I’m sure all of us have fond memories of some picture we took that we are particularly proud of. Those of us who are photographers can probably further pick out the shots that shaped you as you are today. Today, I will discuss perhaps the four most important shots for me thus far. Without further ado, I present the shots in chronological order.
Those of you who know me well will also know this shot well, as I use it on all of my screensavers and as my Flickr avatar. This shot was taken on perhaps the most exhilarating trip I have ever been on – a trip to Manu National Park in Peru. This park is well known as having perhaps the highest diversity on the planet. More bird species live within the park than in all of the United States and Canada alone and 10% of the bird species in the world can be found within the park. Professional birders who spend a good deal of time in the park have bird counts exceeding 500 – just within the park. In the 10 days that I was in the park, I saw six species of monkey, 14 total species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles and amphibians, myriad insects, and over 100 species of birds. The park is most famous for its macaw clay lick and for being one of the few places in the world that giant otters are still common. Next to the birth of my two children and getting married, perhaps the most memorable moment of my life came there when I came across a jaguar in the jungle.
Despite all the wondrous scenery and wildlife though, my camera was a relatively simple point and shoot. One morning, when we woke up early to raft on an oxbow lake, I thought the effect of the mist on the lake was quite pretty so I took a shot. Upon coming home and flipping through my photos, a number of people asked me to stop on this photo. My brother in law used it as a screensaver and it scored 98/100 on a very tough Flickr critique group. What this photo taught me was that I did have the talent to take good pictures. Unbeknownst to my wife, Nelya, at the time, this picture is what launched me into photography as a hobby and the endless expenditures since then. Eventually someday I plan to return to Manu with the proper skills and equipment to get some truly amazing wildlife pictures.
The next shot might at first seem rather plain until you learn the history of it.
This picture, which I have reduced due to soon to be obvious reasons, was taken of the famous Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai. We stayed there for two nights, a truly unforgettable experience. I had just purchased my Canon 5D and this was the first real chance to use it. I wandered around the hotel for some time, taking pictures. Some time after returning, I decided to try out this thing called Microstock. I signed up for several sites, eventually joining IStockPhoto, Shutterstock, and Fotolia. To my amazement, this photo sold extremely well. I estimate that to date I have earned over $500 for this one photo. Sure, for a professional photographer this isn’t very much. However for me this is a good chunk towards a new lens. This one photo taught me that I do have the ability to create photos that sell and since then I have become ever more active on the Microstock sites. Today, my hobby is almost completely self sufficient and I buy new equipment with the proceeds from my stock sales and small jobs that I get. While the first photo got me into photography, this photo allowed me to get the equipment I truly needed to progress.
This next photo is nothing special in terms of subject or skill, but it is very symbolic to me.
This is one of the earliest shots that I took with my then new MP-E 65. I knew before I bought it that this was going to be a fun lens, but something funny happened as I started to take pictures of insects. I have always had empathy towards animals like birds and mammals, which I suspect our much more intelligent than we make them out to be. However, when I started entering into the insect world I noticed that insects are amazing creatures as well. I strove more and more to find interesting subjects to photograph and photos like this set me off on a path of finding even more interesting pictures of insects. This is a process still ongoing – but when I am not on vacation I usually spend my photographing time getting shots of insects like these. (OK, I know spiders aren’t insects but you get the point)
The final picture is a recent one that I have already displayed on this blog.
What has since changed me with this shot is that people have really liked this. At the photo alias at Microsoft I received more positive feedback than I have for any other shot. Granted, this shot has some ways to go before someone would hang a print of it on their wall, but it signifies that I am continuing to improve. If I keep working and striving to improve, eventually I will reach a point where I can make fine art prints of my photos. I hope within this year this photo has been supplanted by another even better photo, signifying that as I try harder my skills are improving.
No related posts.