For several months I meditated of what I would do after I retired. What would I do with that new flood of time in my hands? How would I spend my days with nothing to do, besides looking at the clock’s hands slowly moving during the day? Retiring is good, but at the same time it’s hard. It’s a 180° change in your lifestyle.
After many months of reflection, I decided I would adventure into the world of photography. Since I was enjoying writing my daily posts on the Internet, photography would serve as a complement to my posts. I had been enjoying Abe Lincoln’s stunning pictures and Don Ray’s delicious photographs and that got me hooked to the world of digital images.
When I told my wife about my decision, she looked at me closely at the eyes, and said, “Omar, I’m sorry to say, but you are no photographer.” She turned around and that was it.
Still I researched the Internet for a good compact digital camera and I found one. It fitted my novice knowledge on photography and fell within my budget limitations. I’m talking about the Canon PowerShot A720 IS. I’ve written about this digital camera at Lingua Franca.
On December 16, 2008 I started shooting my first pictures. It coincided with the day of my birthday; that’s why I call my camera the “Birthday Camera”. I initially did what most, if not all amateur photographers do, point and shoot. The results were terrible. When I showed them to my wife, she again looked at me straight in the eyes sand said, “Omar, you are no photographer.” Period.
Stubbornly, I kept on shooting. Then one day, out of the blue, I met Michael Moore on the Internet. He had seen my photos and decided to come to my rescue. He suggested several digital photography books and excellent links of good photographers. It was my first contact with serious formal photography. With his support and guidance I kept on taking pictures of dubious quality.
When I showed them to my wife, she politely said, “Omar, remember you are no photographer.” Then one day, I showed her a photograph of Feliciano, our gardener. That picture took her by surprise. She couldn’t separate her eyes from the printed photograph I had framed to give Feliciano as a present. She succinctly said, “It’s pretty.” And that was it. I smiled because I knew she had liked it more than what she would admit.
About a week ago, my wife called me to the kitchen to show me something. I was hungry so I dashed to see what was waiting for me at the kitchen. There, on top of the white Formica, my wife had arranged a nice looking plate of vegetables and fruits. Pointing at the arrangement, she said, “I thought you might want to take a picture of this plate.” I couldn’t believe my ears—my wife was ushering me into picture taking. My wife of all people! It was then and there, my wife had changed her attitude about me being a photographer—albeit a mediocre photographer.
Since that day, she’s my best supporter and fan. While we drive through the city, she would single out something and say, “Hey Omar, that would make a nice picture.” I smile to myself and say, “Omar, you’ve finally become a photographer. You’ve won yourself a loyal follower.”
Below are several pictures of the plate of vegetables my wife arranged for me to shoot; the plate that changed her cold attitude towards photography. Here we go.
Having a loyal follower is nice, but doesn’t make me a photographer. To become one, you have to practice and practice and then practice some more. The trick of a good photographer is being out there taking pictures. The best picture is the one you haven’t taken. Good Day.