Why I Love Taking Photos is Easy to Explain. How is Harder.

And here we are at #NaBloPoMo Day Five…

I’ve been telling you a lot about myself, and yesterday gave you all some insights on why my photography is so important to me. That was easy. But trying to explain HOW I take my photos is a lot harder.

I’m honestly not sure I know myself! Some of my talented photography friends have told me I have an ‘eye’. And I guess I do have a gut feel. But I’ll try to explain my methods.

First, here are my tools – my Nikon D7000 DSLR camera and my two favourite lenses. The one on the camera is a Nikkor 16-85mm all-purpose lens, and my hefty zoom lens is a Nikkor 7-300mm. I have a few other lenses that I use occasionally, but I wouldn’t be without these two!One of the great features of my D7000 is the fact that it can hold two SD cards, so I’m never left stranded with a full SD card and no back ups.

IMG_1932IMG_1935Of course, I also use my iPhone 5 to shoot photos on the fly.

As for my methods, here’s what I usually do with the Nikon gear.

  • If I’m going to something formal, I try to go early to the event walk around to familiarize myself with my surroundings before I shoot anything. It also gives me an opportunity to make up a litte list of the shots I expect to take.
  • I stake out a spot that will give me the best vantage point for shooting a range of photos, both close up and farther away. Because I’m short, I often put myself in front of the tallest people in the room, giving me a clear view, and I’m not in anyone’s way!
  • I usually try to set my camera to the A, or Aperture setting, if the light is good enough. I only revert to the auto setting when it’s absolutely necessary, but that’s my personal preference.
  • It’s also a personal choice, but I always look into the viewfinder, rather than use the window view. True, the window is larger, but the reaction time is longer, and I don’t like the photos as much.
  • I almost never use flash unless I absolutely have to. I try to fiddle with my ISO instead.
  • I take hundreds of photos, so I have plenty of shots to review when I download them onto my computer.
  • Aside from the occasional cropping, or a slight sharpening, I don’t tend to edit or enhance my photos that much. I want people to see them in their just-shot state. It’s me, not Photoshop, and it’s what I’m most comfortable with.
  • I’m VERY fussy. I will gladly sift through a thousand photos to post what I think are the best 200.

Now, if I’m just shooting for pleasure, say, scenery or wildlife, I’ll scout things out, often with my monocular to find interesting plants or birds, if I’m lucky.

No matter what I do, I am totally in the zone, and I love every minute of it!

So, whether you have a camera like mine, or you love your little point and shoot – get out there and snap away!

Shoot what you’re interested in. Shoot a lot. Keep your eyes open for the unexpected, because they will make some of your most memorable photos. 

I remember attending a Remembrance Day ceremony a few years ago, when suddenly, two uniformed soldiers stood in front of me. I quickly snapped them together in their identical uniforms, and was delighted with the result.  And it was pure luck.

Photo by Cathy Browne

One of my favourite Remembrance Day photos

And then there was this shot, which I decided at the last minute to photograph in black and white. It was a shot of an aerial acrobat high in the air, so I wasn’t at all sure I’d capture it. When I finally saw it on my computer, I actually cried. It reminded me what I’m capable of.

Photo by Cathy Browne

This one is special to me

Life can be an #EyeOpener when you least expect it. Get out there. Do what you love.

And go where your talent takes you…


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