I first began to get into photography when I got into reefing. Any coral reef hobbyist will tell you the two go hand in hand. Reefs are beautiful, always changing, photography documents those. More than anything, photos are necessary when you need help. Regardless of how broad your vocabulary might be, when you’re on a forum and trying to get an ID of a specific coral, coral disease, or algae, you need the visuals. I was a lousy photographer, but kind of liked it. Every so often I’d get it right, such a good feeling.
Then I began blogging. I like blogs that include photos or artwork. Makes it easier to read than a wall of text, and often adds a little something. At first, I mostly used stock photos, embarrassed when I posted my own lousy pics. But then I began bringing the camera with me more frequently, making sure it was always charged, shooting photos of what was interesting to me, and/or what I thought would work well with specific posts. Still lousy photos, but it was fun, and I got less embarrassed about posting them. Yet another aspect to blogging that I’m grateful for.
I like to try different things (as long as they don’t involve heights!) but alas, I’m not one of those people who are magically gifted at everything they try. I’ve always had a few things I was good at, and would quickly drop–certainly not publicize–what I wasn’t. But yanno, there are advantages to getting older. Sure I’m more self conscious about my body, but I’m going to the beach anyway. And not everything I do has to have the potential to be something I’m great at. I learned to crochet. Sort of. I’m a truly horrendous crocheter, but sometimes I find it just the right type of mental masturbation, and I don’t care if I’m never going to crochet a fabulous whatever.
This year I’m trying container gardening on the terrace again. I accept that some things will grow, and hopefully flower/bear fruit, and some won’t work out, because I don’t actually know what I’m doing. That’s ok, I’m enjoying watching what happens. Not so fond of the little bug thingies on my lilies, but I got an organic spray that is (slowly) killing them off.
In many ways gardening is similar to reefing, except I don’t feel the same pressure, the same sinking in my gut when I see something go wrong. And things do go wrong in the reef, regardless of how long I’ve been reefing, how much I pay attention. Just the past couple of weeks, something went awry and all but one of my SPS (small polyp stony corals) died. RTN, rapid tissue necrosis. I want to cry thinking of those bare, white boney skeletons, but that’s another post unto itself.
I don’t have to be “gifted” at everything I do or share with others. Hell, I think I’m a kick-ass writer, and I’ve got a good number of people who agree, but still none who are in a position to offer me a dollar for my words. Yeah, that hurts, and it’s always going to hurt. I want to be recognized as a writer, acknowledged as someone who can offer words of value, even if it’s a weirdo story about a smoking rat. I don’t want to be a chef, but I want guests who come over for dinner to enjoy my food, and leave feeling the dinner was part of a great evening. I want them to look at my tank and ooh and ahh about the beauty and vibrancy of the reef. If they see a stray crooked square of crochet work next to the couch? It’s ok.
I keep taking pictures of everything. Digital photography offers an opportunity film didn’t, if only because of cost. I can snap a hundred pics to get 8 decent ones, and not stress about the money wasted on film and development. Much to my surprise, taking pictures has become more enjoyable as time goes on, and I’ve gotten better at it. Try to take pictures of moving critters underwater, through glass, under led lights, you have to learn. Not great, and I’m still lousy when it comes to people, but better. I can and do recognize the difference between the pictures I take, and the ones from people who are actual photography artists. I’m proud of many of my photos now, anyway. And if some of the photos still suck, but I wanted to post them anyway because of the subject? That’s ok, too.