The Tuesday Inspiration: Distractions

by Helen Hooker February. 16, 2010 5082 views

I was really struggling to come up with something for today??s theme when it occurred to me that photography itself is actually a distraction for me. As a professional musician it??s so easy to find that one??s career and hobbies are one and the same thing so some years ago I decided to pursue a hobby that was unrelated to my work - photography.

I??d always enjoyed photography as a child and took photos of places I visited through my teenage years and twenties but they were never really much more than snapshots. Back in 2004 I persuaded Kevin to buy me a digital camera (a Canon compact) and without the costs of developing film I found myself taking a lot more photos, although I??m not sure the quality of my images was any better.

There have been several turning points in my development as a photographer. The first was a weekend I had with my friend Sharon [] back in 2005 where she taught me the basics of apertures and put up with me chanting ??big number, small hole; small number, big hole? all weekend in order to remember their counter intuitive numbering system! I followed that up by attending a residential photography course in 2006 where I learnt a lot more about the basics ?? exposure, composition etc. Since then I??ve continued to learn by reading magazines and books, listening to podcasts, looking at photos here on PB and, of course, practice. I think I can honestly say the single thing that has helped me to improve my skills the most has been doing this blog ?? making myself take at least one photo (and often many more than that) every day has done so much for my skills. I guess, in that respect, it??s very much like music ?? practice makes perfect.

My photography has become quite a big distraction in my life (some would perhaps say too big) but I can??t help feeling it??s been a healthy one. I think it can only be a good thing to have a hobby that??s separate from work. I don??t make great claims for my images but I enjoy creating them, often from seemingly unlikely material, and it gives me a lot of pleasure.

The subject I??ve used to illustrate the theme today is my wide angle lens (the Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 for those interested in such things). It??s got a slightly bulbous front element which reflects the light in an interesting way from this angle ?? the curvy lines you can see reflected in it are the criss-crossing frames of my music room window. I??d never really noticed the inner workings of the lens before but I realise in this shot you can see the aperture mechanism quite clearly. Unfortunately, the sharpness of my macro lens (with which I took this shot) also shows up every speck of dust on the lens! Perhaps that should be my next distraction?. cleaning my lenses!

Others taking part in today's theme:
Stefan []
Moira []
Nellinka []
TheBronzeBow []
Cathy []
Heather []
Kelly []
Lynda []

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There are 13 comments , add yours!
Sandra Vermeulen 10 years, 9 months ago

Perfect shot!!

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Kelly Lamaster 10 years, 9 months ago

This is a beautiful shot! Colors, light, lines, everything. I completely agree that photography itself has become quite a distraction in its own right for me as well. :)

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Tomie Poodle 10 years, 9 months ago

amazing shot!

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Heather 10 years, 9 months ago

Sorry I had a mini emergency but my post is up now

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Judit 10 years, 9 months ago


10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Milton Jacob 10 years, 9 months ago

cool! i was fascinated by the shot but could not have guessed that it was a lens if you had not mentioned it later! :) thanks for the 'big number small hole formula!

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
David Swatton 10 years, 9 months ago

Great post - I like the background commentary and the macro shot is super. The combination of shapes, lines and colour works really well. As you'll have guessed photography is my biggest "distraction" but I can't bring myself to go on a course; I'd rather just look at the work of photographers I like and give it a bash. :-)

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Thebronzebow 10 years, 9 months ago

That is an absolutely gorgeous photo! Definitely some things are good distractions. They give us joy.

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Heather 10 years, 9 months ago

Helen, this is a wonderful shot! I'm a little envious of the lens too :) I think the struggle was work while and it's nice hearing everyone's distractions. I completely agree that there are good distractions and as well as bad!

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Riyaz 10 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the distraction! Totally distracted from work here! What a great shot this is, and [b]“big number, small hole; small number, big hole”[/b] made me smile!

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Stefan Fletcher 10 years, 9 months ago

Thank you, Helen, for that insight. It helps me to understand why I find your posts so fascinating and always enjoyable. Our photographic histories are quite similar in their tangental approach - it was a big departure from what I used to do, too. I'd also like to congratulate your friend Sharon: anyone who can put up with what you chanted a whole weekend is a great friend indeed ;-)

I've been thinking about the whole "it's not the art, it's the tool" thing for some time now. The books, magazines, podcasts, how-to's and why-to's were supposed to be aids to take better photographs, but seem to have replaced the knack, acquired or innate, of seeing. Perhaps it's not quite that simple, but I know my photography would benefit more from shooting more and reading less.

BTW, don't worry so much about the minute specks on the front lens. They don't show up. It's the ones on the sensor that are a pain. Other than their ability to scratch the lens, specks on the front element are merely - what's the word? - ah yes, a... distraction.

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Moira 10 years, 9 months ago

This is lovely , I like everything from colours and shapes , excellent .

10 years, 9 months ago Edited
Lynda 10 years, 9 months ago

Great shot, Helen. I chickened out of today's theme.

10 years, 9 months ago Edited