Summer Hobbies …

330Summer is finally here in the woods … along with a mega-crop of mosquitoes, they are the talk of the town “the worst year in a long time”. Their presences can invade and ruin summer plans, outside work, and even hobbies.

Just try something as simple as taking a photo of a small flower or a bird! Picture this .. it is hot outside, but for bug protection, you need to wear long pants and long sleeves, socks, shoes and then cover yourself in a thick layer of bug spray. Just focusing the camera is a monumental task with clouds of mosquitoes buzzing all around and at least a dozen of them biting you on the hands and face … it really does not work very well and it definitely takes the fun out of it.

Nature photography is a passion of mine, so I am not going to let those little, bloodsucking, bugs stop me .. but, they did ruin my pictures yesterday. Hopefully, the birds will eat them all up soon or a big wind will blow them over to Wisconsin.

Photography is my hobby, it means a lot to me and I am finding, it also defines me in many ways. I am a self-taught photographer … not really a beginner, but far from professional. My education came from a great book (by Jim Miotke) to get me started, a day workshop here and there and lots of trial and error experience. Every time I go out with my cameras, it is a learning experience and it forces me to look at my natural every day world in different ways … I see the art in nature, I learn about plants and animals, I travel to new “natural” places in search of photos and I have also learned the value of patience and especially to appreciate the luck involved of being in the right place at the right time for those really special pictures … it is a wonderfully fitting hobby for me.

A friend of mine is currently taking a one-week, intensive nature photography class. Seven days in the woods hiking and learning about photography from a professional … the whole thing sounded rather exciting and fun when I first heard about it … So, I anxiously investigated it further – thinking it sounded like it would be something perfect for me.

After learning more about it, I realized .. yes, it is wonderful – but, it is not for me. Why not? Besides the high financial cost, I am not sure this would add to the joy I find in taking pictures. This is a serious, intense structured learning environment with 5am hikes followed with day long lectures. There are work assignments, picture critiques and grades … too much like work for me (I am a teacher). Photography for me is a fun, self-directed, creative learning hobby I am afraid that this would add stress to it by turning it into work or trying to follow a guide of right and wrong ways to do it.

I love to learn and I take photos because I enjoy it. I challenge myself and critique my own creations … I want to do it just for the fun of it. So, for now it will remain a hobby without guidelines or directions … maybe it is the freedom of learning my way that I enjoy? When I am ready to make photography more than a hobby, this week long class will be my starting point … the instructor, Craig Blacklock, is an excellent photographer (a link to his work – The North Shore, subject which just happens to be another passion of mine) … hmmm … maybe I should reconsider?

Everyone should have a hobby. Hobbies are one of the healthiest gifts you can give yourself. It keeps your mind thinking, your body active, it is relaxing, you continue to learn and grow and you may discover new talents that you never knew you had. And, sometimes, you have the opportunity to turn it into something more …

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~ by bearyweather on June 19, 2009.

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