Taking Shots

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I’ve always been interested in taking photos, so much that I have several different cameras that I never got around to using so much because of criticism from individuals I used to surround myself with. I think back now & wonder how far I’d be if I didn’t allow others opinions to easily influence me..

I was someone who always carried my camera with me because I never knew when I was going to see something that was photo worthy in eyes. This was before the age of great cameras on cell phones, back when flip phones had huge keyboards & such.

It would aggravate my parents so much how fast I’d go through film for my disposable cameras that I was only allowed to have one when I went on field trips or during the last few days of school. My camera skills back then were just as horrible. I never took the lighting or background into account, I loved catching people off guard or doing weird faces. “Waste of money,” my parents would say but they continued to buy me my cameras. I have boxes full of photos from middle & high school somewhere..

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As I got older, digital cameras came about & I honestly can’t even remember my first digital camera. I do remember how much my mom hated them. Complaining about how the photos stayed on the memory card, not understanding how to get them printed. Having to upload them, send them somewhere, it was all such a difficult process for her.

I loved it though! I could take as many pictures as I wanted & delete the ones I didn’t like. As long as my memory card wasn’t full there was no way I could run out of film. I would carry it in my purse just in case because I didn’t want to chance not having my camera.

I never let it be known that I carried the camera with me. Only a small circle of friends knew, even then I was always embarrassed to take photos of what I wanted. What was the point of carrying it around then? Yes, I realized that after & began to not care.

When I started community college I would find myself reaching into my bag to capture something, but would stop myself. I fought with myself for months on the subject of just taking my camera out to snap a photo. It would only be a few seconds, why was I making it into such a big deal?

I found it to be like taking a selfie. I was the most comfortable taking photos when I was alone. No questions asked, nobody to judge, & especially nobody to tell me that what I was doing was stupid.

I captured pictures of the sky, the clouds after a light rain, flowers that I had seen on campus. Whatever my heart desired, I was able to capture it & share it with myself. I know why I didn’t share my photos; I didn’t want any negative comments to discourage the little progress I had already begun to make.

Driving home from class, I’d pull over sometimes to try & capture the way the sun was shining on a particular tree. The way the grass waved in the wind making it look like a huge sea of green.. It was a wonderful hobby that I thought I would keep to myself.

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Over the years & after accumulating many different cameras I never actually gained any skills. Sure I can capture family candids, an occasional good selfie here & there, but nothing that phenomenal in my eyes.

Fast forward about 5 years, I haven’t even touched my cameras. Batteries dead, no memory cards to be found. They’re practically antiques compared to my cell phone that I had grown to use at all times. From concert videos, selfies, & everything else one would need a camera for; my phone could do it all just as good or even better than anything else I had. Except for vlogging…

I started my YouTube channel for various reasons (we’ll get more into that in another post), but I didn’t think I’d actually continue to make videos. So the thought of investing in a good camera was out of the question. Why invest in something so expensive when it had nothing to do with my career goals (at the time)?

After a year of frustrating myself with low quality videos I decided to finally invest into a camera. The plan was to use it solely for my YouTube videos. Uploading at a better quality to hopefully bring better content for my viewers, & that was that.

I was so focused on my video quality that it never crossed my mind that I can use my camera for photos as well. (Go figure.) Anyway, the first time I used my camera to vlog was while on a hike. I brought it with the intention to vlog, but ended up being able to capture (what I thought) were beautiful photos like the one below. (Check out how the trees in the middle form a heart. I love it.)

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Adding goals that involved photo taking didn’t even cross my mind at all. I did my best to carry my camera with me at all times in case I did want to vlog, but other than that my phone continued to be my go-to when it came to capturing things.
I didn’t want to become ‘that person’ that carried their ‘fancy’ camera with them taking photos of what-have-you with no actual skill. The opinions of others filled me with fear & I stuck to my phone until an opportunity came about…

Other than being asked to take candids during family gatherings, I figured my hobby would consist of just that. Family & nature shots when the sky was looking right, but the universe had other plans.

One night during a shift at Rosecrans Radio my boss suggested that I take photos during our shows to use as promo & a sort of behind the scenes. Another co-worker suggested that she’d bring her camera for me to use, I let her know she didn’t have to do that because I had my own.

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That whole week I was doing my best to learn the ins & outs of my camera other than the “movie mode” I used to vlog. I knew that trial & error wasn’t life or death, but I wanted to do my best at my new task.

Since then, I’ve used my camera on various occasions. Every week at Rosecrans Radio I do my best to capture candid moments of the hosts & artists on the mic. I’ve also taken the opportunity to take photos during concerts. From J. Cole, to Kendrick Lamar, & Cozz at Day N Night Fest, along with ‘mini’ shoots for friends. It’s something I truly enjoy.

I don’t know if I’ll ever become ‘known’ for my camera skills, my edits, or my YouTube videos; but if I don’t take a shot at it now then I’ll never know. Who knows how my camera skills will develop over time. Hopefully my hobby can turn into something I can get paid for one day.

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