14 REASONS I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY
Working as a travel blogger during the past four years, I’ve noticed a distinct trend in my tendencies. Whenever I have to slough through the never-ending tasks entailed in running a website in this hard-core Google Panda-Penquin update world, I’ve noticed quite clearly certain tasks that make me say, “Ugh, not that,” those that make me think, “Ok, that’s not too bad,” and those that make me think, “Yippie, I get to do that now!”
More often than not, and increasingly more frequently, I’ve noticed that the tasks I want to do, the ones I look forward to, the ones that are treats, are those tasks involving photography. I’ve discovered that I’m always happy to sort through photos, do some editing, compile a photo gallery or go take more photos of beautiful and amazing scenes.
So I’ve finally had to acknowledge that I really love photography. I love it much more than anything else involved with the travel blogging profession. Much more than writing or publishing.
Much more than social media or writing emails. Much more than SEO, back end website work and technical cores. Much more than reading and commenting on other peoples’ blogs or writing guest posts for other websites. In fact, most of those tasks fits squarely into the, “Oh, crap I have to do that today” category.
But photography? I’m rarely uninspired to do that! In fact, I just about always want to spend my time and energy on photography work.
And there are several concrete reasons for that:
1. Photography takes place in the real world
…as opposed to being on a computer, on the internet, in a virtual world. I can’t even begin to tell you how thoroughly sick & fed up I am of working on a computer for hours on end, day in, day out…feeling like a prisoner gazing out at the real world out the window, just beyond my grasp.
Photography necessarily entails taking a camera in hand, standing up and walking around, going outdoors and taking photos. Since I’m primarily a landscape, nature & cultural photographer, that means I get into the real world outside, not inside houses, studios or hotels.
2. Photography is physically active
Ever since I was a young child, I’ve been very an extremely physically active person. (My mom, at wits end, finally enrolled me in ballet classes, hoping to exhaust my insatiable energy.)
Photography just happens to entail lots of physical activity. Not necessarily strenuous physical activity (though sometimes that as well) but definite, continuous activity.
While photographing I have to walk, stoop, crouch, look up & down & sideways, sit, squat, lay on my back, roll around, climb, twist sideways, stretch and get into all sorts of unexpected positions. It can even become an excellent work out and it’s certainly great for keeping my ballet-trained limbs limber.
3. Photography is visual
I’ve also always been extremely visually oriented. My mind is naturally and continually drawn to bold colors, lines, shapes, patterns, textures, designs and beauty in all forms. In this regard, photography is right up my alley. I can’t think of a more visually-oriented activity/profession on the planet.
4. Photography gets me out into nature even more
I absolutely love being immersed in nature. I do so as much as possible. In my SE Asia days, I probably spent 80% of my life outdoors. I was generally only inside when sleeping at night (well, at least before travel blogging took over my life and I ended up indoors entirely too much).
Photography gives me yet another fantastic reason to be out in the natural world. Particularly as a landscape & nature photographer, I not only get to be in nature, I have to be.
5. Photography includes most things I love and value most in life
Come to think of it, not only is photography visual, active, and a real world experience in nature, it entails just about everything I love most in life. It’s fun, personally challenging, a continuous learning and improvement experience. There’s always more to learn, practice and improve upon. It entails skill, knowledge, techniques, practice, experience and improvement
6. Photography keeps the mind sharp
Learning and practicing new skills, focusing and concentrating on tasks, making creative decisions, paying attention to details – these mental activities all help keep the mind sharp. That, in turn, helps keep the brain and mind healthy, alert, clear and youthful.
7. Photography forces me to appreciate the world around me in much more detail & depth
As I already mentioned, I’ve always loved being surrounded by nature. I like to think I’ve been appreciating the natural details around me: trees, flowers, streams, insects & animals, the ocean & sand, sun, wind, even rain and storms.
But once I started practicing photography more seriously, I discovered that I hadn’t really been paying much attention at all! At least not to the astoundingly intricate details all around. Tiny leaves, pine needles, seeds, textures in bark and plants, patterns and lines. After I was instructed in my Matador U Photo Courses to stop and really look around carefully at individual objects, I discovered a whole new world…one that I had simply failed to notice much before. Thanks to photography, I now appreciate nature more than ever.
8. Photography makes me much more aware of natural light
Great photography is, to a large extent, primarily about capturing the best light. In order to do that, a photographer must become much more aware of the constantly changing natural light in the world.
We have to see the huge and subtle differences in light beginning in early morning, through sunrise and after, through midday into late afternoon & early evening, through sunset and twilight on through dusk to darkness. Amazing nuances in color, tone, brilliance and intensity exist. There are also great differences in light quality on cloudy days, in shade and shadows, during storms (and before and after), during snow and at different places on the planet.
A great photographer sees all these nuances in light, even anticipates them, even plans shoots around them.
Once I started becoming aware of the ever-changing light, I was quite amazed. It’s really quite remarkable. Photography has brought that awareness to me. And that allows me appreciate the natural world from yet another perspective.
9. Photography can be very meditative
Anything that requires total focus and concentration can be meditative. During such activities the human mind is completely occupied, right in that moment, in the now. The mind stops drifting ceaselessly around, wandering through the past, the future, worries and concerns. The mind is fully absorbed in the task at hand.
That complete focus and absorption is very calming and quieting to the mind. That is meditation. It is stress reducing, relaxing and rejuvenating for both mind and body.
10. Photography calls upon creative abilities
As a photographer, I’m continuously called upon to make creative decisions. I have to choose the best settings for the camera for each shot I take: shutter speed, ISO, aperture, white balance, focus mode, exposure mode and other settings. I have to compose each scene before pressing the shutter. I have to make sure no extra details are cluttering up the image. I have to try different shooting angles, settings and depths of field to get the best, most interesting shot.
11. It’s fun
All the creative, physical activity out in nature is immeasurably fun!
12. I’m creating beauty
The end result of all the activity and creative endeavors is a product. A photograph. Hopefully a stunning photograph. An image of the amazing natural world. Or wild and wonderful cultures.
13. Photography helps maintain memories: places I’ve been, things I’ve done, people I’ve met
Every time I look at one of the photos from my world travels, it reminds me – emotionally and intellectually – of that moment in time. It stirs up details of that place, circumstances and people I was involved with. It reminds me what I was doing that day or week, where I was staying, what other activities and adventures I participated in, people I spoke with, laughed with, ate with.
14. I love editing too
After all the fun of doing photo shoots, that’s not the end of the story. Most photos require at least basic edits: cropping, perfecting exposure and enhancing colors. Some images require a bit more editing to create those final masterpieces.
Editing entails sitting indoors at a computer, admittedly not my favorite scenario. But that’s ok. A little bit of sitting time is ok, good even. And if I have to sit at a computer, I generally would much rather be sorting, selecting and editing photos than doing anything else.
Luckily for me, I find editing nearly as fun as taking the photos.
Beginning to end, photography is just awesome.
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