Know Thyself

Why is the ski blue? What is air made of? How many different animals are in the world? The number of questions that we can think of can really be endless.

I believe one of the biggest questions a person can ask and really reflect on is who am I and where do I fit in? Now that’ really two questions but I believe both can be summed up in the phrase “Know Thyself”.

The Greek Philosopher and scientist Aristotle (384 BC -322 BC) said “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”

Rather than start a discussion on philosophy (of which I am far from qualified) I decided to apply this question to myself. Specifically in my pursuit and knowledge of photography. Where do my skills lay and where do I need improvement.

I truly believe that to follow the passion of being a photographer is really a lifelong journey. But that journey can cross many different paths and disciplines. I have greatly enjoyed photographing nature and wildlife for years. Now I am learning to capture and portray images of events. The people, the emotions, the excitement. Event photography can really be challenging, yet very satisfying to capture. While I have photographed a few events I had to admit to myself and I have a lot to learn.

The more I thought about it the more I began to realize that event photography is really about photographing people. While Portrait photography focuses specifically on taking close up pictures of people I knew that I didn’t want to just stop there. I realized that this was an area that I needed to strengthen – the ability to get good close up pictures of people.

The hanging question “know thyself” needed an answer. Better yet a plan of action. How to get better at photographing people? I had an idea. I began by looking on the internet for advertisements looking for volunteer photographers. I remember going to Kijiji.ca one day founding over 400 listings of people advertising work in photography. (Wow. Talk about eeni-meeni-miini-moh in picking a photographer!)

After finding no volunteer positions available I thought why not create an event myself!

Step one – Finding a place to photograph people

That part was easy. While I hadn’t been to the Alberta Legislative Grounds for years I know that it was a wonderful place for taking images. People often have their wedding pictures there due to the beauty of the trees and flowers. My bride of seven years and I had our wedding pictures taken there.

Now to get familiar with the Legislative grounds I made plans to take my lovely bride and two of our grandchildren for photographs. That was on August 17th. Incidentally while we were there two different wedding parties were being photographed. Who would have guessed.

Step Two – Photograph more people

With photographing my bride and grandchildren under my belt I then set up an event on August 27th and invited various family and friends back to the Legislative Grounds for a family photo-shoot of individual and group photos.

This is the night before that photo shoot so I’ll be writing about that experience later.

Step Three – Setup a public photography event

With the help of a good friend – Portrait and Wedding Photographer Kevin Stephenson – I decided to set up a volunteer photography event at the Alberta Legislative Grounds – Portrait in the Park. The purpose of this event was to take pictures of complete strangers in single and group settings to get better at photographing people. This event is scheduled to take place on Saturday September 10, 2016. (This event will be set up through Facebook and Kijiji.ca on soon).

The people will be photographed for free and I’ll be able to further my portfolio and comfort level in working with people. Everybody wins.

So now to put my skills to the test. I’ve got all my camera gear packed with all the batteries charged.

… Photography is the most intense and rewarding career that I know. And I’m only just getting warmed up!

 

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