Photography by Steve O'Donnell » Clermont and Orlando award winning professional wedding, portrait, senior and family photographer serving central FL

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Inside my Head – #1, Forward

For the past year I’ve been toying with the idea of documenting my journey into the world of photography.  I am at the point that I can no longer keep thinking about it.  Time to move!  Time to stop thinking about it and just start doing it.  So here it is, the start of “Inside my head”.  Currently I imagine it will be about the journey, my thoughts on matters of photography, some praise that I certainly owe to those that pushed me, helped me focus and those who inspired me.  I also expect to rant a little and get some things off my chest that I see along my journey.  Hopefully the series will be entertaining to read along.  I hope it will possibly help others who are starting their own photography business in some way or in the least provide them a little comfort in knowing they are not alone at the start.0736_Blog

It all started when I attended my step daughters competition cheerleading event in 2011.  Like most parents I was there with my little digital 10 megapixel point and shoot camera ready to capture the high-flying excitement of the competition.  The high school gymnasium was dark and parents were restricted to certain seating areas with pretty crappy views.  This camera didn’t have the zoom capability needed  and the little flash it had certainly couldn’t reach far enough to have the impact it needed to have….but I tried and tried to get a cool shot of her in the air.  The lag between the action happening and my brain telling my finger to press the shutter button, hindered even further by the camera’s limits just couldn’t keep up with the fast paced event.  By the time I took one crappy blurry picture and waited for the image to write to the memory card the cheer team would blow through 5 other cool photo worthy moves on the competition floor before I could take another picture.  dammit!  I was missing the action and the pictures were turning out horrible.  I needed something better in my hands!

I always wanted one of those big cool looking DSLR cameras and I knew I needed one to document the stunts the team was performing every time they went on the floor.  I had a long discussion with my wife and got her blessing that I could spend a significant amount of money on a shiny new camera.  I called upon a friend who knew a thing or two about photography and asked him for suggestions on a decent camera that had the most bells and whistles and best bang for the buck.  With the stipulation that I would most likely push the technology I purchased to its limits because that is the way I roll he suggested a Canon Rebel T2i.  It was a fairly new camera out on the market and had a lot of pro features packed into a consumer grade camera.  It would allow me to get the shots I wanted and give me freedom to explore many aspects of photography.  I ended up getting a kit that came with a  18-55mm lens and a 55-250mm lens.

For the first two weeks I shot the camera in auto and read the owner’s manual from front to back.  After reading and researching I learned that the “M” on the dial stood for manual.  “M” meant the person operating the camera makes all the decisions.   It also meant that you either figured out how to control everything on the camera or you miss the shot and fail real quick.  I am the type that is willing to fail for the sake of learning.  There is a lot of buttons on the camera and they have to be there for a reason.  I wanted to know what each buttons purpose was and what it did.  From that point on I switch my dial to “M” and never looked back.  I failed and failed and failed.  Then finally I got the image I was looking for below.



In short….that is basically how the journey starts for me.  Sure….I could say I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures and I certainly did my fair share of pointing and clicking through the years preceding my first DSLR camera, but I never appreciated the art of photography nor did I take the time to understand it or had the willingness to learn.  When I switched that dial to “M” something inside me was awakened.  That is when the passion started.  Which brings me to another point.  I recently read an article where Mike Rowe responded to a fan’s question.  Part of Rowe’s response was this “Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you won’t suck at it.  And just because you’re determined to improve doesn’t mean that you will”.  Oh how true Mr. Rowe…..oh how true.  I notice a lot of photographers bio’s shouting to the mountain tops about how “passionate” they are.   Every time I read anothers photographer bio I’m on the defensive as I read on.  Usually within the first three sentences of reading a nagging voice is sounding off in my head saying “wait for it….wait for it…..there it is….”Passionate”.  OK….so at this point I had passion and determination to learn, but at this point I pretty much sucked and got lucky with that shot above.  I wanted the knowledge it took to pull that off on command any time I had the camera in my hand.  So now the journey really starts.

Until next time, keep on shooting!

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