Falling in love with Photography Again – Part 5 of my photography journey

Now where were we? Last time we talked about how I fell out of love with photography and I imagine you have guessed from the title this part is about how I found my way back. If you have missed the first 4 parts there are links at the bottom of this post to them.

I didn’t seriously get back into photography until the end of 2009. I had played around a little with digital and had small digital point-and-shoot cameras, but I only used them for fun and to get images for other work. I wouldn’t have said that I was into photography during that time.

Towards the end of 2008 my daughter got into cycling. It seems cycling is a very serious sport and at the time she loved it. We loved it too, if I have to be honest, being around it. It was through this that I met a woman who had a digital SLR (DSLR) camera. I think it was a Pentax. Now I don’t remember how it happened, but she started letting me use it when we were at races. I loved using it, though I didn’t try to work out how to use it. I just went out and took photos. I think the owner decided that I took better photos than she did. I’m not sure that is true, but I’m grateful she let me.

I have deleted so many of my photos from the cycling years, but I did find these. They are probably among the very first ones I took. They are all that is left from the Pentax camera that I borrowed.

When people started seeing the photos I was taking I was getting requests for people to buy them. I didn’t feel comfortable selling them because it wasn’t my camera. That started the whole conversation with Dave, my husband, and we knew I needed to get a DSLR.

When I was doing my fine arts degree I got to know one of the technicians really well and he was into photography. He had a Nikon D200 and he let me play around with it once. I also brought in my old Nikon lenses to see if they would work on it. People said they would work but I wouldn’t get the autofocus to work. On his, if I remember correctly I didn’t, but the lenses could still be used.

So in 2009 when I was looking for a camera the logical choice was to get a Nikon DSLR so I could still use those lenses. I looked at all the options and knew that I needed one that was fast, could take several frames a second and so I landed on the Nikon D300s. It was an entry-level pro model but seemed perfect for what I needed.

It wasn’t cheap at around $1800 at the time. However, I knew that I couldn’t afford it and lenses, so I had to be happy with the lenses that I had. In the end, I caught up with that technician and he was selling his 80-200mm 2.8 lens for $800. It was too good a price to pass it up, so I also got it and still have it.

Once I had the camera I put my lenses on it and was so surprised to see that the autofocus worked. I was in business, literally. I also had permission from Cycling Victoria to take the photos and I gave them some photos as well. They helped to advertise me and in return, they used my photos from the events.

I started photographing all the junior cycling events/races and then tried to sell the photos. I thought since my daughter was also cycling that I would concentrate on the juniors because I was going to be there anyway.

I set up a website to sell the photos and off I went.

The next set of images were taken at the Junior National Track Championships in 2010.

It didn’t quite go as expected. Who knew that parents didn’t want to buy photos of their kids doing a sport they loved?

I didn’t charge much, but it seems if they were on the internet they must be free and when I went onto Facebook I would find my images everywhere. The kids would steal them from my site and just use them. I even had really strong watermarks over the top of them, but still, they took them. They didn’t care. It was really frustrating.

I did cycling photography for a couple of years. However, it was while I was doing it that I started to fall in love with photography all over again.

Just a few of the road and criterium images.

It happened more while I was doing road cycling. I would be out in the countryside and as I waited for the cyclists to go past I found myself photographing the scenery around me. I mean some of the places we went to were so beautiful.

When the cycling camps happened I found myself getting up early and going out to see what I could take. I really started to enjoy landscape photography again. However, I stuck with the cycling for a couple of years.

These are some of the landscapes I captured while out on the road for cycling.

My daughter stopped cycling at the end of 2011 and I continued doing it for a little while longer. I had made a lot of friends and I was having fun, but once my daughter stopped it changed. While she was racing it didn’t matter so much if I didn’t make any money, you know, I was there anyway. When she stopped I didn’t have to be there and then I started realising it just wasn’t worth it. The last race I photographed where the Junior State Road Championships in the middle of the year in 2012.

They were in Wangaratta, so it was a 3 hour drive from home, I had to pay for two nights’ accommodation and at the end of it I sold 3 photos. I didn’t even cover the cost of the petrol.

After that I never photographed junior racing again, or any racing I think.

It had been fun, but it was so tiring. Standing around for hours on end holding up your camera to take photos was hard on my hands and my arms.

I did get some great opportunities and through Cycling Victoria I was able to photograph some of the elite-level racing as well. I got to go to events and get good positions to not only see them but take photos as well. I just about got media accreditation for any event I wanted to go to. Well, I did get it.

The most amazing was the UCI World Track Championships in 2012. It was a lot harder to get and I had to do some deals with magazines who would back my accreditation in return for some photos. One of those being Pedal Magazine in Canada.

I got to rub shoulders with lots of media in the sports industry plus those elite cyclists from all around the world. It was incredible. I also got to go for free.

I was down fairly low on the totem pole and I didn’t really get great access to take photos, but I had a lot of fun and enjoyed what I did get. Here are some of those photos.

That event was probably one of the last cycling events I ever photographed. I can’t say I wish I hadn’t done it because it got me back into taking photographs again. I fell in love with photography once again. The cycling is also why I started blogging. I was told to start a blog as it might help sell my photos. Not sure it really did that, but I’m still blogging today, so that was also a definite plus.

I should also mention that I did do a bit of netball photography as well, but it was even worse than cycling. People weren’t interested in buying photos, so there didn’t seem any point. I really didn’t do it for long.

So where to from here, well I guess you will have to wait until next week to find out what my photography life was like after I stopped photographing anything to do with cycling.

In case you have missed the other parts you can find them here.

Becoming a photographer – Part 1 of how I got started

My first SLR camera – Part 2 of how I got into photography

Trying to get more serious – Part 3 of how I got into photography

Getting to where I hated photography – Part 4 of my photography journey

 

 

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38 Comments

  1. Action shots have always been a huge challenge for me. I love landscape though, especially the peace and travel that comes with it.
    The autumn colors of that tree, I adore. 💙

  2. Interesting tale of your entry / re-entry to photography. I fell into it “professionally” in 2006. I went to Aachen, Germany, as part of the Public Relations folks for the Canadian Equestrian team that was competing at WEG (World Equestrian Games). There were pro photographers there, but for some of what I needed, I had to take my own photos so, before heading over, I bought my first DSLR, a 70-300 (cheap) lens and headed out. Actually sold a few of my pics! And, I’ve never looked back. I did a lot (and still do a few) equine events over the years but, like you with the cycling, I’ve pretty much given it up in favour of landscape and macro subjects. Those give me artistic license and are fun to play with, PLUS I don’t have to stand at ringside for hours, take thousands of images, and, if I’m lucky, sell two. We are much alike in many ways.

  3. Ah, interesting i had a D300, great camera but 7 years ago it became too heavy for me…Now use an Olympus. Mirrorless

  4. Awesome story Leanne. Your cycling photos were really great. I think these are really interesting posts. It’s super fun to get to know you a bit better this way. Thanks!

    1. Thank you Tim, I did enjoy the challenge of the cycling, but after a while it got too much. Aww, that is nice of you to say Tim, it has been an interesting look back at it for me. I’ve been enjoying the journey too.

  5. In reading this stage of your journey, what strikes me is how self-aware you are and how assured you are in understanding and following your passions. I am sure it would have been tempting to spend time on whatever type of photography was most commercially viable at the time but you made the decision to not compromise on what brings you fulfilment. It is also important to recognise that the things that bring us joy can evolve and change over time so we don’t have to stay in one rut. Your post underscores that too.

    1. I think my problem has always been that I don’t know what is viable commercially Laura, I have failed in everything really. Though I have never seen any point in sticking with something that doesn’t work, give it a couple of years and then more on. I absolutely agree with that last part Laura, thank you.

  6. Enjoying the series. Interesting how the timeline and some of the circumstances are similar. Makes me think about writing my own history. Also must say I really admire your work. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. It is so nice to read about your journey. I got into photography in 2016 with the Sony Alpha 6000 after I started enjoying clicking with my smartphone and took an online course. I then bought a full frame Sony A7iii, which I love but used only for a few months. Unfortunately due to some shoulder pain (full frame mirror less cameras are not as light as my A6000), I am back to using my phone. Your post gives me motivation that I will pick up my big camera again!👍👍Will try to post so.e old photos soon too.

    1. That’s a shame to hear that about the heavier camera, have you considered using a tripod with it, that way you can use it and it won’t seem as heavy. I hope you go and good luck with it. Thank you.

    2. Thank you! The tripod is a good idea. One of these times, I go to the lake to catch the sunset I will take it with me. 👍👍

  8. Wow, really interesting story? What lens did you typically use for the cycling shots, 80-200mm that you mentioned? “… it seems if they were on the internet they must be free” is a bad culture that still exists today. 😅

    1. Thank you Joey. I used the 80-200mm and for angle I initially used my 35-105mm old lens, then I bought a 18 to something, can’t remember now. It was a cheap lens but for what I was doing was fine. I forgot to mention that in the end I bought a second camera as well, so I could do the zoom or wide angle. I know, and people think you should sell stuff really cheaply too. I hate it.

  9. This happened to me for a few months. I didn’t really wanting to take photos with my camera. I guess it was the winter blues this year. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Now I am enjoying my photography again

    1. I often get it short term here too, but often in the summer. I don’t like going out in summer to take photos. I’m glad it doesn’t happen for long Mary Anne. Enjoy taking photos again. Thank you.

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