2 Years In

What is your personal photographic journey? In a photographic sense, how did you start, and with what equipment? How have you progressed, and where are you, and your photographic skillset, placed today?

This is a place where members may share their personal photographic journey. Some of our normal posting rules are suspended within this section. To illustrate you story, for instance, you may post more than the normal 4 or so images. In fact, we actively encourage you to share with us images that illustrate how your photography has changed since you started. So readers with slower connections please be warned that postings made within this section may be - will be - larger than the norm.

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2 Years In

Postby Pehpsi on Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:47 am

Well, my name's James, I'm 25 and this is my (life) journey so far...

My Mum was born in Iraq, came to Oz in her 20s where she met my Dad, and thus, I was spawned. Had a good childhood without drama. I was like many when it came to school; not there to learn, just there to have fun. I certainly did that and made many friends along the way.

One of the strongest memories I have from when I was young, was my Dad taking me to Eastern Creek Raceway for my first race meet when I was about 10-years-old. Lining-up to get in, I heard some cars racing down the track and I fell in love with the noise that very moment. Been going ever since. (Dad drove a Front Engine Dragster in the 70s with his good mate Bob Shepherd, which is how it all came about).

Anyways, fast-forward to 2006 where I stumbled across photography..

It all started when I was mucking around in the back yard with a Sony T1 P&S. I got on the ground and took a pic of a flower:

Image

I've lost the original, but it wasn't as flash as this if I recall.

For some reason, family and friends loved it and suggested that maybe I should consider learning the art. 3 months later (April '06) I wandered into Harvey Norman and bought the first DSLR I saw in my price range, which was a Nikon D70 with the 18-70 kit and a Tamron 70-300, all for less than $2k.

Aperture and ISO were brand new words to me, so Auto was the obvious choice for shooting. As the weeks past I slowly took it off Auto and started to experiment.

I soon realised that I could combine my old love (racing) with my new one, photography. My first attempts weren't so successful, but I tried panning from the start anyway: (D70, Tamron)

Image

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I stayed with the same gear combo for the rest of '06. During this time, my skills and knowledge both got better with each race meet.


At the start of 2007 I was ready for a new toy to replace my super-slow Tamron, which wasn't really helping me progress with the types of pic I was after. After a bit of research and saving money from my carpentry job, I put all my eggs in one basket and splashed-out on the Nikon 70-200VR f2.8. Best decision I've ever made, if I do say so myself :)

With some practice already under my belt and a new lens, I was keen to get out there. My results were much better and this is when I realised that a good bit of glass can't be beat:

Image

Not long after, I was stoked to the max when WSID wanted to use one of my pics for a billboard. I've always sucked at asking for things from people, especially money, and as a result I gave this away for free for use in a few spots around Sydney:

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Once friends and family heard I didn't charge anything, they convinced me to try and get some money for it. I was reluctant, but gave them a rang anyway. I got the run-around and got nothing. My first business lesson I'd say :) I wasn't too bothered though as bargaining is my weakest trait!

My first pic I sold was to Jay Upton. He came to me and also named the price for the digital file, which was $100:

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I was happy, and I hear he's got a few of them scattered around his various workplaces. :) Cool.

My most recent results I'm fairly happy with, but technically I have a long way to go, especially in regards to how I get to my results:

Image

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I love my D70 and will never sell it, but think I'm starting to outgrow it; I'm ready for something a little more Pro. A D300 would be a dream! But dreams need money..


In-between race meets, a friend of mine who was writing articles for Loop Magazine, asked if I'd take pics for her of bands she was writing about. I was scared as, but did it anyway. First gig was a shocker! I truly understood for the first time what 'low light' meant! I got one pic I was happy with from the entire gig:

Image

I found the band stuff much harder to do; even harder than getting a crisp shot of a 500km/h Top Fuel Dragster at 1/100s!

I did the band stuff for a few months (unpaid) until I wasn't need anymore, and got some pics printed in the mag. It was fun but challenging and if I want to do more of it, then I'm at least gonna need a Prime and a Flash I'd say :?

Just before the band stuff, I actually quit my job of 5 years as a carpenter because I hated it; my boss was an asshole and I wanted to force myself into photography. I've sold a few pics along the way, but mainly survived off my $2500 tax return, which ran out just the other day... :cry:

I'm at a crossroads at the moment and kind-of in limbo. I just can't get another job that I hate! I refuse to! I found what I like and want to do, and I think I owe it to myself to make it happen, but that's the tricky part; making it happen. My original goal was to be my own boss and I really loved this idea, mainly for the reason that I couldn't disappoint others, only myself. I don't like letting others down. However, I'm not quite sure I can do this, as my entrepreneurial skills are lacking, along with my business skills. I've never been much of a leader, and as a result, think I'd do better having been given direction. :?

Approaching 2 years in April since I stumbled across photography, I'd like to make my 3rd year a success. By this I simply mean being able to do what I've come to enjoy most in my life so far. Money is not a big want for me, but I realise we all need it. My main goal is to make just enough each week to survive on my own, in my own joint...

Anyway, my journey has caught up to the present now, where I continue to take pics for fun at race meets with my trusty old D70 and wait to see what the future holds. Thanks to everyone on this site for all the help over the past year, It's really been greatly appreciated.

James.
Nikon D70
12-24 DX, 18-70 DX, 70-200 VR

20" iMac Intel C2D
Aperture 2.1
PS CS3

http://www.jamesrobertphotography.com
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Pehpsi
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Location: Kingsgrove, Sydney

Re: 2 Years In

Postby Killakoala on Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:42 am

You've done a lot in a very short time and the beauty is that you still have a great-deal many years to go too.

Good luck with your ambitions James.
Steve.
|D700| D2H | F5 | 70-200VR | 85 1.4 | 50 1.4 | 28-70 | 10.5 | 12-24 | SB800 |
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby Old Bob on Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:11 am

What a great journey so far, James. Some people travel through life, and never discover what they really want to do. It could be a hard slog to make a living from photography, but if you love it, slog hard.

Bob
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby Greg B on Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:57 am

Excellent story James, thanks.

I must say that your panning ability is astonishingly good, your drag racing photos are always really something.

cheers
Greg - - - - D200 etc

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
- Arthur Schopenhauer
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby Jeff on Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:06 am

Great story good luck.

Jeff
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby NeoN on Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:22 am

Good story James,you achieve a lot in few years, and I'm sure with a attitude like yours, you will achieve much more,as for those panning shots ,are nothing short of fantastic.Trust your instincts and you never regret it. :D
Cheers NeoN.
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby Pehpsi on Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:15 pm

Thanks guys, for the kind words and encouragement. Glad to share my story with you. Writing it made me realise that I'm pretty happy with what I've been able to do so far. It's (photography) the first thing I've liked and also the first thing I'm OK at.

A mag from Perth contacted me today wanting to buy a pic for their next issue, so that's another step in the right direction.. :)

Cheers.

James.
Nikon D70
12-24 DX, 18-70 DX, 70-200 VR

20" iMac Intel C2D
Aperture 2.1
PS CS3

http://www.jamesrobertphotography.com
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Pehpsi
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Location: Kingsgrove, Sydney

Re: 2 Years In

Postby libertyterran on Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:45 pm

Man, your story and the photos make me sad. Yet your talent and determination surely encourage many out there to keep pursuing their dream. Wish you soon find a well-paid job in the photography industry!
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby colin_12 on Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:54 pm

You are on the way then James.
It may be worth your while to go to Tech and learn even more?
The other people that you would meet there may be what you need for another leg up.
Good luck with whatever you try.
Regards Colin
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby jethro on Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:16 pm

James this is truly inspiring and a credit to your determination. Ive been at WSID and shot some top fuel stuff and its bloody hard to pan as you have achieved. I take my hat off to your perserverance. Keep stoking the fire,.

jethro.
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look! and see. Shoot and feel
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby blacknstormy on Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:42 pm

James - inspirational :)
You are far braver than me - but bravery pays out in the end, as does perseverance and tenacity, and I think you have the combination :) I expect you may be another one that I that I have to keep an eye on ;)
Life is brilliant, but short, and you have to have a go - you don't want to get to 100 and say 'I wish'. Even if it doesn't work out, you can still say 'I did' :)
Hugs
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby Pehpsi on Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:06 pm

Well I've NEVER thought of myself as inspirational, so that's definitely a new one for me! Thanks again y'all. :)
Nikon D70
12-24 DX, 18-70 DX, 70-200 VR

20" iMac Intel C2D
Aperture 2.1
PS CS3

http://www.jamesrobertphotography.com
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby petermmc on Sun Mar 09, 2008 10:33 am

Hi James

Cross roads are the most interesting times in ones life. They are a recognition that you have choices.

There are a few things you need to do. Firstly don't listen to anyone who tells you what you need to do :D

Write a brief plan of what you want to achieve in the next 3-5 yrs. Picture yourself in the position you want.

Use phrases such as:
In 3 yrs time I want to be....
The kind of job I want looks like this...

Now (Reality check). Think about how you are going to get there. You will probably need to work to supplement your income and your photographic passion. That is a certainty. Everyone has to do it. Get advice on how you are going to get there. There is a lot of part time work out there at the moment.

If you are keen on motor sport photography then there are many associated jobs in and around the actual sport. The best advice someone gave was to go to tech and fine tune the art. There are many courses in photography and graphic arts that will open whole new worlds to you. This may enable you also to be more confident in approaching news papers and magazines for work. Many working photographers have qualifications these days.

Whatever you do, stay positive and stay busy and stay focused on the end point, your goal. Hang around positive people. Get a photo mentor who can help you move from "good photo" to "professional photo".

There are some really helpful people on this website who would be willing to help you take the next steps. You will need to contact them and ask them for help. Remember, people will help you most when you clearly recognise what you want to achieve.

All the best

Peter Mc
Nikon & Olympus
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Re: 2 Years In

Postby Pehpsi on Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:04 am

Some pretty solid advice mate, thanks for taking the time..
Nikon D70
12-24 DX, 18-70 DX, 70-200 VR

20" iMac Intel C2D
Aperture 2.1
PS CS3

http://www.jamesrobertphotography.com
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Location: Kingsgrove, Sydney

Re: 2 Years In

Postby whoalse on Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:49 am

Wow...another journey eh!
Great to see the improvements along the way. Well done....
Mine (dSLR) is just over 2 years but has had a few big jumps in the last 12 months.
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