Like most, if not, all families, especially in the 90s, and being the youngest, I was often the one in charge of documenting family vacations, events, etc., and it was still mostly a film-centric photography back then.
Then came in point and shoot digital cameras, phones, and whatnot, my job as the family photographer has lessened through the years. And with that, photography has been an after thought and more of a chore to me.
Come 2010, in the middle of my first year in medical school, I was craving for a new outlet other than my then current (and still active hobbies to this day) hobby of PC gaming, collecting action figures, and playing/collecting guitars. I needed another escape…
Then I had the urge to try out digital photography, and in October of 2010, I purchased my first DSLR, the Nikon D5000, and a few months later, in December 2010, I then made a Flickr account, where I can place most of my photos and a much better archival manner than it would have been in Facebook and such – and in Facebook, it severely compresses photos unlike Flickr.
Not only will it be a great place for archive/backups or used as an image hosting service, but I knew I can learn from the photos of other members and get to ask questions in discussions within the groups in Flickr. Finally, the most important for me is that if there will be any comment, either compliment or criticism, it will be from strangers that will give honest to God feedback. And in terms of criticism, they will be more constructive that I can definitely learn from.
From December 2010-December 2018, many things have changed, from my style of photography, my skills (I hope), to my upgraded gear, I was still actively posting in Flickr, but I was never the one that is the most INTERACTIVE; I hardly reply to comments (I do, but not always), to private messages, to play along in group discussions, etc. I mostly post and run…
That changed earlier this year, where I thought it is time to start really building friendships in Flickr, interact in groups, and just increase my knowledge by befriending others and have them give me honest feedback, or simply have their photos that they’ve shared as an inspiration for my next photos in the near future.
And maybe that is why I fell in love with Flickr again – learning new things from other people’s photos, their feedback, and making new friends. Granted, there may be image hosting sites, maybe 500px, but I never made an account in other sites and stuck with Flickr through the years.
To put it into perspective, from December 2010-December 2018, I only amassed 450,000 total views for my account, then when I started being more interactive, from January 1, 2019-date of this posting, I have amassed more than 550,000 total views, thus, my total tally is now over 1 million total views for my account.
That number is mind-boggling for me! I am not a professional, and I will never be a professional. I am just a hobbyist and my day job is that I’m a physician. To think that I got a million total views and that I got more than half of that many views in less than a year, made me think, if I were more interactive in the past few years, maybe I could have broken the 2 million, maybe even 3 million total views by now, as more members will be aware of me and my photos for being more interactive.
But again, I have to get real, to think that there is still a million views in my account is really mind-boggling that there are people interested in seeing my photos, take the time to comment, and some others, interested enough to even follow me so they can keep tabs on my future posts.
And speaking of people following me, from December 2010-December 2018, I only have around 250 followers or less, and now, from January 1, 2019-date of posting, I now have nearly 400 followers – not a lot, sure, it isn’t anyways near a thousand, but hey, we are getting there… slowly yet surely.
Haven’t posted anything special in Flickr for my 1 millionth view, but I did just share a screenshot of the stat screen confirming 1 million views. However, here in WordPress, I think I just want to share my very first photo I post in Flickr and my most recent shot at the time of this posting.
Now now, my most recent photo may not be the most impressive after all these years, but I am still proud of this shot since this is my first real attempt at stroboscopic flash photography. Another thing I love about my progress in digital photography is that I try to learn new techniques, never blaming my gear, even back then when I just had the Nikon D5000 and the kit lens, always thinking that it is my skills that I need to improve and learn many techniques. Up to this day, there is so many things I can learn, and this is one of them: stroboscopic effect.
It showcased, though not obvious, how I combined the things that I learned through the years, and how I took advantage of my current gear to take this shot. It goes as follows:
I setup my Nikon D7200 on the Zomei Z699C tripod; I then used the Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility in my Android phone to frame myself and to make sure I was in focus (for the most part, since I am moving during the stroboscopic shot); I set up my Ginto Intervalometer’s delay and interval per shot, so I can be at the ready and anticipate the shot when I click on the shutter release; I then set up the flashes, the SB-910 facing towards me from above, the 2 SB-600 behind me facing the wall, and then the Nikon SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander on my D7200 hotshoe, set up on repeater mode and trigger the flashes each at 1/64th power, 4hertz, and a total of 8 flashes (based on my readings, you divide the number of total flashes you want by the speed/frequency of the flashes or hertz you desire, thus why I got 2 seconds shutter speed); knowing that I am shooting at 2 seconds based on the frequency and total number of flashes I want, I may be way overexposed, so I used my cheapo Andoer 77mm ND8 to lower down the exposure.
And thus, even if it isn’t my sharpest of photos (obviously, since this is a stroboscopic effect and I tried to stay still in one place instead of full motion), but it really showcased how I can just think of a shot and use the things I learned throughout the years, and use the gear I have collected throughout the years, and most importantly, I am not full of myself that I will not crave to learn new things.
Now let us look back at my very first DSLR and its kit lens, albeit I did get a flash for it back in the day (not a Nikon one, but Yong Nuo one), a sling strap for it (not the Black Rapid, but a knock off), and other accessories for my Nikon D5000, I want to show my first DSLR in its simplest… when I had nothing but itself – inspired me to work on my craft, have dreams of the gear that I have now, but never to ignorant that my photos that are bad or awful back then is due to the camera I have, instead, it was my lack of knowledge and skill. It taught me to be better.
Then fast forward to today, and my current camera and all the gear I have collected through the years (most of them are hand-me-downs from the Nikon D5000 days), though it may be a big upgrade from where I started (albeit not being mirrorless), and admittedly, the photos I’ve been taking have been what I envisioned in my head and have it come to fruition, I still owe it to my years using the Nikon D5000 and kit lens that made it an absolute pleasure to photograph with my Nikon D7200 and all my lenses, flashes, and all the rest of my gear, today. I don’t think I would have enjoyed shooting this much with my current gear, heck, I may not even have an improvement of my skills, if I always blamed my gear for bad photos. That is why the Nikon D5000 and kit lens is still with me, because I learned a lot and improved my skills.
Hopefully this post will serve as a reminder that we all started somewhere: I started in Flickr without even getting a single view per day, now here I am, averaging at least 2000 views a day – that may not be a lot compared to others, but for me, I never thought I would see such a thing for my account, not look, I have broken a million views, and more than half of that was amassed less than a year!
Look at my first photo, so simple, didn’t even use the popup flash for goodness sake, to my most recent, where I used a new technique that took advantage of my 3 flashes in repeater mode, combined with other techniques I learned through the years,
Then see my starting DSLR to my current DSLR and gear.
We all start somewhere. Thought I often dreamed of those numbers and those gear when I first started out, I knew, what was more important, was to upgrade my skills before I upgrade my gear.
With upgraded skills, comes upgraded photos, comes more views in your chosen site, and more confidence for when you finally upgrade your skills to ensure that you’d take advantage of the features of your new gear. But never ever be content with your skills. Especially if you are just a hobbyist like me and not a professional… Never be content with your skills… always find something to improve… read new techniques… experiment. And never blame your gear.
‘Til next time! PEACE!!
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