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.