absent space [deleted] 2:16pm, 7 February 2015
If you look around Flickr enough or finally open up the page where you've been socking away all those faves over the years or months, you'll notice that there are a lot of gallery quality images here. There will be those out there with the opinion that Flickr is a site for amateurs and if you are a professional and want to direct someone to a "portfolio" of your photos without going to the trouble to create your own website then you will be giving the impression that you are an amateur by sending them here.

Those photographic blue bloods might profit from looking at my own favorites. There are some world class pictures here! When I look at them I truly get to feeling like I'm down there in the 20th percentile.

Then again, I have to wonder if this isn't so much a matter of skill as it is a matter of opportunity. There are variables that sometimes aren't under our control. Some photographers just have the good fortune or good planning to be LIVING in a location where it's quite simply: Beautiful. I lived in the Dallas area for practically all my life. Yes, if you like urban shooting, street photography, real estate shots, etc., it's great! However, those of a bent towards landscapes and nature aren't so blessed. I'm not saying it doesn't exist at all! There are pastoral scenes to be had within a 30 minute drive; nature preserves allow some of that shooting of flowers, insects, birds, and so on. But for me to shoot the western landscapes I love it was a 10 - 11 hour drive to a national or state park way out west. Look at a map. You probably haven't heard this, but Texas is big. Then some photographers live perhaps not immediately in an area of beauty, but live in a nice, compact place like Europe where a few hours travel gets them into all kinds of beauty, especially with the EU allowing easy passage across other borders.

Another variable out of our control could be wealth. Some photographers just have the money to travel and the time to spend doing it! I myself live off a teachers retirement pension from Texas. I'm not exactly in the recently much discussed top 1%! I do have the fortune now to live in SW New Mexico and there are a lot of nice places within a not too expensive driving range. If I stay in a 4-Star tent and eat out of a Dinty Moore tin, I'll manage fine. So, any state in the SW US is a reasonable destination for me now. But, when I look at the great photos of the aurora borealis or of ice fields in the exotic northern climes, or of the majestic Alps or great mountain ranges of Asia and so on and so on ad queasium, I know there's no way! Life just didn't hand me the card to be born in or to have the resources to travel to such wonderful locations. Am I jealous of you guys who can? You betcha! :-) But I'm so grateful that you do go there, take the trouble to get up early or stay out late and get those wonderful photos so that I can travel there vicariously at least. I'm not down-playing your skill, either. Your shooting and editing skills give birth to those images.

What DO we control? No matter where we are we CAN get to locations that are accessible to us time/money-wise. I'm about to get off my duff and with the currently low petrol prices (inching upwards now at this writing) I'm heading across Arizona to CA and San Diego next month, hoping to find some nice desert photo ops along the way. Then I'm planning a four corners visit, Canyon de Chelly, Arches, Canyonlands, Zion National Parks, probably Monument Valley. I've been to all these places but not for YEARS and not with digital ever.

What else can we control? No matter where we are we can get our lazy cans out of bed in the morning and get to a location we know of and set up for that amazing sunrise landscape. We can also stay out until dusk or shoot stars at night! We can use a tripod to increase our depth of field opportunities, sharpness and compositional accuracy. Even though we have the oranges, we can at least approach the technical excellence of the apples! We can also just make the most of the type of subject with which we are blessed. Anyone anywhere can work to do great portraits if that can be your bag at all.

In conclusion, in spite of that fact that no sow ever donated its ear to the production of a silk purse, we can make the best of what we have in terms of opportunity.

I'll celebrate the great images of this earth and congratulate those who capture and share them. But I shall never again compare myself to anyone when I'm not on a the same playing field.
Fay Stout 4 years ago
Very well said! I am a retired critical care nurse. After 45 years of nursing I am now able to take the time to enjoy my photography but do not have the means to travel the world so I find beauty sometimes in the most unexpected places. One of my best butterfly shots was at a busy intersection between a CVS drugstore parking lot and the major highway with cars whizzing past. The butterflies were in abundance on the Texas sage as it was in full bloom after a rare summer rain.

And to those of you who travel the world and present us with such incredible photos... I thank you! I love seeing the world through your eyes. If it were not for that, I might not see these places at all!

Photography can bring joy into your life regardless of how much money you have or what equipment you use. To my mind... photography is very personal and can add a whole new dimension to your life!
absent space [deleted] Posted 4 years ago. Edited by absent space (member) 4 years ago
Well spoken, Fay. I remember a John Shaw photo that he had in one of his books. It was a beautiful morning at a mist-covered pond. If you read about the picture he describes it as having been taken in a really littered up location. He just isolated the beautiful part of the scene.

It is a well-known fact of photojournalism that wherever a photographer or a videographer aims the camera in a wider scene, that's the impression we'll have of the situation or of the place. It seems a little deceptive, but under circumstances of not globe-trotting to find those penguins jumping off the ice into the sea, it's our best tool, selectivity.
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