Q: This question comes from Crystal and she asks: “How much time out in the field did it take to learn what you know about photography, and what inspires you?”
A: I cannot answer the first part of this question specifically, but I can say that it took many many hours of practice to get where I am now in my photography and I still have a very long way to go. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I started showing more of an interest in photography in 2006 and started to buckle down and teach myself photography in 2008. Books and the internet can only teach so much, however, and I knew that the best way for me to learn the craft would be to practice as much as I possibly could. So in 2009 I challenged myself to complete 365 self portraits in one year. I did so many things wrong during that project with both the camera and post processing, but I learned so much from my mistakes. Now when I look back at the photos from that project I can see where I went wrong and how I would do them differently. There are only a few of those photos that I still like. After completing that project and seeing how much my photography had improved after one year, I decided to complete a new 365 challenge with no limitations on subject matter. Those two projects taught me most of what I know now. Still want an estimate of the time I put in? I would guess I put in at least 2,000 hours within those two years. If you want to know more about what it takes to be a photographer, stay tuned to my blog for an upcoming post about that.
The second part of Crystal’s question asks what inspires me. I draw inspiration from many things, but most of it comes from nature. Spending time outdoors away from people exhilarates me. There is so much beauty and the photographic opportunities can be overwhelming but incredibly inspiring. I can spend all day outside with my camera and never get bored. Even if I’m unable to leave my yard in search of landscapes to photograph, I can always pull out my macro lens and enter the miniature world of insects and plant life. As much as I love documenting the beauty in nature, sometimes I would much rather create photographs from my imagination. Listening to music and working out are the two things that inspire me most for that kind of work. When I listen to music I love, I get lost in the lyrics and enter an imaginary world in my mind. Exercise, especially anything repetitive like running or walking, almost always gets my creative juices flowing. A combination of the two is a surefire way to make my mind wander and cause ideas to surface. The challenge is remembering the ideas after I’m all done and finding time to create the photographs. I won’t leave out that I’m also inspired by my life, movies, television, books and, of course, other photographers.
Here are some of my photographs that have been inspired by media: