The sort of Hope that shoots in “M”

Big pet peeve of mine (and many other photographer friends of mine from what I’ve learned) is when people say to me “you’re so lucky, your camera takes great pictures”.  Really?  Or the other one I’ve heard a lot lately ” Well, you’re not *really* a photographer , you don’t have a studio.

True that. There is no sign outside my house declaring  “Hope Mj Distasio – photographer at large” .  I’ve only really recently made this my true passion. I am primarily self taught. I’ve met a few people along my way who were very willing and generous enough to help me hone my craft. I read a lot. I’ve watched an awful lot of “how to’s” .. but other than that, I’ve got no formal education when it comes to photography. I’ve been paid to take pictures. I’ve had work printed, work published.  And I’ve certainly donated an awful lot of my time. (oh and I’ve allowed myself to be taken advantage of quite often, too.) That probably makes me less real.

Before I met my talented friends and learned the difference between a .jpeg and a RAW file or shooting in the “running man mode” and ” M” (manual), I thought I was a decent photographer, hoped I might have some modicum of talent. However, when I’d see their work I knew that they were way out of my league. Knew that there was a difference between letting these amazing DSLR’s do all the work and doing it for myself. I wanted to be “as good as they were” or better.  I wanted to learn how to work that amazing piece of equipment that someone had been kind enough to gift to me for my 40th birthday.

I have a Nikon D90. I have 3 lenses. I don’t have a tripod. Don’t ask me what my lenses are, because as far as all that stuff goes, I’m really not that smart, and I’m too lazy to get up and look. I know that my favorite is the one I use for sports – I know it’s big. ( but not as big as the one the guy from our local paper gets to use. I have major lens envy over that one- could never ever be a man.) I know one came with my camera and I know that someone broke that one before my camera was just a year old, but I use it anyway-that one is also scratched.  I recently found a really small lens on craigslist for $65 – it’s OK, but it sticks when I focus. Lesson learned. It’s not a macro, that much I know. I have major macro lens envy. I’m afraid if I had a macro I’d never get anything done. That’s where my vision issues really come into play. I can’t really see well. If I had a macro, a whole new world would open up for me. I can’t get enough of looking at my friends photos done in macro.

Sometimes the control freak in me really shows up when I play photographer..  I love the challenges that shooting on M create for me every time I’m out there. I love having to change the ISO every time the sun goes in and out. I can’t wait to come home and see what I’ve done for the day. I love post processing too. I love feeling like I’ve created something and I especially love sharing what I’ve created with the people I’ve photographed. Nothing makes me happier than looking down my feed and seeing a bunch of profile pictures from photos I’ve taken. Smiles of satisfied customers.

I’ve got an awful lot to learn yet. Every time I get my camera out I think I learn something new. Every time one of my friends posts an amazing picture I am in awe. I want to get better, be “that good”. Some day.  There are so many buttons and dials on my camera I couldn’t even begin to pretend to understand what it is that they do.

Photography is very challenging for me in ways no one else quite understands. Nerve and muscle damage from my RSD has caused my vision to deteriorate. My eyes no longer work together to focus at the same rate. It’s something glasses can’t fix , though I have those too.  Holding a camera is sometimes not only painful but also difficult. My camera is heavy and kind of cumbersome.  We won’t get into the challenges editing presents. So photography affords me with opportunities for me to feel tiny little victories over my condition in many ways.  Iget to be the winner not my disease, and I get to do it doing something I’ve come to love, and thankfully I get to do it using a camera that takes really good pictures.

from my South Dakota vacation. My first time shooting in RAW

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