At the camera club this year, we started a mentoring program. I’m not sure exactly what it is all about, and neither are those that recommended that we have one, but none-the-less, we were going to start one. I had not planned on being a mentor and hadn’t even given it a thought. However, there was this one new person joining the club. I liked her ‘feeling’ and her presentation. She seemed friendly, warm but most importantly, enthusiastic. She said she loves photography and wanted to learn about post-processing.

Flat Iron Building, Toronto. Taken with Nikon D7200 but edited with Iphone 6 apps.

Without much thought, I found myself telling her that I would mentor her. I mean, who better for this job as I have tried almost all  photography post-processing programs on the market over the last year.  So as we talked further about her learning goals and such, I found myself giving her my Flickr and Instagram accounts so she could see my photographs and the types of finishing I do.

“Besides,” I told her, “someone once asked me if they could give me some feedback on a photo. I told them it really would have no impact on me as I have never seen a photo of theirs so I can’t qualify the suggestions or comments.” This was not said in an egotistical manner, but rather a realization that we have to have and be able to exhibit a certain amount of knowledge and expertise to be able to share with another our experience. Otherwise it’s just an opinion and quite frankly, I do my photography for myself and for my tastes. If you like it, that’s just a secondary gain.

So this brought me to my Flickr account and I scrolled through it, trying to see it with new eyes, with the mentorees eyes. I did say to her, you will notice a difference and a progression in my photos. Wow, I wasn’t kidding. Take for instance this photo. One of my first, where I also did post-processing, most likely all in Lightroom and it was amongst the first photos I ever posted.

Dundurn Castle, Hamilton. One of my first posts on Flickr.

I thought this was just about the best photo that had ever been taken and that I was just so brilliant to have thought of taking this angle. I thought it unique, different and ever so creative. Sue never said a thing, letting me revel in my excitement and splendor. But as time went on, and I became better at photography, I forgot about those first photos, those first attempts. But as I scrolled today, there it was, still there for all to see. Yes, what a long journey since that photo. And Sue did tell me the truth, many months later. Everyone takes that photo. It’s a basic newbie photographer’s angle where we play with the background of the sky. And she was right. As I looked, I saw all the other buildings against the sky, in brilliant blues, golden sunsets and magenta sunrises. And I can now look at this photo, without the awe and amazement. I see the first attempt, the beginner composition and processing and know I have come so far since that photo. If it didn’t have value on my Flickr account, except that I might see progression, I might take it down!

The lesson in reviewing all my posted photos was the recognition of how much better I have become in this time. If I had not gone over the photos, I might not have experienced that feeling of “Ya baby, you’re really doing much better work now!” kind of excitement. But best of all, is the feeling of excitement as I think about where I might go and be taken over the next year in my photography. The idea of experiencing another day like this, in the future, whereby I’m lookng at today’s photos and comparing them with the present and thinking “Ya baby,  I’ve come a long way.”

Go ahead. Review your photos. You owe it to yourself!

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