My two adult sons and a daughter asked me what I would like for a retirement gift and I told them I would like a camera. I wanted to learn photography as it would help me in my blogging and I also hoped to use it for recording videos for YouTube. They bought me a beautiful Fujifilm XS10 camera. It is small, light and suited for both purposes. I was thankful for their thoughtfulness and generosity. That was how my photography journey began.
I found myself watching YouTube to learn more about the camera and how it can be used. I watched video after video about photography skills and lenses and types of photography, including contemplative photography, which I think is too dominated and influenced by Zen Buddhism. Christians should baptize this type of photography – a full immersion baptism, and make it into another window for people to find and know God. It did not take long for me to realize that I have entered a vast interesting world that is dazzling, puzzling and rattling.
To accelerate learning, I started an Instagram account @visiojourney, and saw the many stunning pictures that some others took and I was dazzled. They were very impressive and wowed me. The earth is indeed full of the glory and beauty of our King. I felt totally discouraged as it would take years to be able to take such beautiful pictures.
One question that often hit me as I sat transfixed by those pictures, “How did that person take that photo?” I simply have no knowledge to figure out how such beautiful, amazing, striking photos were taken. It was puzzling and frustrating. I could see that this journey is no walk in the park but a very long and winding (and possibly costly) road.
Initially, as I watched YouTube instructional videos, I thought buying better lenses would be the solution but I soon learned that there were many other more important factors. It rattled me. I felt uncomfortable. I had thought I had jumped into a swimming pool only to realise that it was actually an ocean. I will definitely have to pull back my expectations and settle for something more down to earth.
I must say though that I am enjoying the luxury of learning at my own pace and without any pressure. It is after all a hobby, a useful one at that, but I am in no hurry to improve and I am certainly no perfectionist. Thus, all is well. I am at peace with my slowness and ordinary photographs. I will take it a step at a time and delight in the process of learning to take meaningful pictures.