My favorite boy toy has been in love with the camera for years and I have the pictures to prove it too! (Click here for pictures of a younger boy toy with his camera.)
He’s encouraged me over the years to do it with him, with varying levels of success. Not that I’m stubborn or anything (cough, cough). Not that he wasn’t insistent that I do it exactly the same way he did it (more coughing). Over the last few years though, we got it figured out.
So our vacations don’t quite fit the norm of everyone else, as these pictures show from our recent trip to Maine. Our days might start at 5:30 am to catch the sunrise. It might not end until after midnight if we’re out doing some night photography. We catch up on our sleep in the middle of the day, when the light is flat.
He enjoys using a tripod and composing each scene to the nth degree, a holdover from his days of film when film and processing were expensive and took way too much money from our household budget. Me, I hand hold my camera and in a short period can shoot several hundred pictures. After that, I get bored waiting for him. Eventually I find someplace to sit and read while I wait for him to (yet again) get done.
Sometimes I amuse myself by taking pictures of him. It’s best to catch him from behind or when the camera is in his face so he’s not scowling at me. It did occur to him though that he might want to use some of these on his website and he got much friendlier about it!
There are other big differences in how we approach our photography. He’s blowing his up into 18″ x 27″ canvases to sell for hanging on the wall. Mine are going into a blog or photo album. His have to be perfect – people don’t want to pay for “it’s good enough”. Mine are “good enough”. I have limited patience and time for editing and processing them and because they’re so small on the screen, they don’t have to be perfect. My audience loves them as they are; his criticizes everything he does. Not everyone, but every year there’s a few customers who get nasty about it. I don’t know why they don’t just keep walking and feel they have to tell him what they think is wrong with his work and how they can do the same thing with their little point and shoot camera.
It’s taken us a long time to get to this point. He was critical that I didn’t do it the way he did. I responded by not bothering to take pictures. If I took pictures, I came home with all kinds of good things. He’d come home with a few, then complain that he didn’t get any good pictures. He’d give me advice, I’d ignore it, then find out the hard way why it was good advice – like when I tried taking pictures of the lightning several years ago. He insisted that I upgrade my digital camera several years ago and he was right about how the quality improved. But when I turned up my nose at learning Adobe Photoshop, he backed off and suggested I try Adobe Lightroom instead, which I love using.
Then one day he looked at my pictures and realized that I’d gotten very, very good at the photography. When I demurred, he told me to look around at the art fairs and art galleries that he liked checking out. He was right – my pictures were nearly as good as his and in some cases, even better. I definitely had an eye for composition. Funnier yet, I was asking him questions about Lightroom that he couldn’t answer. He’s still the king of Photoshop, but I’m not bad with Lightroom! He’s been more supportive of the way I do my photography and as a result, I’ve been much more receptive to his advice.
According to a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, sharing an interest good for a relationship as it prevents boredom and complacency, and encourages the brain chemicals related to pleasure and bonding. In the article, it talks how learning a new hobby from scratch is one way to go, but another way to consider is when one partner has a passion already. For the other partner, they have a build-in teacher and get bonus points for efforts. Of course, that has its pitfalls, as my husband and I found for ourselves. For the newbie, check the attitude, take direction, and don’t kill the joy for the partner with the passion. For the proficient partner – reward the newbie, be patient, and stay focused on the long-term goal of introducing your passion so the other partner will want to learn it.
At the end of the article, one of the partners commented on learning beekeeping with his wife saying,
“If you create fun, enriching experiences together, you reinvent yourself and your marriage. . .
you look at your partner in awe.”
[If you’re interested in improving your photography or other skills, check out this review of Lynda.com for inexpensive on-line training. I highly recommend it!]
I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com or write me at dogear6 [at] gmail [dot] com.