Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #133: My Photography Journey

Forget the auto settings. Use manual.~ Alex Moed

Amy’s theme this week for LAPC #133  has prompted me to share my photography journey, which started in an unconventional way.  It began with my son Alex. 

Years ago, when he was in elementary school, we took a parent-child class in darkroom photography at the local Y.  It was a chance for both of us to experience the “magic” of the darkroom and for me to explore developing techniques which I learned in my 20’s.  As it turned out, the class sparked Alex’s fascination with cameras, light, and the visual arts, which he has pursued as an adult.

Alex in elementary school and on the train to Rome.

While he studied visual effects in college, I read some of his art history textbooks, like  Jansen’s History of Art, which had hundreds of photographs of masterpieces over the centuries.  Learning about artists and art styles gave me a better appreciation of photography as an art form and a basic understanding of art.

At the same time, Alex was experimenting more with video, photography, and the digital arts.  He shared what he was learning with me and gave me some very honest (!) feedback about my images.  At one point, he told me, “Ma, forget the auto settings. Use manual.”  To be honest, I did it with some trepidation and I was elated when I conquered that hurdle.     

Sunset, Wallis Sands Beach, Rye, NH

From Alex I learned the importance of composing a photo even before I click the shutter.  Because he questioned how I edited several photos, this drove me towards understanding how to crop a shot effectively.  Alex continues to nudge me to stretch my artistic boundaries.  A compliment from him is a true compliment.  I value every one!

Sunset Silhouette, Joshua Tree, California

After 7 years in the field, he continues to grow as a visual effects artist, learning new software and techniques.  (You can view his current work at the bottom of this post.)  He has told us that to be a true artist, learning never stops.   He also reminds me that constructive feedback is necessary to grow.  I believe that is very true and try to approach photography with a mind open to improving and learning from others.  That is why the Lens-Artists Photo Challenges have been so valuable for me.  I have learned so much from Amy, Tina, and Ann-Christine, as well as you, our followers.

I hope you join us this week for Amy’s My Photography Journey Challenge. Please be sure to stop by and see her post.  Remember to link your post to Amy’s, and use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you in the Reader.

Last week Ann Christine’s LAPC#132: Striped and Checked challenge was so much fun.  I loved seeing where you found stripes and checks, some in unexpected places!  You gave me a lot of surprises and dozens of smiles.  

Next week, it will be Tina’s turn to lead the challenge, so please stop by Travels and Trifles and join the fun on Saturday, February 6 at noon.  Her topic will be “Before and After.”  Show us some of your photos both before and after editing. 

Your continued participation, support, enthusiasm, and creativity inspire us!   Have a wonderful, creative week and please stay safe.

63 replies »

  1. Hi Patti, A wonderful journey that you have learned from your son, Alex. I agree, constructive feedback is important to grow. The sunset image is stunning. The Sunset Silhouette capture is remarkable. I love the composition and the angle of this image, and you captured the lights, colors, shapes of the trees perfectly.
    I’ve watched these three videos by Alex, am in awe!! Thank you so much for giving us an opportunity to view his work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Amy! It has been a wonderful journey. Alex has been a real role model for me. I love how he keeps growing as an artist. And thanks too for your kind words about those 2 images! This was a wonderful theme, Amy. Thanks for your inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patti, It’s amazing what we learn from our children. It’s great that you and Alex have a shared passion. And that you accept his suggestions and kudos on your wonderful images.

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    • Hi, Anne. It’s true that we learn so much from our kids and (hopefully) they learn from us! He has moved away from photography in recent years, but I am hopeful that he’ll return. That artistic “eye” is a wonderful talent and skill for so many kinds of visual art. Take care and I hope all’s well with you!

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  3. Well Patti, in my view you and Alex are inspiring each other! Clearly his interest in the visual arts had its birth thanks in large part to his mother. Your images are always exquisite (this week especially the Joshua Tree) as are his. That he’s made a marvelous career of it speaks to both his talent and his quest for excellence through continued learning – again something passed down to him from his mother (and I suspect his father as well). Loved the video also, thanks for including it!

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    • Hi, Tina. Thank you!! I like that. Hopefully, we are inspiring each other! I really admire his artistic eye and digital skills to create magic on the screen. I also like that he makes friends with people who can teach him new creative skills and challenge him to work in new areas. I credit you and the other Lens-Artists with doing the same thing for me!!

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  4. I love the way you and your son started your photography and artistic journeys together and both continue to be creative. Your Joshua Tree image is stunning. Congratulations to him for making it his career. Thanks for including his video.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m in the same boat, John. My early work is in boxes right now, but I’m in the process of organizing it. Most of it is…well, forgettable!! Looking forward to your response, too.

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  5. Great post. How wonderful to have a coach like you do! I feel that a knowledgeable coach could help me greatly with my editing skills as I try to learn on my own. I’m a bit jealous!

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    • Thanks, Dianne! It is a lot of trial and error when it comes to editing. I should take an online course, but I never did… I learn something when I need to learn it, but still…I guess we all have to find the methods that work the best for us. You could teach me a lot about living the minimalist lifestyle in a remote part of the country!!

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  6. So very glad you shared your journey and your relationship with your son. His advice to continue learning for a lifetime is something that I’ll remember, since I’m still learning about almost everything even in my later years. Congrats on mastering the art of using the manual settings on your camera — I’m not there yet, but enjoying the journey. This is an inspirational post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Rusha. Thank you, thank you! I’m delighted that you enjoyed it. Mastering manual takes time, for sure. It’s counter-intuitive at times! I’m also spurred on by the “oh, ma,” reaction I could get if I stopped learning!!

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  7. Wonderful story of your photographic journey. As for composing the shot before you take it well you are taking a leaf out of David Lean’s book. He directed Lawrence of Arabia, Dr.Zhivago, and Bridge of the River Kwai. He started out as a film editor and when he went on to shooting these spectacular big movies he always said he had the edits in mind when he shot the film. In those days this was a new idea and other directors did not do this. Probably they would not have been able to do it and just went with the master shot, over the shoulder pov shots and close ups. But Lean already knew what he wanted to have for the final edit. The days of films like the ones he directed are gone forever now but I am glad I saw them back in the day.

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    • That’s very interesting, Anne. I didn’t know about David Lean’s approach, but I love his movies. I’ll never forget watching L of A for the first time on the big screen. I felt like I was in the desert with the camels and TE Lawrence!! I’m so glad you shared this. I’ll read more about him.

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  8. Wonderful story! It is great to share learning with our children. Mine are not interested in photography, but we have other hobbies in common and I always enjoy them a lot. Of course, now they are the ones teaching me and I love it!😘

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      • Yes, it’s true. I love all the time I can spend with my sons. We share the love of fantasy books, may be because during the two pregnancies my reading was rereading the Lord of the Rings. 🀣
        We also like board games, especially with my little son, who always brings some new home, to let me play… 😁

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  9. Enjoyed this post, Patti! Love your unconventional mentoring! It’s absolutely true that we should never stop learning….I would have loved to have seen your son’s video, but sadly, it told me it was a private video, and to log in if I had permission.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a great selection for this fabulous prompt. The sunset is literally out of this world! And the composition for the Joshua Tree photo is fantastic too.
    You’re lucky to get professional feedback from your sone. That must be very inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. How wonderful to be inspired by your talented son Patti! How I would love to have a family member be a photographer besides me. I flirt with manual quite a bit, but when stressed (like looking for eagles), I revert to auto. Your two sunsets are gorgeous, but the one over the water us breathtaking! Thanks for sharing both of your talents!

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    • Hi, Terri. Thank you!! I am delighted that you enjoyed this. I hope you can inspire one of your family members to get involved with photography. It’s so much fun, isn’t it? That evening at the beach was wonderful. I’m hoping for another one! Take care and stay well.

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  12. Wonderful story, Patti! The beach shot is out of this world – and so is the Joshua Tree…And what can I say about your son’s reel? I showed it to my son, and he just loved it too. Very talented! David studied a year or two university courses for visual effects, but went for graphic design instead. I saw the old glimpse in his eyes when watching Alex’s reel though…I smiled when reading the communication between you and your son – a smile of joy and recognition. I am sure learning from mother to son goes from son to mother again over the years. I know how grateful you are for the mutual interest, and so am I with my son. We are both lucky – or should I say all four of us…or both families. Never stop learning, always strive to learn more – maybe that’s much in a teaching family? I don’t know. Congrats to your son’s great career!

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  13. Hi, AC. I’m delighted that you and your son enjoyed Alex’s reel! That’s wonderful. I didn’t know that your son studied visual effects before graphic design. I am so happy that your son and mine enjoy their careers. It is such an important part of their lives and professional satisfaction is wonderful. I think it’s true…that our families are lucky in that education is such a big part of our lives and our work ethic. Having us as mothers/teachers is also a big part of it!! Again, I’m delighted.β€οΈπŸ˜€

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  14. How did I miss commenting on your post the first time around? I loved that shot of the Joshua tree. And that apocalyptic cloud mass looks like it has a fire inside. Wonderful.

    Alex is absolutely right about learning, and not only for an artist. We are all problem solvers, and without learning it is hard to solve new problems.

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    • Hi, IJ. Glad you saw this one! I’m delighted you like the images. So true, that we are all problem solvers. As the problems change, we need to learn to keep up with the changes. Very true. I’m so happy he is alway learning. My husband and I do the same thing.πŸ˜€. I’m sure you are, too.

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  15. I love Alex’s reel! I think it’s so great that we learn from our kids. My son is also a photographer and videographer β€” and the source of much of my inspiration and learning. Your images are lovely as always β€” the clouds are really stunning.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Su. I’m delighted! I didn’t know your son was in a similar line of work. It’s fascinating, isn’t it? I’m delighted you have the same kind of relationship with your son. I love that. Glad you like the images too! That evening at the beach was amazing.πŸ˜€. Thanks for the kind words and smiles, too.

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  16. How wonderful to be able to share your son’s work on here, Patti! I love the video. No idea where the ideas come from to splice all those things together but it works so well. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ And your sunset shot is divine! I could linger there. Have another great and creative week!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Jo. I know what you mean–“No idea where the ideas come from to splice all those things together but it works so well.” It’s customary in his field to have a 1 minute demo reel and put it to music. I am sure I wouldn’t be able to sync the action and music, but I’d like to try, someday. Thank you for your kind words about the images. I can imagine you’d love that beach walk, too, especially in the summer. Take care and stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. How wonderful that you started your son on his path to a career in the visual arts, and he in turn has inspired and influenced you – a true partnership πŸ™‚ I love your beach shot in particular, and was wowed by the effects in Alex’s work!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Sarah. It’s amazing that all these visual effects are generated by software. The levels of skill and detail are remarkable. I’m so fortunate that we can inspire each other in creative ways. It’s a wonderful thing. Glad you like the beach shot, too! Take care and stay well.

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    • Hi, Julie. Wonderful! I’m delighted you liked his reel. It’s amazing how visual effects is all done on the computer. Their software is so powerful! And thanks too for your thoughts on my photos! Much appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

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