Sea Blue Lens

Shooting in Style


No, this isn’t a post about hairstyles. For our Find Your Eye course, Kat has asked us to write about our style of photographing. That is, not the style of photographs we take, but the way in which we take them . . . our “shooting style.”

I’m a girl who likes to travel light. I went to London for 10 days with only a carry-on bag. I recently flew to California for almost two weeks, again with just a carry-on. For everyday use, I carry a wallet-on-a-string sort of bag, just big enough for ID & credit card, a little cash, lip gloss, and cell phone. Pre-cell-phone, the rest of those things just went into my jeans pockets.

That’s why I was so enamored (and still am) with my little travel camera. Tons of functionality packed into a very small handful, a bit too big for a pocket but easily slipped into a little pouch to wear on my belt. Now that I have a dSLR, I’m researching and experimenting to find the perfect camera bag. For now, I bought the smallest one I could find just to protect the camera and allow me to safely transport it around. It’s not my ultimate solution, but it’s working for now.

As part of my travel light inclinations, I carry and use very little camera gear. I prefer to handhold my camera rather than use a tripod, even though I know and understand all the very good reasons for using one. I prefer natural light, and seldom use flash. I stick with one lens, though it is a zoom. I don’t use reflectors, remotes, filters, or other accessories, though that may change in time as I get to know my dSLR better.

At the present stage of my life, I seem to be mostly a weekend and vacation shooter. During the week, I’m in an office all day and tired when I get home. In the summer, I do go out with my camera after work sometimes, but this time of year I’m already feeling the pain of lack of light. After the change back to standard time next week, it will be dark before I get off work, so I’ll be doing all my shooting on weekends — and praying for good weather!

I tend to be a spontaneous photographer. That is, I photograph things I come upon, rather than setting out with a deliberate goal in mind. I almost always have a camera with me “just in case.” I will often go somewhere — a drive or a walk — planning to take photos, but not with the intention to shoot anything in particular. I ramble along, taking whatever catches my eye, whether it’s a wide-angle ocean vista or an insect on a flower, an old mill building or a reflection in a puddle.

When I get home and review the images on my computer, I love that moment of discovery when one of them makes me inhale and say Ohh! There might be two or three out of a hundred. But those are the ones that make it worth it. The rest . . . well, I learn from those. I often think, Well, too bad, that didn’t work. Or, Hmm, I wish I had tried . . .  Next time I’ll . . . .

In a way, I guess you could say I’m sort of a sloppy photographer. Or, to be kinder to myself, a casual one. But I’m not really satisfied with that anymore. Learning to think about what I’m doing, and trying to photograph with intention is a new experience for me, one that’s causing me to grow, and not just in my photography. I have a lot to learn, but I’m enjoying the process. I don’t ever want to stop.

The image at the beginning of this post has nothing to do with anything. In fact, I didn’t even take it. I was visiting my daughter and her significant other this evening when their parrot, Cayce, climbed onto my shoulder and began playing with my hair. My daughter took the photo with her iPhone and I really liked it. So here you go, Cayce, your 15 seconds of fame starts now!


8 thoughts on “Shooting in Style

  1. I enjoyed reading your post. I got this feeling of pure simplicity and how my life is not that at all. You describe your style with such ease and you know where you want to go. Learning is great and photography can be so diverse. There are many directions you can go with it. Enjoy your dSLR, they’re wonderful.

  2. Casual photographer…I like that! You’ve done a great job of identifying yourself and how that impacts what you do with a camera. Love the parrot on the shoulder!

  3. Your post resonates with me very much! I also feel like a casual photographer who is no longer satisfied with that.

  4. You know what you like Lee, and that confidence comes out in your words in this post. I like that! You are making choices that help support your growing interest in photography by traveling light, and having your camera with you at all times. It will be interesting to see how or if the dSLR changes things for you. So far, it sounds like you are figuring out how to make your new camera fit your style. Bravo!

  5. Lee,
    I enjoyed reading about your style and how your approach to photography is changing. I too love that “Oh!” moment, when you see something surprising you didn’t expect in an image. A special gift when that happens.

    I envy your ability to travel light – except in the case of my photography, I have never been able to do that – I always take too much.

  6. Your post was fun to read: light, airy and casual. Your style comes through even in your writing. You used the word sloppy then went to the “kinder” word casual, yet earlier you used the word spontaneous. I have to wonder if that word fits you best…casually spontaneous and confident. 🙂

  7. Hey Lee-
    I totally saw this style you describe when we shot together on Saturday. Traveling light, soup to nuts on what you’re shooting, and you being more intentional when you find a subject you like!! I too love the process of viewing my pics on the computer after the hunt is over. Confessing to a little peeking at the screen (sometimes while driving-I know that’s bad, bad, bad) before I get home.
    Hair style, parrot style, shooting style….it’s all good!

  8. This was a joy to read and to sum it up…I like your style. At times I too participate in the random or casual style of photography. It’s a nice break sometimes to just go out and play.

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