Payoffs of Photography
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 Â© 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?
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 ?
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!
Photography Stuff on Amazon
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.