The joy of photographing

I’ve started sorting through this year’s photographs to find my ten favorite. I do this every year for a post just before the new year. See my past annual posts here.

I made more images this year than in any year before. But a lower percentage of them were good.

In 2020 I have used photography as a distraction from considerable stress. It hasn’t been only COVID — it’s also been family and work stress, at times intense. Sometimes it’s been too much to cope with all at once. Getting out with a camera let me take my mind off it for a while.

I photographed near home a lot; since I’ve been working from home, I’m here a lot. But I’ve also made some short trips just to make photographs. Whether by car or by bike, the trips themselves fill my bucket. I explore and see new places, or familiar places at different times of year. I especially enjoy the scents — the sweetness of new spring flowers, the freshness of mown grass and hay in the summer, the earthiness of fallen autumn leaves. It’s even been interesting to feel the weather: hot sun, cool overcast, rain.

Holliday Road Bridge

Wherever I stop for a photograph, I spend time with the subject. I get to know it a little by walking around it looking for the best angles. I enjoy it most when I’m in a remote place where others are unlikely to encounter me. I’m so self-conscious with a camera when I’m in public!

Central Indiana Telephone Co.

I photograph what seems interesting to me in the moment. Frequently when I look at the resulting images I see that the subject wasn’t that interesting after all, or that I couldn’t find an interesting way to see it. But it’s fun to try to find that interesting composition.

Maybe it’s just gravy when I nail a composition. I get so much pleasure out of simply using my cameras — the ones I’ve kept, anyway, after thinning the herd. I’ve shot my Yashica-12 a lot this year, and the more I use it the more I love it. Given that it’s a TLR, it’s a big brick in the hands. But its form factor fades away as I work the silken controls to control exposure and make the subject crisp, as I look through the magnifier built in over the focusing screen.

I’ve also shot the Olympus OM-2n often. I only got it this year and am still getting to know it. But that’s fun, too, when something about a new-to-me camera delights me for the first time.

I love it when I get a roll full of beautiful images. But even when I don’t, if I enjoyed everything about all the previous steps, I have no reason to be dissatisfied.

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23 responses to “The joy of photographing”

  1. marcusterrypeddle Avatar

    I should follow your example and get out more for photography. Work has been crap for a number of reasons and I’ve been unhappy about this and that. Getting out more might be the ticket. I often complain that I can’t get anywhere interesting because I don’t have a car, but maybe I just need to go to the regular places more often and look harder.
    Inspiring post. Thanks.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It does become tedious photographing the same things over and over — all I’ve figured out to do is look for details rather than broad shots.

  2. DougD Avatar

    Looking forward to the top ten! I’ll admit I haven’t shot a roll of film in over 20 years, but my rule of thumb was if I get one GOOD shot per roll I’m doing well.

    I think you’re doing better than my rule of thumb.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Doug! I don’t know that I get one truly good shot per roll but I do try.

  3. yuri rasin Avatar

    Thats’ a great looking bridge Jim. A lovely capture, great framing

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! It’s a great old bridge, restored recently after a tractor nearly destroyed it.

    2. fishyfisharcade Avatar

      I was just about to say the same. Beautiful colour and the the light is great. The red paint gives the impression that there might be a roller-coaster car about to rush overhead at any minute.

      1. Jim Grey Avatar

        It’s a wonderful bridge. Here’s a barrel shot so you can get a better feel.

        Holliday Road Bridge

  4. brandib1977 Avatar

    My images are always better when I feel connected to the moment, when I am actually feeling something whether it be joy, sorrow, wonder or whatever. That said, my pictures this year show how disconnected I feel most of the time because they haven’t been especially good.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      What I’m working on is making a good photograph no matter how I feel. I hope I can use that to learn to be more effective and useful when I’m down or upset or whatever.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        That is a useful and enviable skill! I love that you analyze these things and work to do better.

    2. Darts and Letters Avatar
      Darts and Letters

      as an aside here, I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit, your pictures have been great, IMHO!

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Agreed! I always thoroughly enjoy Jim’s images and his perspective. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. :)

        1. Darts and Letters Avatar
          Darts and Letters

          Sorry my note came off differently than what I intended. while I don’t think either one of you or Jim give yo9urself enough credit :-) I meant you in particular, Brandi after I saw what you wrote about your pictures showing how disconnected you feel most of the time because they haven’t been especially good. I think your pictures have been pretty great and that you’re selling yourself short. But that’s just my opinion

          1. brandib1977 Avatar

            Oh, sorry, Darts and Letters! That went completely over my head! Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words.

            It seems like every day requires effort to feel engaged with the world around me and I notice many changes in myself and how I approach things. It’s good to know you still like the photographic evidence. :)

  5. Reinhold Graf Avatar

    Hi Jim,
    same here, as end of the year is nearing I have to look for 12 nice images for my next year calendar :)
    As I make more images than all the past years, this will not be easy … we manage it by some kind of speed dating ;)

    Seeing your Yashica images reminds me that I have to care way more for my 6×6 cams and there are still some rolls of film in the freezer.
    My OM-2n joined my on a trip to Crete last year and I only used a 24mm lens there – it was so relaxing, working with that combo. Once you get used to the shutter speed ring, it is somehow intuitive using it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Wow, a super wide lens! When I shoot my OM-2n I shoot aperture priority mode, so I never touch the shutter-speed ring.

  6. Darts and Letters Avatar
    Darts and Letters

    that second Frame is neat, it’s so historic looking and it took another glance before I could see the building is historic and not the exposure. It’s just ghastly when they put the radio dishes on the side of things like that. But still, I can appreciate the architecture. I like your idea about picking out the best or favorite pictures of the year, I’m not sure if I’ve ever done that.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I shot that on very expired Kodak Tri-X, which gives it the ghostly look! It’s such an interesting little building.

  7. M.B. Henry Avatar

    I really neglected my photography this year, as most of it is travel related. I need to do way better about finding and shooting the beauty close to home <3

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s there, if you look for it!

  8. Khürt Williams Avatar

    I’m not looking forward to going through the crap I photographed this year. On the other hand, it might be easier to cull to just 10 given how little I took out my camera.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      At least there’s not much crap there then!

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