[practice] downtown tucson


About a month ago, after years of lusting and longing after a quality camera, I finally allowed myself the luxury of purchasing a DSLR, a Nikon D7500.

Unsurprisingly, my photography skills didn’t skyrocket to professional levels with the opening of the box. So, to better utilize this fancy new picture-taking tool, I’ve been auditing a photography class via Coursera.

In the first couple of weeks, I’ve learned about how cameras work and gotten an overview of the features and settings. The first assignment of the course was to identify my goals as a photographer and create a series of photographs that represent who I am – or want to be – as a photographer.

I did the assignment in reverse. Last night and, after a short-lived battery was recharged, this morning, I went downtown to simply take pictures. I put the camera fully in auto mode, allowing me to focus on the composition over the technique. And, as the shutter clicked over and over, as I stood in the street to get the right angle (often laughingly pushing Andrew out of the exact spot I wanted to stand), I found not only the joy in photography, but a small shadowing of my goals and who I will be as a photographer.

When I took the first picture of Toby (our resident griffin sculpture), the first shot was of his full being. It’s not a bad picture at all. But the photo that spoke to me most was the one I took up close, his body and wings gently illuminated while the sky darkened around him. It’s an angle and a detail that reveals a spirit not readily apparent as you simply walk past him on the street.

With that photo, and a few others I captured, one of my goals as a photographer became clear: to bring the details into focus, to give life to everyday images. That’s not to say that I won’t take those wide-angle shots, to capture the full view. But I hope that even those images will bring something new, something vibrant, some spin on the photo that reveals joy and passion.

In this post, I’ve included a selection of the 125 shots I took in Tucson last night and this morning. These are the best of the batch, and some aren’t really all that great. But this is the first step in my photographic journey. There will be much, much more to come.

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