I’ve always had a minor interest in photography, but I didn’t really get into it until I bought my first digital camera in 2001 for a planned trip to Israel. Once there, I discovered that I loved taking images. I spent four years taking pictures with that point and shoot (a Canon A20 — 2 megapixels!) before upgrading to an advanced point and shoot. I would eventually upgrade two more times to the Canon 7D that I own today.
Over the time that I shot all those pictures, I learned the basics of photography. I learned about composition. I learned about apertures and shutter speeds and ISO. I even learned a thing or two about lighting. And, over the years, my pictures have gotten better as I learned more and practiced.
While there are plenty of pictures in which I took pride as I shot them, there is one that I eventually took that made me think to myself “*this* is a really nice image.” It’s not my favorite image, nor is it the best one I ever produced — but it’s one that, when I took it, I realized that I had reached a new level of skill and one that I was proud to show off as art, and not just as “another one of my pictures.” This is the shot:
Believe it or not, this image isn’t all that complicated. There’s some black paper in the background, a piece of glass under the tulip (providing the reflection), a small LED flashlight behind the flower and some water drops sprinkled on the rose. After that, I did some minor Photoshop work to get rid of specks of dust on the glass and to deepen the blacks — and that was it.
And yet, even though it wasn’t complicated and didn’t involve a lot of technical set up, nonetheless, I liked it — a lot. And, just as importantly, so did other people. This became the first shot that I really took a lot of pride in — and to this day, it remains among my favorites.
What was your “breakthrough” image? I’d love to hear about it.