It’s Never Too Late to Learn Photography

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By: Christine Stephens

macro photography - never too late to learnRecently, I purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements 11. Post processing is something very new to many of us, so I went onto a few public sites that offered videos on how to best utilize this program. There were several, so I began by picking the ones that covered the most basic concepts.

One of these videos was a recording of a live online chat, and the prevalent question seemed to be “after Elements 10, why did they dumb down 11?. The guest teacher explained that they were targeting the “40 to 90 years of age” group, and for that purpose, they had given users of Elements 11 the capability to choose different alternatives to utilize;

  1. Quick mode
  2. Guided mode
  3. Expert mode

People still called in complaining about this “ dumbing down” without paying attention to the fact that Elements still offered its superior editing software, while also offering new comers a way to climb the ladder of experience through easier formats. I started to think about what the callers were saying regarding the  changes made in Elements 11. I believe Adobe was very wise in picking that age group to target, and especially for making Elements 11 approachable for those of us that fall into that bracket commonly known as “baby boomers’. Why?

macro photography - never too late to learnIn the 60s through the 80s, so many of us were hobbyists, and we put that all on hold to raise families, go to work, and put our children through college. The only opportunities we had to dust off our cameras were for family shots, picnics, school gatherings and holidays. Our creativity was put on “hold” for many of us, so that we could take care of the very ‘kids’ that were now enjoying the vast resources available to them in photographic processing. And now, here we are, our children grown and gone, and we want to pick our cameras up again for something more than the Grandchildren opening up Christmas presents. It is time for us to jump back into the creativity pool and see just what we can do with all this new technology.

During the years we were so busy, the world of photography made incredible strides. We went from point and shoot film cameras to film SLRs, and now we are in the digital age with DSLRs that can actually edit a picture while still in the camera. That can be overwhelming for some of us. And post processing! With the digital age came the opportunity to download and print out selective pictures, edit them, create art with them, give them more color or take away colors- the creative options are endless. Rather than paying to have a whole roll developed only to find half the shots were not quite up to expectation, we can download them to our computers and delete the ones that fall short of what we wanted. Talk about being thrown into a new age!

macro photography - never too late to learnAs a baby boomer I felt a bit behind the times, and after several frustrating months of adapting to these over whelming amount of changes, I found that rather than expecting myself to pick up where I left off, I approached it as though I were starting from the beginning. I chose to be okay with being a novice one more time. I approached digital photography the same way I approached my first little Pentax and first home computer; manual in hand, and practice, practice and practice.

I was fortunate to be able to get semi-familiar with the DSLR because the job I worked at needed one person to take photos for work done before and after on insurance projects. I was able to ease into it without high demands of excellence. Insurance companies did not expect artful photos of crime scenes.

Down the road, someone pointed me towards YouTube. At that time it didn’t offer a whole lot, but now it offers whole courses, free, on how to use your camera and will take you by the hand and lead you through many of the software programs available to us for editing our pictures.

macro photography - never too late to learnSites like Adorama offer photography tips, techniques and short videos in photography, lenses, filters and different equipment for expanding your creativity. Pro-photographer and several other online resources offer great free training to get us off the ground, and propel us back into feeling comfortable with this new age of photography.

Facebook has given us wonderful forums to share our endeavors on and receive feedback from others, forums like Seeing in Macro that currently specialize in macro photography, and forums for people who share a certain camera brand, or like specific types of photography more than others. These forums are wonderful for making new friends, sharing ideas and pictures, and learning how others jump the hurdle in this rapidly changing field.

All these resources and support make our jump back into the photographic world all the easier, and for me personally, took away some of the frustrations and shyness I had about asking for help and feedback. I say “Kudos” to Adobe for targeting the very audience that chose to put our photographic lives on hold, because if not for us and our pro-creativity, where would they be?

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