, reflected color)?!
It's not perfect. I now would change things about how it was shot.
But it's beautiful to me just the way it is. I'll have this moment with me forever, and others will now be able to share it.
I couldn't be more proud and honored--and glad I worked as hard as I did during that quickly fading sunset to grab this moment the best I could!