Before I began painting and going to art shows I used to spend a lot of time photographing. I carried my camera bag everywhere. It was my purse. I lugged a Nikon D300, two lenses, a flash, batteries and yes even a collapsible tri-pod-EVERYWHERE! I think it weighted at least 10 lbs. I thought of myself as more of a photographer than an artist. And yes I know photographers are artists too, but I thought of myself as a photographer. As I started going to art shows and selling paintings and mixed media pieces the title in my head has shifted. I think of myself as an artist who enjoys photography. But whenever I get the opportunity to go out and photograph I remember why I loved it so much. It is a different creative experience than painting. With painting I tend to know what I am working toward. It is more a process of working. Of completing tasks in the effort to achieve something. There is more of a step by step routine involved. Photography, the way I photograph is a treasure hunt. I never know what I am going to find. I get to wander and really LOOK. I love to look. The more time I have to look the more I find. The only limit on finding something interesting and beautiful is my mind. If I can find it I get to capture it. With an open mind even a botanical garden on a 40 degree day at the very end of fall can hold tiny wonders. Granted a macro lens really helps, but it isn’t always about the equipment.
I find a great deal of satisfaction in making what I have work. That day I found a one inch hibiscus bud on a bush near a photographer who was doing a portrait session. He had an assistant, a reflector and a big flash. My little bud had too much harsh light on it and was getting burned out-I had…an empty lance cracker wrapper in my pocket…? And what do you know, it made a tiny diffuser! So there I was 100 feet from the photographer with an assistant holding an empty cracker wrapper in one hand a heavy camera in the other, doing my best not to shake. But I was more proud of that picture than if I had all the “right” equipment.
It is also fun when the treasure hunt literally turns into the thrill of the hunt. I have a tendency to stalk my photographic prey and I was thrilled to have Anole lizards to hunt. I belly crawled, came up on blind sides, held my camera at arms length trying to peek through the half inch square viewfinder and generally just sneaked around. And it was fun! I am sure I looked like a complete goof to the people around working but oh well. I am used to that:)