I really enjoy my job. Last weekend I hung out on the edge of the stage at the Troy Rodeo for a whole evening, taking photos and soaking in the sights and sounds. Friday night I went to Troy’s first home football game of the season – and this week I’ll probably head down to Montgomery County to take pictures as Winfield’s Warriors square off at the 50-yard-line.
Point being I get to play around with a camera for half of my job, and I’m pretty happy about that.
As much as I like writing long stories (and believe me, there’s two articles tipping the scales at 1,000 words that I’m sitting on for next week) shooting photos at local events like the Rodeo or the Lincoln County Fair feels like such a true way to capture the moment. I’m a big fan of candid shots, capturing people in the moment, getting those unguarded expressions on “film.” It just feels like such an honest way to report things.
Amusingly, though, photography is not and probably will never be my strong suit. I started taking photos grudgingly in college because I had to, and the same held true for my first job as well.
I actually had to buy my own camera to invest myself in the mechanics of photography. Before then, I just slapped the settings to automatic, took your bog-standard group-and-grin photos, and cared nothing for the finer details that go into crafting a good picture. Once I had some real skin ($$$) in the game, it made me perk up and actually learn what the heck ISO was.
And I’m still not great at it. It still takes me time to dial the settings on my camera in to get a decently lit and non-blurry photo, which is different from writing for me. I can sit down and crank out a news story without thinking about the details. I know how to do that by instinct at this point.
This is what amuses me about the situation. My personality is such that if I can’t be great at something, I immediately want to walk away, even if I am very interested in that thing. I like to swoop in and master. If I can’t figure something out relatively quickly, it frustrates me, and I tend to want to drop it.
It’s a boon and a bane, because this all-or-nothing-mentality makes me great at some things and absolute garbage at others, but it’s just who I am. Which is what makes photography the outlier. I’m not great at taking photos. I’ve become competent, and every so often I’ll actually look at a picture of mine and say, “oh, that’s good,” in a surprised voice, but I’m not great at it.
Yet I still keep trying and failing, and am enjoying trying and occasionally succeeding.
I’m not really sure what it is about it that keeps me invested, and I really wish I could figure that out – because there’s a lot of other things in life I’ve dropped (things I wanted to succeed at, like life-goal level things) that I let slide because I got frustrated.
Writing fiction. Relationships.
Maybe if I figured out why I can stick with photography despite it’s frustrations, I could finally improve on some other areas too. It would be nice. Until then, I’ll just stick to what I know.