Photography as a Hobby

Now that I’ve spent some time scouring the Internet for the subject of photography, I’ve learned something fundamentally important and largely overlooked by most people…

Photography is a multi-faceted hobby. It’s not just about going out and taking pictures. There are many other aspects to this hobby.

For example, there is the science and engineering behind photography. This typically manifests in the fanaticism of camera “gearheads,” but it doesn’t have to. There is much you can find interesting and learn about photographic engineering.

(A subset of this is DIY projects, where photographers expend a *lot* of time and energy devising solutions to various problems. This is not unlike making electronics or building go-carts or building your own telescope.)

Another example is gadgetry. Many photographers are also gadget freaks, and they love to fawn all over their camera gear. There are numerous photography forums and chat rooms where people debate endlessly about this product and that, this type of equipment and that, and their pros and cons. This is a perfectly valid aspect of the hobby, even if some people thumb their noses at it.

A new, emerging aspect is a follow-on from the previous paragraph:  social networking. Camera clubs have been around forever, but with the Internet there are now photographers who engage in photography as a social experience from all around the world. Flickr is an obvious example, Facebook another, but there are many other similar sites. In these networks, people share pictures, exchange tips and ideas, discuss their adventures and experiences, and so on. They revel in the community aspect of photography.

History is another often overlooked aspect. The history of photography encompasses many things that are fascinating. It’s not unlike the art of painting. You can paint pictures, but if you’re not artistically inclined, you can become a collector or you can specialize in art history and appreciation. You can also delve into the history of photographic equipment.

Post-production and image processing are another aspect where you can learn a great deal and spend a lot of time at — learning how to use the appropriate software, producing special effects long after you’ve snapped your photo in the field, understanding the nature of digital image data, etc.

I intend to explore as many of these aspects as I can. While the art of picture taking is still key, it need not be the only aspect of this hobby, nor even the highest priority aspect! In the end, it really boils down to what *you* want to take from this hobby, and how you take pleasure from it.

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