Photography for a Newbie

With a Sony Aplha Nex 5n in my hand, and a quick tips from my friend who seems to know A-Z in photography, I was ready to be my first time becoming photographer on duty in my trip to Ambarawa, a small town outside Semarang, Mid Java.

My first impression about photography was quite confusing. We got lens, aperture, ISO, shutter speed, f, and I can’t digest it quickly. But a help from my friend was really helpful to me conquering the confusing ins and outs of photography.

My first question in mind when I hold a camera in hand was ‘What makes a good photograph?’. Is it the outstanding camera and its complement, or a breathtaking and amusing objects, or a superb skill of the photographer? Of course it was the intersection of those 3 that makes a good photograph. But when someone has to choose one answer, every one would probably say it is the last point that become the main factor to take a good photograph. Because the skill of a photographer would consist of knowing how to operate the camera in its best potential, and also working the best point of view of an object.

And a famous photographer once said that the essence of photography is about mastering the light. It seemed simple. But the technique and its appendage is making a newbie like me trembling.
But, I got some lucky shots. And I think I did a pretty good job taking beautiful pictures. However, there’s a saying mention that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. And I think that’s true in my case. I found out that pictures I’ve taken that I considered as beautiful was deleted. By my dad. He said that it was not good pictures. WHAT? But I realized, he was holding camera longer enough than I am. Maybe his consideration of good pictures was more reliable than mine. But STILLL.. gone is the pictures I’ve thought wonderful. So now I am keeping my eyes every time my dad seeing the photos in  camera. And I would scream NOOO each time he said one of my picture was not good enough. Haha. A newbie still have the right to stand her ground, isn’t she?

So.. I think I’m gonna like photography. Anyway, it could support what I do like to do, which is to share something. So here’s my story in Ambarawa, now aided with some illustration none other than pictures I took myself. Yay! (:

A trip to Ambarawa with my mom and dad was intended to pay a visit to my grandmother and grandfather’s tomb. It’s been a while for me not to be in a small town. A year I spent in Pacitan, a small town in the border between east java and mid java, about 1 year ago was time that I would always remember. And now after almost a year going back to Jakarta, the busiest city in Indonesia, I felt some inner odd feeling to experience again a taste of a small town. And it taste like no gigantic shopping paradise, mountain view, yellowing rice fields, and most importantly: fresh air.

And here’s the pictures in the cemetery. I took a lot but here are some of the best in my opinion.

One thing funny was, I was so focused taking pictures in ways that I would call it artistic – until my dad called and remind me to take picture with the people in it. And I was struck that I was so focusing on taking good pictures but forgetting to include the people. What a naive newbie..

And here was the first part of my trip. I’ll take a break first because I was sleepyhead right now.

But one thing I want to share before I get some rest, I think I captured the down side being a photographer…

Well, being a photographer on duty for the first time, I had my mind in perpetuating moments mode on. But soon I realized that I wasn’t really enjoy the moment. I missed the essence of presence moment. Before I was become the camera man, often I was assigned as the one in charge to record moments with video camera in my family trip. Being with the video camera didn’t make me push my mind to think about which angle worked and which didn’t. What mode should I use. And with the video camera, I could still see the process across the lens through the display screen.

When I saw a photo of people praying in a solemn atmosphere, usually I would just think about how wonderful the situation there. It must be nice to be in an atmosphere like that. Never I thought about the one who took the picture. Maybe he lost his own moments there – in sake of not letting it slipped away – by making it become eternally taken. 

In this trip, in the cemetery, visiting my family tombs, I would pray first in a hurry so I could took pictures where the other prayed. When I see a church or saint figures, instead of praying first, my mind was wondering how I would take this object into picture in different ways and out of the box.

I don’t know how the other experienced when they were behind the lens. But that was the honest thing of what I was going through. That was the only down side of photography that I realized.

However, I didn’t hate being photographer because of that. Maybe because I couldn’t operate the camera in a reflex, so I was separated from the moments. I admit that I would love to hunt pictures, experimenting which angle worked, which mode was the best to use. But next time, when it came to be a photographer in an event, I think I’d might put down the camera and let the other take the photographs.


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