Picking Up the Camera

You see, that’s me looking at the path I am currently on. I can see clearly the stuff directly in front of me, and I can see the path I’m taking, but it’s blurry and not very clear. But I can see it, over there, that way.

The path
Taken at Lynde Shores in Whitby when I first got the camera. I think I was only using Lightroom for enhancement at the time.

I guess I have to start a little further back. My wife Sue and I have been together since 1994. That’s almost 22 years this spring! I will blog a lot about her as she had been around for so long and she is a huge part of my life. I’m just not sure if I’m including her out of adoration, or revenge. Better mind yourself now Sue, I’m a blogger lol. And you can bet she is my second follower. Much like my Mom, she’s gonna mind what I write!

So, Sue joined a camera club about seven years ago or more. She enjoyed taking photos and being part of a group. It was the Scarborough Camera Club.  I on the other hand, had found my community with a wonderful group of runners in the Beaches, the Stellar Runners.

Sue made fast friends with a group of women at the club and before I knew it, I was the designated driver for camera outings. I really didn’t mind so much, as I enjoyed the people and I was fast becoming friends with a number of them. But I must say, being on the outings and not being a photographer … well it was very boring. Like watching paint dry to be exact. I’d be like “Aren’t you finished yet?” “How many more pictures can you take of that one weed?” “It’s the same thing no matter where you stand, duh.” I was, at the best of times, an irritating child saying “When, oh when, will you be finished?”

I really had no comprehension or appreciation at all for the creation of that ‘perfect picture.’ The places, the process and the projects were lost on me. So I stayed relatively removed, a dispassionate observer. But something was happening to Sue’s eyes over this time. She kept complaining of her eyesight getting worse and we went through the phase of buying new glasses every six months, and sometimes sooner. But the inevitable happened. She had an operation and lost the sight completely in one eye. I think that was May 2014. August 2014 she woke up and she had little sight left in the other eye. She was declared legally blind.

Sue is an adapter. I don’t mean the type you plug into a socket or electrical dodad, but someone who has incredible resiliency. She’s like Jodie Foster’s character Nell, when she says it’s like being “A tay in the wind.” Sue bends, she sways, she swirls, and she ducks as adversity throws crap her way. This sounds so flowery and easy I know,  but trust me it hasn’t been. I ignore here in this post, the frustration, rage, anger and depression that is at the forefront of every huge shift in our lives. It is not easy, but I admire the hoops she jumps through and the places she is willing to go, anything, just to not give up. She has been my pillar of strength and an example of the courage of the soul. She has made me a better person for being in her presence.

Now blind, Sue never dreamed of giving up photography. In fact, quite the opposite. She wanted to become a really good blind photographer. Duh? She researched tools and adaptive devices that would help. But something was slowly happening with her friends. The invites on group outings were slowing down. They seemed reluctant to take her out. I heard accidentally, of photo shoots where Sue had not been invited. Truth was, most of her friends were scared she would get hurt, fall down, lost, or worse while out with them. They didn’t know how to help her navigate the world blind so they just stopped.

Now for circumstances outside this post but for a future blog I’m sure, I had given up my  Stellar Runners. I was slowly recognizing that Sue was becoming increasingly ostracised and alienated. I knew the truth. If I was to keep her involved in the photography thing, I would need to join the club with her. That would mean participating in a pastime that up-until-now I had found about as exciting as watching paint dry.

So Sue offered to buy me a camera. In another post I will go over that process and how I landed with my Nikon D7200 which, I absolutely adore. Plus I’ll cover all the lenses I acquired, the few dozen Udemy courses that taught me all I know, and all the post-processing programs I bought. Then there’s also the off-camera flashes, studio equipment, along with more bags and gear and stuff. You know what I mean!

That was June 2015, the beginning of the summer. I turned off the television and threw myself into this hobby. I haven’t turned the television on yet. The photography opened a world within myself that I did not know existed. I thought creativity was a gene, something you were either born with, or you just didn’t have it.  I’ve learned that’s not true. I can learn how to become more creative, to see and look at things differently. I already see the changes in my photos and in my life. There are things I now see that I never did before. David DuChemin says in his video series,  The Created Image, “In order to take more interesting photos, we have to become more interesting persons.”

I am just at the start of my journey and the path ahead I can just make out, although it is blurry. I am spending each day becoming a more interesting person. Try it with me. Your photography and your life, will only be enriched.

Ex nihilo nihilo fit
Out of nothing, nothing comes

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