A thousand words from perfection

F-stop. Aperture. Lighting. Shutter speed. ISO. It’s like a whole new language, this photography business, one filled with words that aren’t just difficult to understand – they’re difficult to implement. Concepts that take a second sense, on-the-fly adjustments to create perfect images, color checks and lens switches and do we need a tripod or not oh well let’s just see if we can be steady enough with our hands alone.

And then, just like that, you get a photo with perfect framing and great lighting and a sharp focus and superb depth-of-field. It happens for us at a 5% rate, I’d say – the perfect timing with the perfect settings. It seems so worth it, at that point.

It’s been two weeks since Kerrie and I bought our new toy, the Canon EOS XTi. It’s been fun – options are amazing, which will come as no surprise to those who have switched from a simple point and shoot to a full digital SLR. We can actually set depth of field, play around with lighting and create better pictures. Even pictures taken on auto look better.

But I know it could be more. Let’s just say I can’t quite leave well enough alone.

I already want to buy a different lens (lower aperture, please – f1.2 would be nice, f1.8 would be acceptable). It means I want to play around with filters, even though I don’t know how to use them.

Most importantly, now that we’ve got the most basic of basics down, and now that my Flickr account is filled with several dozen of our own pictures, I want the marginal images – the ones I think are nearly there – to become just as artistic as the classics.

In other words, it’s time to tackle Photoshop processing. And this, my friends, might be the hardest thing I learn with photography.

A semi-successful picture can be made good with increased contrast or a slight vignette; a great picture can become a thing of beauty. But the ins and outs of this post-processing isn’t something that can be learned overnight, a frustrating thing to someone like me who longs to be proficient immediately, to be pumping out “favorite” worthy images on day one, who has no patience for the typical.

It’s this drive that fuels my desire. It doesn’t come often, but when a passion is born so quickly – when an all-encompassing hobbies is taken on, the type that leads to more and more and more, one that adds parts and skills and knowledge on an almost daily basis – it pushes me to become better. It’s what drove me to write. It’s what drove me to read more. And now, it’s what’s driving me to the art of photography.

To capture life. To recreate moments in a way that is truly unforgettable. And to help fuel a creativity that, at times, not even a thousand words can fulfill.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 25th, 2008