Lens Artists: My Photography Journey

Amy’s issued an interesting topic for this week’s Lens Artist Photo challenge: My Photography Journey.

I took up photography almost by accident. Prior to, I’d only taken photos on birthdays and holidays and even then, only when I remembered to carry my point & shoot camera. I used to think it more important to live the moment than try and capture it.

That started to change when I moved to China for a job assignment. There I was deluged with unusual sights that I knew I’d not see again. I still forgot to take my point & shoot but I always had my Blackberry on hand. Mobile phones in China were a necessity rather than a convenience and though the picture quality was so-so, the captured moments were unique.

The potential of photography was revealed during a trip to Angkor in Cambodia. My husband and I had signed up for a photography tour with Nathan Horton. Nathan took us to curated locations, timing our visits according to light, time of day and crowd avoidance. He introduced us to Lightroom and the possibilities of post-processing. He also introduced us to the concept and practices of street photography.

Be it travel or street photography, I discovered that I like taking pictures of people. If I take two shots, one with and one without people, I will invariably prefer the one with people. I also enjoy photos which have motion. Either captured motion frozen in time or images that invite the eye to move, look and see more.

I’m not a technical photographer. I don’t have the obsession with gear that seems to afflict serious aficionados. I don’t care about the different cameras and lenses and I can hardly remember my camera’s model. It’s why I am not drawn to studio work. The attention to light, timing, flashes, reflectors, diffusers! My worse photos have been with studio shoots.

Studio fails (Singapore)

I do like street portraiture though. I enjoy the casual engagement with strangers, where I approach someone, connect with them and take their picture. Often times I don’t know if I’ve gotten a good shot or not. It’s always a delight to find when I do.

These days the opportunity for travel and street photography is greatly diminished. I still don’t have it in me to take up landscape and macro. But I have started to look at food photography. I am taking baby steps. A lot about food photography is about staging and light i.e. all the elements of a studio shoot but on a smaller scale.

I’m not sure if this will end well. At least though, failure or success, I can always eat the results!

Toronto, Canada. February 2021


  1. LOL there is much to be said for eating one’s results Sandy! Enjoyed your journey and envy your unabashed willingness to meet and photograph strangers. While I agree wholeheartedly that images that include people are much stronger, I tend to use a zoom lens to capture people unaware. Have always been shy so I don’t approach strangers. Good for you!! Loved your journey, thanks for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandy – your street photography is amazing – I am far too shy myself, but when I travel alone I am less afraid of approaching people. The photographic tour looks like something to try – enriching and fun. I have seen some of your photos from then – and they are all fantastic. Food photography! Wow…it seems you are so good at everything I am lousy doing…But as you say – you can always eat the leftovers. Thank you for joining in – loved reading you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ann Christine – I feel the same about your photography – You are good at everything I am not.

      The jury is out on Food photography though πŸ™‚ The only similarity to street photography is that I want to be quick. I want to eat hot food before it gets cold and cold food before it gets warm!

      Thanks for stopping by.


  3. I loved reading your story. The photography tour in Angkor sounds excellent and judging by the few photos you’ve included here certainly resulted in you taking some fantastic shots! And it’s clear from the remaining photos that street photography really is your forte, they are so good. I admire the way you approach and engage your subjects. Most of my street photos are candid shots because I find it hard to do that – although my husband is more comfortable doing so and I sometimes ‘piggy-back’ on his requests πŸ˜†

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should hope that its breaking a traffic law at least!

      I believe what was under the tarp was actually very light. Something like recycled plastic bottles – bulky but not heavy. So physics was not being stressed πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandy, your photography tour sounds fantastic! I need to see if I can find such a thing. And I enjoy reading about what draws you and what doesn’t matter. I’m not as comfortable taking photos of people. But I sure have seen some great people photos from others (such as yours). Great post!! …I would like to take better food photos though 😊


    1. Hi Lisa! Photography tours are available all over, it depends on where you want to go … and when this Covid crisis is over. If you ever want to travel in South East Asia, I’d be happy to recommend a couple folks. Just let me know.

      I’m glad that you enjoyed my post. Thank you for telling me.

      As for better food photos … you and me both πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for shairng your journey, Sandy. The working and trlaveling in China must be a memorable tirp.
    I love your photos of Cambodia, and I remember the images you had posted, hope to see more. Street portraiture has been challenging for me. I like how you capture their expressions. Looking forward to seeing more of your food photography. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am thrilled you chose the pavlova to trial the food photography!
    I think your street photographs are ALWAYS interesting. They do tell a story a landscape cannot (with the exception of Scandinavia!!)
    I am quite shy about approaching folks on the street, so I commend you for the way you approach your subjects. Well done and no doubt we will see your progress with food photography in future posts.
    Why is a blackberry essential in China?


    1. I shall have to visit Scandinavia one day and be inspired πŸ™‚

      It is hard getting over that initial hurdle of approaching people and I admit, it’s easier done in places where I can be excused as a ‘crazy foreigner’ πŸ™‚

      Not so much Blackberrys but mobile phones were essential in China. Prior to my living there, I had resisted getting a mobile phone for work. I was already working 12 hour days and a phone would have tethered me to work 7×24. But in China, I needed a mobile to get around and for communicating. IT was a lifesaver for the many times I had to phone someone to explain to the driver where I needed to go. I remember one disasterous taxi ride where the driver was new to the city & totally lost. It was a case of blind leading deaf & dumb πŸ™‚ .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am sure Canada has equally stunning scenery, so the Scandi exception is probably to do with my bias!
        That taxi ride sounds a real worry. I had an experience with a taxi driver – who knew the road but didn’t know how to operate the car – in Bangkok. I had to instruct him that the fuel was getting very very low. When he suddenly realised it wasn’t the temperature gauge, he drove really really fast…. as if getting there faster would prevent us running out of petrol…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Laugh out loud funny! We should tell stories about our worse taxi rides. My worst was in Poland when the driver had some kind of black out and drifted into on-coming traffic, 3 times! Luckily it was a rural road and the other cars gave him leeway. I started yelling when he started drifting into an oncoming bus. Never have I been so thankful to arrive at my destination.

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s