Sunday, 9 October 2005

First lesson in photography

Vivex colour photo instantaneus camera. Source: NYPL Digital Gallery

For the longest time, I wanted to give photography a try. The main hurdle was: no camera.

Now, alhamdulillah, I'm able to borrow a digital camera that belongs to a relative of mine. The camera ends up being more used by me than him.

Unfortunately, my knowledge of photography is next to zero. The pictures I took are less than impressive. Some are too dark, some have backgrounds that are too bright and most appear to be grainy (due to shaky hands). I felt very discouraged about the whole photography thing.

I wondered if I had used an expensive camera (the one I use is of the budget range and costs less than RM 800), the pictures might look better. My neighbour came to visit me several weeks ago and showed me the shots he took using his dad's expensive, RM 1000+ Canon digital camera. I drooled all over the carpet looking at them.

In the following days, the camera was left alone in its pouch. I dared not to touch it and I was thinking that maybe I should convince my relative to trade-in his camera for a more expensive and feature extensive one. But I know for sure that he's going absolutely hate the idea (he's less critical about photo taking than me, and it was his money after all).

I started looking online for ways to improve my camera. I was so focused on my camera's limitations that I thought that I should forget about taking any good pictures altogether and specialise myself in taking truly awful pictures. That should be easy since I'm already an expert at it.

It's not the camera, mate, it's you

While scanning through the various articles online, I stumbled upon a gem of an advice that's worth noting. It's the first, most basic thing that everybody must learn and understand before he or she starts snapping away pictures using his or her camera.

"It's the photographer who takes beautiful pictures, not the camera."

It took me awhile to digest this simple truth, and over time every single word started to make sense.

Any expert or experienced photographer will tell you that even the most expensive cameras can't guarantee that the pictures taken will turn out awesome. And there are numerous people who are able to capture breathtaking shots using a simple point-and-shoot budget range camera.

A camera can only take a photographer to a certain distance, the rest is up to the photographer to work with camera's advantages and disadvantages.

Working with what we have

I guess in other areas as well, we are often presented with limited amounted of resources. Aspiring cooks like some of my aunts would love a state-of-the-art kitchen of their own. A friend of mine owns a car that would go from 0-100 km/hour in 300 seconds (an estimated figure), keeping him from overtaking and using the fast lane most of the time. And let's not forget about those who impaired either visually, verbally or physically.

We all have our own set of limitations. As humans we that's what define us as individuals. But we must also look for the strengths that God has bestowed us with. No one is made of entirely limitations and devoid of any strengths or advantages.

Our daily challenge is work with what we have. History is full of accounts of people who overcame the odds and emerged triumphant. And success without struggle isn't as valuable as success that comes after many trials and tribulations.

Suddenly my camera doesn't seem all that bad. It may lack certain fancy features but overall it performs rather well once I'm familiar with its workings.

Two chefs

All this talk about using limited resource amount reminds me of story that I read during my school days. Once there were two chefs who were masters at food decoration and sculpture. They both entered a food sculpting competition that pitted them against one another. When the judges came to look at both their works, they were astonished to see that both of them displayed an equally high level of skill.

The judges were stumped. They did not know whom the best sculptor award should go to. After much thought, the judges decided to the ask both the chefs personally a simple question. The chefs answered the question and the judges smiled in delight. They finally found the competition's winner, and it was the first chef.

How did the judge found their winner? The judges asked the chefs how many tools were used in their sculpting. The second chef answered a few, while the first chef answered only one. That one question solved the dispute of who between the two is more skillful in food sculpting.

Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from entreprenuer E. Joseph Cossman's words on overcoming the odds.

Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.


Anonymous said...

I have a digi-cam. I just snap whatever I think beautiful and worth taking. I cudnt agree anymore on the 'it's the photographer who takes beautiful piccies, not the camera'.
On the limited resource, that's when the grateful-of-what-we-have-concept comes. :)
And some people like the chef only use what ever they have and make the most out of it.
I like this posting. Thanks for the thoughts.
- me -

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Copyright 2009 introspector. Powered by Blogger Blogger Templates create by Deluxe Templates. WP by Masterplan