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Payoffs of Photography

Updated on November 11, 2012

What photography means for me

I never really thought about the payoffs of photography until a SquidWoot challenge set me searching for a photograph to write about. Thanks to the deadline pressure of the challenge I picked a few photographs to make the final selection and along the way realized some of the ways that I have benefited from Photography.

My final pick of course was an old abandoned photograph of a spider with its egg sac but I looked at a few others along the way like this accompanying photograph of a famous waterfall in Kerala, India.

But first the payoffs........

All photos in this lens © Vinod K Pillai

The Payoffs for me

As a photographer, I get numerous opportunities to add to my learning and look at the world a little differently. Sometimes it is just a new perspective, while at other times, it is an unexpected encounter. This is sufficient payoff for me while I struggle to discover and master the challenges of the brand new world of digital photography. “Brand new” because I learnt my photography in the old days when you had to load a film roll before you took pictures. I have moved on, although there are many who remember the old days with nostalgia and hate all this new point and shoot stuff.

I thought the debate was over, but when I recently came across a friend who was hanging on to his old film cameras and refusing to touch the digital SLR presented to him by his son-in-law, I realized that this was not really a settled issue.

Film vs Digital Poll

What do you think about film and digital photography?

See results

The Payoff Poll

Why not another poll?

I have mentioned the biggest payoffs for me, but there are numerous oher benefits and payoffs if you stand behind a camera. This would largely depend upon the kind of photography you do.

According to you, what are the big payoffs of photography ?

See results

Making choices and discovering payoffs

I discovered my payoffs from photography when I went about choosing a photograph to write about.

It is not easy choosing one from among the many different photographs in one's portfolio - different times, themes and technical perfection - especially when are all your own.

My initial choice was my first pic of dawn.


I value this image because, living in a large metropolis, I had to wake up early and drive ten kilometers to reach this spot where I could click the open landscape from a vantage point. Most days would be cloudy and all my effort would be wasted as I stared at an overcast sky. Finally when I managed to click this image, I was thrilled. I treasure this pic because it is the fruit of my labor over several days. It also taught me the problems of dealing with a bright sky and dark landscape and getting the right exposure to strike the best balance. The learning involved in the process was priceless.

As I mulled over it, I realized that while the picture meant so much for me, there was nothing much for the viewer. Of course the soft morning light and the pastel colors represented the scene quite accurately as I saw it and the layered landscape all the way into the distance gave it some depth but so what? I would have to narrate this story to make some sense of it. The image wouldn't speak much. In any case others who looked at it also had nothing much to say (perhaps maintaining a polite silence).

I had to search for something else.

The Final Choice

With the deadline of the Squidwoot challenge weighing heavily I was grateful that my search ended soon when I came across an old unprocessed raw image that was shot in November 2010 but not made use of. It was a picture of a spider with its egg sac.

The photo also exemplified the fact that the real payoff for me from photography was the exploration and discovery that was involved and seemed to be a parallel strand resulting in valuable learning.

The image was unprocessed because I had not used it until now. The fact is I was not happy with the image at first glance. I was shooting handheld in natural light and the sunlight was all over, in the wrong places, causing flares as I struggled to get the right angle to get a good view of the spider. I had never seen these egg sacs and neither did I know that this was a spider. I took the picture so that I could go back home and study the image to decipher the strange subject of my photograph.

As I said I was neither interested in nor was I searching for spiders. I was looking for a small shrub of Tulsi (holy basil), as it is such a sacred plant in India and needed to be in my portfolio. It was while taking a macro shot of the tulsi shrub that I saw the egg sac attached to the floral spike of the tulsi.

It was not very difficult to find out that this was a green lynx spider with it's egg sac. It is commonly found in parks and gardens in India and is called Peucetia virdana and is related to another species (Peucetia virdans) that is found in United States and Mexico. I discovered that the female builds a silken egg sac, attaches it to some shrub and stays on to look after the egg sac for about two weeks until the young spiderlings emerge from the sac.

I took out my photograph did some cropping, noise reduction and sharpening so that I can put it up here and tell you the story of how I stumbled upon a spider and learnt something about the world of spiders.

And about the payoffs of photography for me!

Green Lynx Spider with eggsac
Green Lynx Spider with eggsac

Thank you for your visit. It will be great if you can spare a few more minutes to add a few line in this guestbook. Trust me, while I enjoyed making this lens, what really matters for me is the way readers look at it. Suggestions, comments, views are all welcome.

A few more minutes......

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    • Digory LM profile image

      Digory LM 

      5 years ago

      Nice lens. Thanks for sharing your photographs and stories with us.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice photography page, many thanks :D

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Just came back to bless this beautiful lens:)

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      6 years ago

      Lovely sharing of your perspective on photography. That dawn photo is especially appealing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very usefull!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome images. Pictures can tell such great stories and spark the imagination.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 

      6 years ago

      I like your dawn picture very much. You can use a graduated neutral filter to get scenes like this as well, but I have never done that. However, we have green lynx spiders here, and I got a couple of good pictures of one.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Stunning pic!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      Interestingly enough, I find I pay closer attention to the world around me when I have my camera. I love that spider photo!

    • Rangoon House profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      It is humbling that you continue to learn and go to such great lengths to develop a skill you already have. Blessings.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      great lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens and wonderful photos!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      The photo with a spider is amazing, thank you for sharing.

    • CoolFool83 profile image


      6 years ago

      Love photography. Awesome lense!

    • profile image


      6 years ago


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Enjoyed reading your lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I agree with your choice - the spider photo is spectacular.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Lovely and informative lens. The investment in good camera equipment is well worth if we use it. - Great photos, BTW! :)

    • MrMojo01 profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice lens and great pics!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Loved hearing the story behind the photograph. This photograph of something you didn't expect could be a parable about life. We often 'discover' things as a bonus while searching for something else. :)

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 

      6 years ago

      Nice pictures your winning choice is amazing, very interesting story.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome! Keep it up..

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      6 years ago from UK

      An interesting story, thanks for sharing - blessed

    • TTMall profile image


      6 years ago

      Very good information. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This was a fantastic story, with excellant photos. Great job with this lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice work... Best wishes for all success!

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 

      6 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Great story and picture! Thanks for sharing! B : )

    • nicks44 profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful ... You really had me thinking of picking back up my camera and getting to work :)

    • Rosaquid profile image


      6 years ago

      I love all you photos, and I agree with your final choice. It's beautiful!

    • octopen profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens, thanks for sharing!

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 

      6 years ago

      Great lens ! Informative. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago


    • pheonix76 profile image


      6 years ago from WNY

      This is a wonderful lens, thanks for sharing, and for giving us something to think about. I love taking pictures and try to take as many as I can. :)

    • imjens profile image


      6 years ago

      I love taking pictures! I'm not that good, though..

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 

      6 years ago

      Photography goes hand-in-hand with my writing and my art. My camera is always at hand. And I love gathering photos of people I love. I also love to see images captured by others, like the three images you have shown here. The smokey landscape is my favourite.

    • Snowsprite profile image


      6 years ago from Cornwall, UK

      Great lens. I think there are many pay-offs from photography, creative, adventure, challenge etc. Very good spider photo don't think I would get that close not even with telephoto or macro lens and a very very long pole!

    • SheilaMilne profile image


      6 years ago from Kent, UK

      In fact, I like the sunrise and its soft colours. It does gain from the narrative, it's true, but to me, spiders are spiders and I'm not fond of them .:)

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I really like the soft monotone look of the landscape with hazy sky. Nice lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I really like the photo. I especially like the way you can see through the spiders legs, against the darker background.

    • profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing, I really love your work.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      6 years ago

      Useful lens, Thanks i am glad it is a payoff for you!


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