Monday, April 26, 2010

A Passion for Photography

Spud, otherwise known as Judith Green, is a blogger and photographer extraordinaire. I first met her when she began her blog with an outrageous series of secrets and self-portraits. She currently hosts a question and answer series on her blog that will be an incredible help to new photographers. Those Camera Club posts are here. Spud is actually the one who gave me the final push I needed to commit to a 365 project of my own. Judith lives in England where she is busy raising two Megaboys, grudging Mr. Spud, and taking lots and lots of pictures.
Saving my sanity...one click at a time


Oooh look! I'm hanging out at Relyn's place...let's chuck another log on her fire and have a natter, shall we? I'll make the tea, you get the cake but make haste because I'm peckish and I need an urgentissimo sugar fix...

It wasn't hard for me to pick a 'passion' to blog about as, unlike most of you clever multi-talented folk, I'm very much a
one trick pony. I will confess to a quickly developing crush on crochet but, right now, photography is my first love. I'm still relatively new to photography, we're past the first date stage but I'm probably still in the honeymoon period. I do hope that I'll be left with an enduring, life-long love once the first flames of passion have died away. I would hate to think that this is just a fad and, I'm fairly certain that the combined forces of MrAmericanExpress and MrSpud, might be a bit peeved if it turns out that me and photography destined to be just a holiday romance. Time will tell.


So, 18 months ago I was a happy snapper with beaten up point & shoot which I could barely use. I had no interest in photography, MrSpud was the nominated family photographer and I endured his snappy habits with ill-disguised irritation. "Come ON!", I'd yell as we were, yet again, delayed by him hanging back on a walk to photography some leaf or other item of seemingly no interest. In my book, the only photos worth taking were of people. Ideally my children, since there are no more beautiful people on the planet that my two lovely boys. But how times change! Now it's me dragging my feet taking photos of everything and nothing, and it's MrSpud chivvying me along. Oh, sweet irony.


My conversion from the 'dark side' was sudden and dramatic. My best friend, a wonderful photographer, suggested I join in with a group she was part of on Flickr...a Photo365 project which, as the name implies, involves taking a photo every day. I don't really know why I joined in, a bit of peer pressure, wanting to be part of the group (all people I knew). Certainly, at that stage, it had very little to do with wanting to learn photography. Basically I'm a bit of a sheep, I don't lead, I follow. I'm OK with that.

I bumbled along for a few days, snapping pictures of this and that. Then, one morning, the tree in front of our house looked so beautiful in the early morning mist and sunshine. It was like a light switch going on..I absolutely HAD to take capture it...not just snap it, but really capture it. The Point & Shoot wasn't around, I grabbed MrSpud's DSLR and took the photo that set me down the path to an expensive photography kit habit ;-)


I have such a fondness for this tree, not least because it dominates my field of vision every day as I look out on it from my kitchen, dining room, living room and playroom. But, mostly, I love it for the role it played in giving me the gift of a hobby. Thank you tree of loveliness xxx Here it is, almost a year to the day after I took my 'life changing shot' of it. I love this photo, is it wrong to say that? Too late! I said it...


Soon I wasn't happy sticking the Big Girl's Camera, as the DSLR became known, on auto and hoping for the best. Books were bought and read, photography magazines consumed by the bucketload, online groups terrorized with endless questions. And, through a long process of trial and error, I finally got the hang of shooting manually (ie. twizzling the nobs myself rather than letting the camera do it for me). My camera became my constant companion and no moment of our lives was left undocumented in my obsessive quest for 'the shot of the day' that the Photo365 project inspired in me. Pretty soon my children got a bit fed up of my constant snapping and made their feelings remarkably clear... ...but it was nothing that a little bribery could overcome and these days they are surprisingly compliant models.


I have so, so many photos of my boys...I can't seem to help myself, it's a sickness. But, then, can you ever really have TOO many photos of your babies? I don't think so.



Although, on a related note, you can definitely have too many photos, period. Digital photography is a scourge and a blessing all in one...it's wonderful to snap away with no thought of the cost of film/processing, and it allows you to really experiment without fear of bankruptcy. The downside is, if you're like me and don't like deleting photos, you're quickly overwhelmed by thousands of photos and a groaning hard-drive. I learnt this lesson fairly early on, and spent a painful few months deleting many thousands of photos, and cataloging the 'keepers' properly so I can find them again. Plus I have a double back up system because, you know, I've sweated blood and tears to take those shots and I really, really don't want to lose them. They're like my other babies, all 20,000 of them....awwww.


Somewhere along the line I got bitten by the processing bug, ouch, and thus another time thief entered my life in the shape of Lightroom/Photoshop. These days I'm a fairly quick processor but in the early days it was painful, really painful. But isn't that always the way with any new skill, alas and alack. I enjoy a bit of a 'fiddle' with my photos, but I definitely enjoy shooting more than I do processing.

But what I really, really love about photography...what makes it my passion rather than just a way to pass the time is that it makes me look at the world in a completely new way. I realize how sappy that sounds but it's true, I see things that was hidden to me before, I see beauty all around, I see contrasts and humour and elegance and rawness....often all at the same time, and generally in my every day environment. I pretty much never go somewhere specifically to take a photo, I take photos as the moment arises. And those moments come around so often that I frequently take more than 200 photos a day. That's a real joy about photography, it's a 'right here, right now...any time, any place, anywhere' kind of hobby and that suits me and my lifestyle really well. I fit photography in to my life, I don't fit my life around photography.


My life is pretty hectic, well whose isn't let's face it? I have two small children who are aged 4 and 3. When I first started snapping they were aged 2 and 1 and it was all a bit of a struggle. I never had a second for myself and everything felt like such a slog. But, suddenly, out of nowhere I had photography and it was ALL MINE and it was something I could do, easily, while the children were around. Just a few minutes a day, just for me, no one else...just me. Are you getting it? It's all...about...me! And that's why I called this post 'saving my sanity' because, in the midst of those dark early days of parenting someone threw me a lifeline...an absorbing hobby that fitted perfectly in to our chaotic lives which gave me back just a little bit of myself, one click at a time.
I'll always be grateful for that.


I'll sign off with a few of my favourite snaps, no commentary needed because a picture speaks a thousands words, right? Enough of my wittering, pass the cake would you? Thanks for listening and thanks to Relyn for inviting me round. It's been a pleasure xx ~ Spud





29 comments:

Gillian said...

Wow, Spud really has the EYE. Good going! I particularly love her tree shots. xox

Heart2Heart said...

Relyn,

All I can say is all of these pictures are simply priceless. I love them all. They all have stories behind them!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Kim Living Life said...

Thanks for the intro Relyn to Spud what an amazing photographer she is. I love those little cherubs of her sooooooo adorable. She has a passion and it stirred me up to read how much it is her life. Fantastic. Thanks

Tracy said...

Hello, Spud! GORGEOUS photos... you know how to "see" with the camera! :o)

SE'LAH... said...

Divine photos! I am so enjoying your guest series.

one love.

Marilyn said...

Spuds photos are lovely and I love her attitude of doing for just her. Thanks for sharing Spuds with us.

beth said...

what a great attitude.....we'd get along great !....and your photos are amazing !

maggie said...

Relyn-You sure know how to pickem.
You and Spuds are women of passion and it is like a balm for the soul.
You two rock.

Derrick said...

Hi Relyn,

Great post by Judith, with photographs to match. I reckon I could learn a lot from her camera club. Now, where has the cake got to?!

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

Love to see Spud's work over here, a pefect match!

jacqueline said...

spud is amazing...thank you relyn for introducing us. have a wonderful week!

Jeanne said...

Fabulous indeed.
Love and hugs and many blessings
Love Jeanne♥

Cinner said...

Thanks for sharing, her work is gorgeous. I loved them all. take care. have a great day.

Oliag said...

Thanks for introducing us to Spud...her passion is contagious...her talent is obvious...It is hard to believe she has only had the bug for 18 months!...I am immediately going over to check out her blog...

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I really want to take pictures like these. The passion is in my brain, but not quite something I'm ready to commit to yet (that means buying a new fancy camera). What beautiful children...loved this post!

Suz said...

some powerful tree that was!
wonderful meeting your dear friend
wonderful by gosh photos

Patti said...

Oh....beautiful! Spud is exactly where I wish I was! Thanks for sharing her with us Relyn! Have a wonderful day- both of you!

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

Absolutely wonderful post! Love sharing in another photographer's life. I love the hobby but have never learned much about doing it without a point and shoot. Makes me want to delve deeper. Thank you Relyn, for inviting this artist into my sphere. And for coming by to visit me!
Hugs, Kirsten

Terresa said...

Gorgeous photography. What an art.

I love visiting your blog, each post is a treat.

thenextarrow said...

lovely post. so much beauty + inspiration.

xo Alison

Joy said...

What a treat this post was to stumble upon. And so inspirational! Makes me want to dust of my camera!

One Womans Thoughts said...

What delightful photos!

spudballoo said...

Thank you everyone! It was so lovely to be here, and your comments have really MADE my week.

I just wanted to say that you DON'T need a fancy camera to take lovely photos. Some of the best photos I've ever seen have been taken with a regular point & shoot. And some of my own favourites, which I didn't have space to get in to in this post, have been taken with my iphone!

I think it's more about understanding composition, and looking at the world with 'fresh' eyes and using light imaginatively than it is about a big fancy camera.

My best advice is to use whatever camera you have, and start taking a LOT of photos, and have fun!

xx

Jeanie said...

Wow -- isn't it wonderful to discover a new passion? I can see Spud has clearly done that and since those first moments really worked to master her craft. I hear such joy in this post. Bravo!

Bee said...

I am privileged to know Spud -- on-blog and in real-life, too.

She is too modest by half; I think she is absolutely BRILLIANT. I'm glad you've introduced her to a few other appreciative folk.

dutchbaby said...

How does Relyn do it? How does she find all these passionate women? This post is deliciously passionate. You described the evolution of your passion beautifully and you've showcased your photos in a magnificent way. I admire your sticktoitiveness in conquering the lens and post-processing. The skin tones in your children's portraits are breathtaking!

Elyse said...

Spud, your children are simply beautiful.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Somehow I missed this post! The photos are mesmerizing, the light and clarity! And a nice story too!

Jaime said...

I feel so inspired.
I LOVE reading about the inner and outer workings of other photographers...it is my nectar.
Spud, your images are beautiful, as are your two sweet little boys.
I quickly clicked on a few links Relyn provided and saved them to my favourites so I can spend some more time getting to know you.

Relyn, thank you so much for sharing this gem! Much love. xo

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