An Extended Daily Inspiration… #187, by Werner Gryffenberg

I remember the day when my dad tought me the basics of how cameras work.

I was 16. He scribbled something down on a piece of paper about a 125th of a second and I remember him saying something about aperture too.

Soon after, I got an Olympus trip, a small point and shoot with a fixed lens. I used the camera as often as I could and tried to recreate photos I saw in magazines and photo books.

The hour(s) spent waiting for the photo lab to develop the film felt like an eternity to wait, and the results were, well, mostly disappointing. (I never learnt how to develop my own film).

I kept on reading and gathering as much information and inspiration as possible, trying to improve my knowledge and technique.

Later I upgraded to a secondhand Pentax ME Super with a 50mm lens. I remember practicing how to focus and firing the shutter without any film in just because I loved the sound so much.

Some photos I took I really loved and they covered the walls of my room.

A Nikon F401x followed with a zoom lens and autofocus. I photographed as often as I could afford it and even remember getting paid for photographing a company event and a wedding.

A trip to London forced me to sell my camera equipment.

I still kept reading as much as I could, lusting after the latest cameras and imagining what great photos I would be able to take if only I had camera X.

Every now and then I borrowed cameras from friends and trusted the local lab to turn my photos into the masterpieces I saw in magazines and photo journals, with not much success…

I pursued a career in graphic design and this gave me the opportunity to work with some really gifted and talented photographers in South Africa.

I remember going on shoots and watching the photographers setting up and working their magic.

Many people (including me at the time) have no idea how much work goes into creating the images we see around us every day.

Hundreds and hundreds of images get taken to get to the final chosen image that makes it onto the magazine cover or ad campaign.

Not to mention all the retouching after…

During this time I purchased a Canon Powershot A70.

I loved it. I could shoot and shoot and most importantly learn from my ‘mistakes’ and see the results instantly.

I visited photography websites and blogs (still do everyday) to read what the pros have to say, get information and get inspired.

I read up on post processing as much as I could.

Being able to process my own images was a revelation.

I learnt that a good photo can become even better with some careful post processing and proper printing.

Today, almost 10 years later, I try to photograph every day.

There are so many interesting things happening all around us all the time, just waiting to be captured.

Recently I rented a small studio space and I’m slowly starting to earn a living from my passion – photography.

If I’m not in the studio or on location, I shoot the streets, which I love the most.

I don’t own the biggest DSLR or newest rangefinder on the market and I don’t have a lot of glass, but I shoot with what I’ve got, as often as possible and I think this is the most important factor for me.

The more I shoot, the luckier I get and the luckier I get, the more I want to shoot.

A big thank you to everyone who posts their images and knowledge to inspire and educate others!

More can be seen at my blog HERE.


  1. Hi Werner,
    Great story – Great images. I love the first one. Tried that shot myself at a kid’s fare once – but your is much better! Excellent stuff.


  2. A great daily inspiration, the middle image is awesome.
    If the image is good, the bokeh, or ‘character’, or sharpness, or whatever crap we worry about doesn’t matter.

  3. I really like this Daily Inspiration idea. I’m not in the market for any kind of new thing, but this I can read and be exited about. As others have said, his blog really is worth a look.
    much love.

  4. Werner, your blog has some incredible images, some very haunting. You have a certain style that I enjoy.
    Thanks for your write-up also

  5. Very wonderful indeed! Excellent street photos – you have a wonderful style. Sure loved the photo ‘Evening news’ per your blog. The framing in your shots is well thought out and just amazing, you sure inspired me to 1) photograph more, 2) photograph in b/w more! Best!

  6. I enjoyed reading your story and I can identify with that feeling of looking at someone’s work, identifying something that you like about their style, and wanting to duplicate those shots. Thanks for sharing your story and I’m happy to hear where your passion has lead you. I love the hat photo, I can’t stop admiring it. It’ll be hard for me to shoot that one, but I’ll try!

  7. Love the pics.

    The effort you have put through to pursue your love for photography is already very inspirational 🙂

  8. I love the sweetness and joy captured in the hat photo. Inspiring story as well. Keep inspiring others and being inspired yourself! All the best!

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