One of my realizations the past week had something to do with one of my hobbies – photography. I think that I have not learned anything new in the last months or even years and have basically stagnated.

Yes, I used to be proud of the fact that I know shat about photography, don’t read on it and that I just somehow end up with “good” photos. These days, saying that is a disgrace.

I realize that photography, as in any hobby, must be studied. One must read what one can and when one has time.

Like any other hobby, say for example, philately (my, how geeky :P), you just don’t keep on collecting stamps and mounting them up on albums. You read on how to properly remove stamps from envelopes and what are the best ways (what kind of album and what kind of mounting tape) to preserve them. You read on the history of stamps in general, history of stamps from a particular country (say, the Philippines) and say, the nature of commemorative and themed stamps as well as first day covers if you have any. You may also read on the value of your stamps in the market if that interests you.

Like any other hobby, say for example, gardening, you just don’t plant and plant. You read on the type of soil you have in your garden, how to improve it and what grows best in it. You read about what kind of plants grow best in your climate, and what kind of fertilizer to add and when, if you want robustness in growth or more flowers. You collect gardening books and magazines and in your zealousness and abundance of time, you also subscribe to newsletters and participate in forums. As you progress in your gardening hobby, you also accumulate tools and equipment that are more than just your little trowel, sprinkler and hoe.

I realize that I have not really been making a hobby out of photography. I have not read any books. I do not subscribe to any magazine or newsletter nor participate in any forum. I do not even read reviews on the latest cameras or accessories. I do not do anything other than take photos and post them.

I have not learned anything other than a little bit of Photoshop. What I know though is limited to correcting horizons, adjusting a little bit of levels and curves, smoothening, cloning and healing, adding watermarks and file info and nothing else. In my almost three and a half years of owning a digital SLR, the most important lesson I have learned is, “Do not Oversaturate.” And my, did I learn that the hard way. (Guilty, very guilty indeed!)

The past week has been enlightening for me. As a result, I now have a daily check list, and in that check list, “Allot 1 hour to reading on photography” is included. I can say this new resolution is a direct result of the great failure last week… or I can say that this is also a result of the realization that I have a camera that cost P52,000 (a lot back in 2007 and still considered a lot in 2010); I have camera bags from Crumpler and Lowepro; I have SD cards, card readers and a Macbook Pro with Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection; I have two batteries – and more importantly, I am looking at spending P16,500 in the next month for cleaning and repairs. If these facts are not enough, I do not know what else will push me to say, “Damn, I better make good on this expensive hobby or else it’s just a waste of a lot of my money.”

There, I said it.



Anyway, I thought it was about time I made myself a member of this particular popular forum..

And I stumbled onto this site courtesy of some person on Twitter and I decided to subscribe to its mailing list. I happen to like their weekend challenges, though I have never done any. I should though. I should. (That’s me making a mental note.)

I stumble on some good sites for photography and photoshop tutorials every now and then but I never bother to add them to my Bookmarks. I should though. It’s about time I become serious about this hobby, or at least behave like the hobbyist or enthusiast that I claim to be – because seriously, for someone who calls herself an enthusiast, I sure am lacking in enthusiasm.

Well, I suppose spending P16,000 more on a camera I do not fully utilize is enough to put my enthusiasm back on track, if not fuel it since it seems to be erstwhile lacking.