By Emmanuel Savage
I wish I could say I was born with one finger on the shutter release but that probably couldn't be further from the truth. I mean, I often took photos when I was younger but never with any real thought to light or composition.
I guess my journey into photography first started back in 2012. I was looking for a hobby and a friend was looking to sell his old DSLR, an entry level Nikon D3100. So with very little thought, I bought the camera and began to learn about the technical aspects of photography. Very soon after that my interests changed and the camera was relegated to the back of the cupboard for the next few years. Good decision...
Fast forward to 2017 and a trip to Costco (of all places) found me browsing the book section, where I picked up a copy of Complete Photography by Chris Gatcum. "I think I want to try photography again..." were the words I used to convince myself (and to a lesser extent, my girlfriend) that it was a worthwhile purchase. With the resolve to read the entire book before picking up the camera and a promise to my girlfriend that I wouldn't buy any new gear for the first few months, I bought the book and the real journey began. A week or two later I was ready to try my hand at taking photos again, this time with a better understanding of the technical aspects of photography and a little guidance on the creative side of light and composition.
Since then I've read a bunch of other books, watched way too many YouTube tutorials and upgraded my gear to include a shiny new Nikon D750. But, more important than all of that, I've spent most weekends out shooting photos. If I've learnt anything in my relatively short journey thus far, it's that the best way to see improvement is to go out and take more photos. I guess it's cliche advice for a reason...
Creative is not a word that I generally use to describe myself. Yet, one of the most interesting parts of photography to me is the subjectivity. I love that the same photograph can leave two people with completely different impressions and it seems that this subjectivity forces me to get more creative. Creativity is an area that I've always struggled with, not because I don't want it, but because it doesn't seem to come to me as freely as I’d like. As someone who spends their day in a technical profession where every problem has a correct solution, it can be a challenge to produce something that isn't tied to a predefined outcome. Thus my photography forces me to explore the world in a different way.
Developing that creativity is a big reason that I'm now drawn to photography. It is something I’m constantly trying to grasp. I spend a lot of time thinking about why a particular shot works or doesn't and how I can improve on my previous results because that's how you improve in a technical world. At the end of the day though, when I'm out in the field, I'm finding more and more that I know the shot I want based on a feeling rather than judging it against the ‘rules’. It's that progression that gets me up at crazy hours and in stupid weather conditions to find another angle and get the next shot.
There are so many other great aspects to photography, but for me personally, the big one is it’s ability to get me out from behind my monitor and into the outdoors. As predominantly a landscape photographer, I've found so many new places both here in Brisbane and around Australia. Incredible places that I probably never would have seen had it not been for my camera. Taking up photography was always meant as a catalyst for me to travel and be in the outdoors, but I didn't expect it to work so well! If like me, you need a reason to get outdoors and see new places, go grab a camera, any camera and make a point to find new shots every weekend. You'll be amazed at how much you experience and how addictive it can be!
Though my journey has only recently begun, I'm so thankful for what I've already been able to achieve and I can't see myself slowing down any time soon! If you're thinking of taking up photography, I'd encourage you to go ahead and take the plunge!
See new places, reflect on your work, and learn as much as you can! Then forget about the technical and just see what works for you. To end on another cliche, if you're having fun and learning something, it's never a waste of time.
About the contributing author:
Emmanuel Savage is an amateur photographer who spends his weekdays as a DevOps Engineer. On the weekends he's often out camping and shooting landscape photography in South East Queensland or helping get some insta shots for The Hideout Coffee House. He's also a certified IKMF Krav Maga instructor and has spent some time photographing their classes and events.