Making Time for photography By D.J. De La Vega

Making Time for photography

By D.J. De La Vega

Making Time…

In between running around getting a bunch of nothing sorted out, doing chores and running errands, I decided to take two minutes out and grab a cup of coffee and take a well-earned break. There I sat upon the sea front on a bleak summer’s day, watching the increasingly ferocious waves crashing upon the gnarly and charismatic rocks through the windscreen of my car. I could see many a potential shot unfolding but as my camera was currently rattling around in the boot, I was not too worried about realising any of the potential photographs. Being as blessed as I am with the current location of my humble abode, I have endless number of similar attempts clogging up my hard drive as it stands.

All of a sudden a little car pulled up next to me and out popped a fragile but cheery old man, suitable wrapped up for the inclement weather conditions. He leant back into the open door of the ageing hatchback, gave his smiling wife a quick peck on the cheek and threw around his neck an unremarkable superzoom bridge type camera. Off he then toddled along the promenade, disappearing across the harbour to take some photos of the waves now excitedly assaulting the pier and lighthouse. Meanwhile his better half waited patiently in the car reading a book quietly listening to the talk radio.

I was in awe of just how fantastic this little scene that unfolded before me really was. This chap was deliberately and diligently carrying out his preferred past time regardless of the unfavourable conditions, fully supported and seeming actively encouraged by his long-suffering spouse. I could not even make time to get my camera from the boot of my car to take one shot. This is when I had the epiphany; although I consider photography to be integral in my life, cementing all aspects of my day. I realised 99% of the time that is what my photography was… cement. I struggle so much to make the most of my time, between all the essential building blocks of what it is that makes me be: wife, kids, family, friends, work etc. Photography encompasses all of these things while never really taking president.

That is when I decided I needed to start trying to find a way to squeeze more time into my hectic schedule… to put my photography first, if even just at least once in a while. I am always shooting while out doing something else; taking the dog for a walk, walking to the shops or taking pictures of my kids on days out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these occasions for photography, but I felt I needed time to concentrate wholeheartedly and immerse myself into a shoot.

A couple of days passed and with a bit of organising I found myself alone with my camera in one of my favourite cities in the (currently) United Kingdom, Edinburgh. I had suitably cleared my day and found I nothing but time to dedicate toward submerging myself in the culture and atmosphere of the impressive Capital. Just like the inspirational old man with his superzoom in his chosen location, it was just me, my D7000 and a 50mm F1.8 D floating around the city streets like a wisp on the breeze. I found I could concentrate more and explore locations and subjects in much greater depths than my usual style of candidly shooting on the move, trying to capture that one “decisive moment” whilst simultaneously trying to stop my dog mauling/mounting a passerby as my attention was shifted. I hovered, lingered and simply relaxed, breathing it all in.

For over five hours non-stop I walked, explored and shot and even with a conservative haul of less than the equivalent of two rolls of film I was happy with what I had achieved. I really wanted to share this set as I feel there must also be a lot of people out there who cannot find the time of day to fully realise their passion for photography. Please do not mistake my satisfaction for superciliousness, I am not claiming that any of these pictures have broken the mould or that I have crafted anything close to a masterpiece, but I do feel on a personal level that have I have accomplished something by making time to put my photography first.

If we all spend more time taking photos than we do about talking and thinking about them, making time will surely reap rewards.

D.J. De La Vega


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  1. DJDLV, I always seem to enjoy your images and narratives. Thanks for contributing!

    Thanks to Steve, too!

  2. Really enjoyed reading your post, I can definitely resonate with it. A few years back I bought a fancy dslr and a raft of books on photography. I would spend my evenings reading the books while my camera was tucked away in a cupboard. Last year I looked back over my images and realised they were just holiday pics or events where every other person has a camera. I signed up to the 365 project, and quickly became amazed by the friendliness of the community and wealth of talent out there. Using my camera every day I saw my images start to really improve. Every day now, even if its only for ten minutes, I will take a walk with my camera for the sole purpose of photography.

  3. I’m also teying to make more time for my photography, and this made a great read so thank you.
    Sometimes I’m taking photos for the sake of it perhaps, but I’m critiqueing those and then deleting them, so I think it’s all part of the learning process as I try to learn/find my style.

  4. Shutter-Therapy
    Nice description of photography as Mindfullness-Meditation to get connected with Agape.
    Hope You will find moments of enlightment like Psychopath-Photographers never will.
    Thats the world all about…

  5. I find your photo journalistic style images interesting and a nice alternative to the overly dramatic approach that seems popular today. I also appreciate that you used restraint in post processing that, for me, made these images feel like genuine slices of life. The reflections in the first shot were fun.

  6. I also find this (as I’m sure many do) D.J. Yet it’s also a balancing act of not making images for the sake of it! A couple of ways I try and get around this by:

    1. Taking my camera to work and spending 1/2 hour to practise on the street for a few consecutive days in each month.
    2. Make a point of “negotiating” with my wife for some personal time each during the weekend once a month.
    3. Have your camera out and visible in the house (not in your cupboard) for photography around the house
    4. Take a different perspective sometimes on photography and practise contemplative photography with pattens, lines, light and still life (if it’s your thing)…Careful this doesn’t fall into the “for the sake of it” camp!
    5. Finally what I’ve found over time is what photography environments I really enjoy the most and so not get too worried if if not enjoying it outside of these (family, “some” street and travel….fortunately it doesn’t mean I’m driven to jump up at sunrise for a landscape session :-)).

  7. Nothing happened? Reminds me of the guy in the Ulan Bataar hostel that told me I was stupid for going down to the Gobi “because there’s nothing there”. We each have different wants. I’d have been very happy to spot the girl on the steps with the two gargoyles. Good text too. Thanks

  8. Cool/fun images. Well executed. I want to be that old guy who remains excited about photography and simple things like the ocean his whole life. I’m half way there as I have a very supportive, and yes, ‘suffering spouse.’ 🙂
    My grandparents came from Edinburgh to the States but I have not had the opportunity to visit that great city and country yet (sometime sooner than later!).
    Finally, thanks for the nice story; I really enjoyed it and could easily relate to it.
    Best regards,

  9. Thank you Steve for letting me share my work on your amazing site and thanks for the kind words guys.

  10. Nice article and very true! Your day was well spent. The reflection and street are my favorite parts of the 1st photo.

  11. Fun street images. I agree with your thesis. Its sort of a balance. I imagine the older gentleman you witnessed has a more open schedule than you or I have. But we have these nice cameras and we enjoy the pursuit and (hopefully) the results, so it makes sense to devote some time to our art.

    I like your composition and deliberate style. Very inspiring post. Thanks for sharing!

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