I got thinking a few days ago, on one of my long trips home while working at the Olympics, about what I have written here, and I put this on my phone during the wee hours of the morning waiting for the last bus of the night to pick me up at Braid Station.
In the last 6 years, I have gone from a fairly serious advanced amateur, to just shy of a fully working professional photographer. And what have I done over that time, that I haven't done in the 6 years previous, or in the 10 years before that? Yes, I've photographed a lot of Weddings, some Portraits; many for free or really inexpensive, just to get the experience... and I have improved, so much over that time.
But is it all in the experience alone?
I read lots, lots of photography magazines and books... other photographer's blogs... just ask my girlfriend, I'm always reading blogs or on Flickr/Model Mayhem.
I live, breathe and eat photography. I'm not joking with that either... ask around, you'll find that it's true.
But still, as many people will point out, being book smart on one topic alone, will not make you an expert on it. You know the technical, but lack the real world experience.
So where have I gotten that real world experience?
I really have to say, it's from teaching everyone... I've been a part time employee of Kerrisdale Cameras Ltd this whole time (and before that Photo Express, and before that Broadway Cameras). And I truly think it's been because of people like the club members, and other customers, that come up to us, and ask us the hard questions. I've been forced to learn things about photography, that I had no clue to how to go about in doing; because someone asked me how to do it.
There's always been the people that just need the basics, but there have always been people that need something more, something special, something out of my knowledge base.
There was once a time, where I was all about natural lighting portrait, and that using flash was a horrible thought... now look at me, I'm working my way up to be like Joe (Numbnuts) McNally, and living in the comfort zone of flash photography.
But someone a long time ago, asked me how to do some flash photography, and being so customer supportive, I looked it up, learned and helped people out. And now, I don't go anywhere without carrying at least 2 flashes with me.
So I just wanted thank you all, for asking me the questions, that has made me drive myself to be at this point in my life. Without all of you, my fellow club members, the loyal customers and the random people I end up teaching photography to; I would have never had a reason to look up, learn and expand myself.
If it wasn't for all of you, I'd still likely be shooting B&W Film only, using a fully mechanical camera and being a great technically correct photographer, without the feel to the images I have today.
Also, I should thank Kerrisdale Cameras and all my coworkers, for putting up with me, all these years; I wouldn't be here without them either.
Because it's really been the last 6 years that I have really grown, by leaps and bounds.