WTF is photography?

Hell if I know.

I have used a Samsung point and shoot camera since 2007. Photography, to me, has always been “That leaf looks cool!” and “OMG dude, lemme get a picture of you doing that!”. My artistic eye once led me on a journey to the backyard to snap a picture of a bird taking a bath in a puddle, my dog standing in tall grass (because I hadn’t mowed in a couple of weeks), and a picture of a sunset. My photo editing skills incude cropping friends heads and putting them in funny and sometimes compromising situations as they’re all dazzled by my finely tuned free 30-day trial Photoshop skills. I know as much about photography and editing as I know in twenty-five years experience with women: freaking nothing.

I used to spend hours online, browsing Flickr and thinking to myself “damn, those are some nice cameras”. Several months ago, I decided to check into it and see just how much it cost to take such breathtaking photos like some of these self-proclaimed amateur photographers. My findings were truly shocking. They’re called “SLRs” and I could own one of these things and not have to live in my camping tent. I mean, if I really had to, the tent’s capacity maxes out at 8 people, but if you stack people on people, I’d say it could hold roughly 30. It’s kind of like a house made out of the pants those old people wear to walk the mall. If it’s good enough for post-retirement, it’s good enough for me.

In November of this year, I decided to go check one of these “SLR” cameras out in person. I went to the local Best Buy and started messing around with them. I first held a Canon T4i, a Nikon D3100, and then a Sony Alpha a57. To someone that knew nothing about these types of cameras, the a57 freaking blew me away. All of the specs on the information card were way higher than the other cameras I was holding. It had all these buttons that the other cameras didn’t have. It was sexy. It was also like $650 for the body alone. “F that”, I mumbled to myself. “What if I sucked at photography? I’m out all this money. I’m sure they hold their money okay, but once I buy that, I’ve got to buy a case. And lenses. And a nice SD card. Probably a tripod. Maybe some filters. Does it come with a strap? I probably I have to buy that, too.”

Frustrated, I left for home and got online. Much to my delight, several websites were offering “bundle packages, just in time for Christmas!”. “These are nice”, I thought to myself. “They’ll put all this crap I need in one big box, ship it to my house, and I don’t have to support that corporate whore of an electronics store Best Buy!”. So the search began, and after comparing at least 20 models side by side with each other, the Canon Rebel EOS T3 fit my budget and eased my conscience that kept telling me not to spend too much money on yourself at Christmas.

On Saturday, December 22nd I ordered a camera. B&H Photo and Video was running a promotion on their website. I could get a Canon T3 body and the stock 18-55mm IS II lens, a 16GB SDHC Extreme Class 10 UHS-I storage card, and a shoulder bag for $399. I could also add on a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II for $100. If I bought that lens, they would give me a Canon 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Autofocus lens for $9. So, I bought the whole damn family for $508, free shipping. It will be here on January 2nd.

I click the button and think to myself “Hell yeah, man. I’m going to be taking pictures of everything, everywhere. I’ll be like the paparazzi, except I will be taking pictures of things that no one cares about. And it will be good.”

I sat in front of my computer, dreaming of owning my own business, bringing joy and hapiness to people in the form of my camera, going new places and seeing new things, capturing moments properly for the first time in my life, and thinking I just acquired a membership card to an imaginary club that meets at the back of Starbucks on Wednesday evenings.

I sneezed three times right onto my keyboard. I’m not saying I have ADHD, but my mind is constantly going from Seinfeld episodes to the size of inseams on basketball shorts to ingredients that actually go into chapstick to what dolphins talk about, and for the first time maybe in my life my mind shifted in an appropriate direction.

I should really look up what SLR means. Probably all those numbers next to the lenses too. And WTF is that f doing next to that backslash? WTF does that mean? WTF is PHOTOGRAPHY, and why did I just spend $500+ that I could have bought a few kegs with?

I hate Apple, Inc. Ask anyone I know. I had an iPhone once. I hated it. As far as I am concerned, they’re ridiculous as far as trying to put the most progressive technology they’re capable of. They just release little pieces at a time, which always seem like just the right time for Christmas, cell phone plan upgrades, and smug coffee drinkers that have to have the newest tech gadget just to impress people. In most cases, apple is way behind, but who would want to be caught holding a samsung in their hand opposite the coffee they just paid nine dollars for?

Having denounced their organization, that Steve Jobs guy spoke to a graduating class in 2005. I did graduate in 2005, but it wasn’t my class. Anyways, in his speech he said “You’ve got to find what you love. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle.”

I am pretty good at what I do as a profession. I know my stuff, for the most part, I’ve been with the same company for almost five years, and I don’t ever call-in sick or cause any (major) problems. But, it’s not what I love. By Jobs’ theory, I’m not doing good work. So, I’d like to look at this camera as a possible investment. I spend $500, and maybe I find out that photography is what I love to do. I understand I’m only going to get out of the entire experience what I put into it, and I fully plan to utilize every resource and really learn my stuff. If it works, perhaps I can do great work.

If not, stay tuned for an amazing, once in a lifetime deal on a Canon T3 and a few lenses.