Lens-Artists Challenge #133: My Photography Journey


Japanese Plum Blossom

I think my photography journey truly began when I took and posted this photo (above) at the end of March 2015. It was this close up of the Japanese Plum Blossom taken with a simple Fuji 7.2 megapixel point-and-shoot that got me interested in photography and I haven’t stopped much since.

There is something about close-ups and macro that’s captivating and mesmerizing. I can’t describe it in words but I know if you’ve ever taken a close-up of a flower, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Before another thought, I began to photograph everything – the snowy mountains that can be seen in my neighborhood or just my nightly meal. With this small camera, I even traveled to Las Vegas and Chicago.

In late 2015, still very new to photography, I decided to purchase a new point-and-shoot, hoping to improve my photography. If only that were true because now I know it’s not all about the equipment but I must say, the new camera did take better pictures.

After graduating with my second Bachelor degree at the end of 2016, I went and spent a few months in China in early 2017. It was there and then I met my first mirrorless camera – Sony Nex-5T. My aunt purchased the camera in 2013 for her trip to Northern Europe but never got to use it as the camera was too complex to operate.

After reading the 200-page operation manual and through trial and error, I took over 2,000 photos between January and May 2017 – of China, of the Canadian Rockies, and of Yellowstone. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the advantage of a mirrorless is that I can shoot in RAW format. Most of those 2,000 photos were shot in JPG, which means it’s difficult to edit.

You want to know when I began shooting in RAW? It was after watching lots and lots of YouTube videos on photography that I learned I’ve been a dummy for shooting in JPG. It was also after watching those YouTube videos that I finally understood the technical aspect of photography.

In late 2018, with a steady job that I enjoy, I decided to subscribe to Adobe Lightroom and it was then I began truly shooting in RAW format. It was also then I diagnosed a moldy sensor in my mirrorless camera, which hindered the ability to shoot long-exposure as horrendous darks spots would fill much of the images.

A year later, I finally gave in and bought my current camera – Nikon D3500. This camera came with two kit lenses – 18-55 mm f3.5-4.5 and 70-300 mm f4.5-6.3. Since then, I’ve added 2 more lenses to the collection – Nikkor 50 mm f1.8 and Sigma 17-70 mm f2.8-4. The kit lenses shoot well but in my opinion, they don’t compare to the 50 mm.

The 50 mm is my favorite lens so far. I got the 17-70 mm a few weeks ago and hadn’t had a decent chance to test it out.

If you had asked me what those numbers meant a few years ago, I wouldn’t had been able to tell you and I would’ve told you those f-numbers don’t matter. However, I know so much better now thanks to YouTube. F-numbers matters.

If there is something I need to work on, I would say I need to work on keeping my photography real. There have been circumstances when I over-edited the image in Lightroom and Photoshop to the point that it doesn’t real. So I need to work on that – err on the side of under-edit rather than over-edit.

Lens-Artist Challenge

19 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #133: My Photography Journey

  1. “Keeping photography real” is such a critical goal Yinglan – so many over processed images out there these days! I think you’re doing a wonderful job on that front as your images are lovely and very much “real” . Your canyon image is gorgeous BTW! Keep shooting and keep learning – enjoyed sharing your journey very much!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. I think one or two over processed shots are okay now and then, for fun of course. I agree, there are too many over processed shots out there that it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s real and what’s not.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a fabulous journey, Yinglan. I can see the progress you have made, but your plum blooms of your journey begining is beautiful. I love your the images of your China trip. And, the photos of moon, snow scene, and sunset are stunning! Thank you for sharing the stories.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi, Yinglan. You’ve learned so much! The difference between your early shots and the ones you’ve taken in the RAW format are remarkable. Wonderful work! Keep learning and shooting–as Tina says. You’ll keep growing as an artist.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A wonderful journey, Yinglan! Interesting to see your start and where you are now. And even if a good camera helps, it is up to the one who is handling it. You are a skilled photographer, and you are so right about overprocessing. It is sometimes fun, but we want the result to be pleasant to the eye. I recognize the difficulties, but must say you are doing beautifully. Keep shooting!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #134: From Forgettable to Favorite | This is Another Story

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