The Start of My Journey

I am a new landscape photographer having been at this for only three years. I am a software developer by trade. Here are the hobbies I had before landscape photography.

I played golf for many years and enjoyed traveling around the United States playing various courses. I was never any good and 16 was my lowest index ever but it was a lot of fun. Suddenly my interest stopped. It occurred at the same time I changed jobs, but I don’t know if those two are related.

I then started playing poker during the poker boom in the US. Tournaments was my specialty. I would travel mostly in California chasing the next big tournament. But this got boring after a while just sitting in casinos all day and taking bad beats.

So, now I am onto landscape photography. A couple of things inspired me to get a DSLR and start shooting. The first was an iPhone 4 photo I took of Donner Lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I must have been on my way to a poker tournament in Reno. It was a very nice scene where the lake was blue and the trees had snow. I thought, wow, what a nice picture.

The second thing was a photo I saw in an art gallery in Placerville, CA. I don’t remember much about it, but it was a lake with houses around it. I remember I was impressed with the sharpness. I also remember thinking that I could do this.

So, here started my journey into landscape photography. I bought a refurbished Nikon D3300 with 18-55mm kit lens and started taking pictures. I have since upgraded to a Nikon D500 and getting into the not-so-virtuous cycle of acquiring and wanting to acquire more gear.

I don’t know where I want this to go. I am still exploring all the options as a new photographer. Is it the perfect photograph I am after? It is the travel and experiences that’s most important? Is being in a gallery the goal? All the answers are yes to some degree, but what is a goal that is achievable? Ultimately, who am I trying to impress?

I do know that there are common threads between all my hobbies. The most appealing is that they all take intense concentration over a long period of time. Photography might seem to only occur when the camera is out, but it takes a lot of planning and scouting and general persistence to get the shot.

Another common thread is they all involve travel. This is my escape for day to day life in front of the computer as a software developer. Ironically, I still spend quite a bit of time editing photos on my Mac.

They are also very technical and require study and practice. Beyond learning the basics of camera operation, there is lot to learn about photographic techniques, composition and light that go into a good photo. Even studying art history is important.

I don’t know what all this means, but it will be an interesting journey finding out.