I think for so many people, that first year of motherhood hits you like a tonne of bricks, and you feel a bit lost. I know it’s been like that for me both times now. I’ve found that a new baby just consumes you – not just taking up your time, but your energy and even all of your headspace. There’s so little time left for socialising, for looking after yourself, or for your hobbies. But both times now, I’ve found I come out of it with the energy and focus for a new passion. With Max, it was gardening, and I threw myself into looking after our garden, creating planting plans and overhauling the whole space. This time around it’s photography.
I’ve been enjoying taking photos for a long time now, but it’s my children who have been my inspiration. Seeing them grow up makes me want to capture all of those moments. Not just the big ones – the birthdays, the Christmasses – but the everyday ones that get forgotten. The favourite toy, the way they chew on their hand, the bathtimes. It’s why I started this blog and why I continue to make the time to write it two years down the line.
I’ve been making baby steps for a long time in learning and improving my photography skills. I’ve taken a short half day class, which gave me enough technical knowledge to get me off Auto mode and shooting on Aperture Priority, as well as a whole host of tips for photographing children. But until now I’ve held off putting my camera into full Manual mode. There’s something I’ve always found a bit scary about it – the way the three components come together in different combinations has been really hard to get my head around. Taking that step away from Aperture Priority and potentially missing lots of shots while I’m learning has been too much of a step for me. But recently, I’ve found that Aperture Priority is missing a lot of shots that I can see would have been amazing had a faster shutter speed been selected. That’s given me the push I needed, and this week I’ve spent Ben’s naptime reading up on exactly how Manual mode works in my camera and trying it out.
And oh my goodness! I can’t believe how long I’ve put this off now. Understanding how to read the meter and adjust the settings really isn’t the rocket science I thought it was. And yes, it still feels like a big step to make that move, but it’s one that feels achievable, and one which I feel will allow me to develop my photography skills in the way that I’ve wanted to for so long.
It’s amazing to feel that creative fire again and that thirst for learning – it’s been such a long time since something has excited me like this. To have something to sink my teeth into, to learn something new, and to be able to express myself creatively. And in lots of ways I think that’s why photography appeals to me – it’s that combination of creative and technical skill, and the fact that, no matter how fantastic a photographer you are, there are always new things to learn and always scope for improvement.
I hope you like my very first photo taken in manual mode! It’s definitely not my best work, I’ve missed the focus somewhat, but it’s a landmark moment for me and the start of a journey, and there’s something really exciting about that.
Joining Donna at What The Redhead Said for The Ordinary Moments