Photography is a wonderful pastime. It can bring joy to your life and provide a creative outlet that can keep on growing as your skills and knowledge grow. Here’s a countdown of five reasons why I really love photography.
5: It’s relaxing and lowers stress:
Getting out and taking photographs can give you a much needed break from the everyday stress and worries of your life. It can be relaxing and – like all creative activities – can help you deal better with stress, anxiety and even depression. Even if you only have time for a quick photo excursion to a local park – or around your own back yard for that matter – you can return feeling refreshed and may well be more productive because you’ve taken a break to do something you enjoy.
4: You get outside, and get exercise:
If you like photographing landscapes and nature, you can cover a lot of distance in search of good shots. And, you tend to climb up things to get better vantage points. And stretch up and bend down. So, on an average photo excursion, you may well walk several kilometres, climb, bend, and stretch as well as soak in some healthy sunshine and breathe the fresh air. Which is great for both body and soul.
3: You see familiar places in a different way:
I enjoy walking and walk quite a lot. At nearby beaches and in local parks. Walking is good exercise and a great stress killer. But, walk around the very same routes with a camera in your hand, and you start to see things quite differently than you do on a “normal” walk. Suddenly, you start noticing light and shadow, and repeating patterns, and lines that lead into a subject you want to shoot. You crouch down low to get shots from a different point of view. Or climb up something for the same reason. You see the same scenes and objects that you see each time you walk that route, but this time you see them as elements in a composition and imagine what they might look like in a finished photograph. Viewing even the most familiar places through a lens can give you a whole new perspective and can be invigorating.
2: You go to places you would never normally go:
When driving home one day, I spotted a woodland area that had recently been burned out in a controlled fire. It looked like an interesting place to take photos, so a few days later I went back with camera in hand. It was late afternoon with long and lovely shadows. The half burned trees and shrubs had a stark beauty all their own. I wandered there for more than an hour and took around 300 photos. I also found some old artefacts and glassware – including a rusty horseshoe that I now keep on my office shelf – that gave me a tangible connection to the early history of my town.
I got some interesting shots, but, photography aside, I really enjoyed the experience for its own sake.
The chances of me stopping and walking through the burned woodland if I wasn’t into photography? Pretty much nil. And, my desire to photograph things has taken me to other places that I probably never would have ventured to. I’ve clambered down steep embankments, across rocky fields, and down hidden tracks seeking different viewpoints to shoot from. These little deviations from the norm are enriching and photography gives me such opportunities all the time.
1: Those wow moments when you review your images:
So, you’ve uploaded the images from your latests photo excursion to your computer and you are flipping through them for the first time. Your internal dialogue goes something like this as you move from one image to the next:
Meh, meh, hum, maybe, oops, that’s ok, good, meh, meh, uh oh, meh, that’s ok, meh, ………. oh WOW!
There it is, the image that – for what ever reason – really grabs your attention and gives you immediate pleasure and instant gratification. This is an image that you think not only looks good but you can connect to emotionally. This is nothing to do with how well your photo might stack up against images produced by the masters of the genre. Maybe the photo is not destined to win any contests and an expert could point out technical faults and things you could have done better. Doesn’t matter! Looking at it makes YOU feel good and you feel proud that you took it. Enough said!