Nature Photography

My Deteriorating Photography Skills

I’ve been looking through old photos to post on my site and I notice one huge difference between them and my more recent photos.  My old photos were clear and crisp.  My recent photos not so much…  Chemotherapy left me with essential tremors in my hands and neuropathy in my feet and ankles.  The tremors make it hard to hold the camera still, and the neuropathy makes it hard for me to keep my balance (I fall a lot).  So, when I want to take a photo of a moving bird or other animal, I have problems following, and when I turn to keep up, it’s hard to stay standing.  When I fall, my first thought is of my camera, and I protect it at all costs.  It’s not the most expensive camera–just a Canon EOS Rebel T7i with a Tamron 14-400mm lens.  But it’s all I have.  I had to stop carrying a camera bag with different lenses, so when that lens was announced, I pre-ordered it.  It has been a life-saver since I don’t have to carry all that extra weight.

I know you’re probably thinking I should keep the camera on a tripod.  But that’s extra weight again, and if I fall, I don’t think I could protect the camera as well as without it.  I can wrap my arms around the camera, but it would be too top-heavy for me to control. I would also lose the ability to instantly move the camera to focus on a bird flying overhead or a deer running across the trail.  When I fall, I hold the camera and try to fall on my side or backwards.  It’s happened so often that I have learned to let myself go, and so far I haven’t broken a hip–quite an accomplishment for a 66-year-old cancer patient on continuous chemo drugs that erode my bones.

I take tons and tons of photos of everything I shoot to try to make sure I get at least one good one.  I get lucky sometimes, and I am so excited when I do.  The worst is when  have to zoom out to 400–that’s when the blurring is really hard to control–not only because of the tremors, but also because the lens is extended so far and it’s hard to hold it up.

I just needed to say all of this, even if it no one ever reads it.  I sometimes refuse to admit to myself that I’m not who I used to be.  And I am often so disappointed in the photos I have taken. But it hasn’t dampened my love of nature or my love of photography.  Some of my bad photos are some of my favorites.  I took a photo of my grandson when we were fishing yesterday.  It’s blurry and dark, but it captured him so well–always in motion, always thinking–often serious.  At the time he was looking for rocks that might have gold in them–there is still a lot of gold in the rivers and creeks around here, and he was determined to find some.  I will cherish that blurry one always.

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