At the time, I never really thought that I was taking a lot of pictures. The more than a dozen photo albums taking up space in a closet now tell a different story however. They are my chronicle of life from the birth of my oldest child until my first digital camera. Leafing through them is a sentimental journey with moments and occasions to be treasured.
In those days I knew very little about how to take a great photo. It was more about preserving the memory than it was about making sure it was done well. Keep in mind that this was the era of Instamatic and Polaroid, so all of the fault wasn't mine.
Only when I began working for a small community newspaper did I find out that there was more to taking a picture than pointing and shooting. In looking at my portfolio during my job interview, the publisher remarked on my good eye. My technique, he added, we could work on.
And that we did. Primarily with lessons on aperture, shutter speed and why a different type of film was necessary for shooting in arenas without flash.
They were valuable lessons that I was able to take with me in my leisure photography. Yet I always knew there was still much to learn. Training on the job gave me only the minimum knowledge required — given that good eye of mine and a dark room to correct the work.
It was enough, however, to pique my interest. I soon purchased a good 35 mm of my own and photography playtime began. With a full-time job and the demands of a growing family, however, this amounted to little more than a game of trial and error, adjusting settings to see what results were achieved.
Nothing really changed once the switch was made to digital. Of late, however, as retirement looms closer and recognizing that photography is probably what interests me most as a potential hobby, I have been scoping out websites with valuable lessons to help me understand my camera better and to hone my photography skills.
Here are just a few of my favourites:
Digital Photography School
Digital Camera World
New York Institute of Photography