(John Enman Photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

A good hobby for this lonely and frustrating time

Gosh, the provincial government is asking us to restrict our movements and converging with people we know. I am not complaining, not at all…I’m sure we will look back on this frustrating time and know that everything has been for the best, but gosh.

Today the sun came out and I decided it was a good time to go out for a few photos. I have been wandering around my yard trying to get creative everyday in spite of the cold overcast, flat lighting. However, my success rate has been going down. I suppose I’m getting tired of photographing in the same dim flat light. I have been waiting for a weather change, any change. Rain, snow, fog or as today, some sun poking through the clouds.

I grabbed my camera with a plan to stroll down the street to photograph things poking through the snow, but when I got as far as my gate then realized my choice of camera and macro lens was wrong. I ran back in and got my infrared camera with a 20-40mm.

I could see the light at the end of the road was illuminating the trees and thought this would be a good time to (again) photograph that old car the neighbours moved down by their driveway.

As I casually walked down the road I thought about a YouTube video I watched last week. I was looking for some information on a Sigma Art 50mm that I just got in my shop. The guy on the video had said that he didn’t think it was worth spending money on that lens. He agreed with other reviewers that it is one of the sharpest lenses available, but doesn’t think, other than some top professionals, that sharp lenses are really worth owning. He went on to bring up some lazy, overused sayings about what makes good photographers. Then to prove his point he proudly showed his personal selection photos that in my opinion were some of the worst, most forgettably boring, point and shoot, poorly made photographs I have seen in a long time.

My friend Drew commented that the best way to stop him from making his misguided comments would be to hand him a camera with the mode selector taped (so he couldn’t use it on program mode) and a selection of quality lenses. Then give him and his friends a course in posing and printmaking that included a discussion on how different focal length lenses change perspective that would end with prints that were bigger in size than his cell phone.

I was glad I had decided to use my IR camera. I have photographed that car many times and after my drab week I needed the creative push that infrared and the 20-40mm lens gave me. I don’t know these neighbours, and always stay outside their fence, but I can still get creative with different lenses without trespassing.

The light started to change so I walked back home, got my 70-200mm in case I saw any wildlife, stuck a CD titled, “Big Band Christmas” in the car player and drove up the road following the light.

The only wildlife I saw were cows in a field and a dog that barked at me to keep moving as I slowly drove past his property. I don’t have a dog anymore, but if someone walks on my property two geese and seven ducks will loudly, very loudly, give them their opinion.

I was able to get some great shots of a field with hills and clouds in the distance, and I stopped many times to just shoot down the tree lined road.

I keep saying that photography is one of the best hobbies one could have in this precarious time. And for someone that is alone the creative hunt for pleasing photographs absolutely wards off the depression that I understand some people are experiencing.

I’ll finish this with a quote from a documentary photographer I read about. Alec Sloth is known for his photography of small Midwestern rural communities. “Photography is a very lonely medium. There’s a kind of beautiful loneliness in voyeurism. And that’s why I’m a photographer”

Stay safe and be creative.

These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net.