New Hobbies

A friend pointed out an aspect of my personality I always knew about, but never realized others could notice, until he said something. I wish I could recall the exact quote, because the friend, Dan, has a beautiful way with words. The gist, however ineloquent, was "Wow, Greg. Another new hobby? You sure go through 'em!"
It's true. Despite areas I have (hopefully) matured, my unfocused interest in everything has remained constant since childhood. When it comes to athletics, I am terrible at remaining dedicated. MMA, Jujitsu, skateboarding, snowboarding, softball, golf, even simple jogging and yoga - I pick them up for a few months, take twice as many months off, and may-or-may-not return to every so often.

I do better with artistic hobbies, though. I have always been a writer, and in recent years, I started home brewing, and I have stayed dedicated to honing my craft (beer). Jokes aside, there are many artistic interests my humble (read: poor) upbringing prevented me from pursing. One example, music production (as in "DJ Greg"), never materialized. Not for lack of inspiration or interest, but because of the investment, or at least access to recording equipment, required. There is one classic hobby, however, which occupies an interesting middle ground: Photography!

I couldn't afford my own digital camera until I was 20, but I did grow up using my mother's old Nikon 35mm SLR, and later, the ever-popular "disposable cameras". No one taught me how to develop my own film, or for that matter lighting, composition, or framing a shot, but I always possessed a natural sense for the basics, preferring candid photos to posed, and practicing what I now know to be "the rule of thirds". As I began taking digital photos, I became more experimental, relying on the ability to take five or ten photos, rotate, crop, and choose the best shot later on a computer, but still, it wasn't until last year, that I finally bought a DSLR, Nikon D80, and began experimenting with manual focus, exposure times, aperture, and the like.

Even more recently, I finally arrived at the exciting realization that I can edit my photos further. This is something we've all taken for granted since the introduction of Instagram, but after uploading my Labor Day camping trip photos, I noticed Microsoft 10's simple, default "Photos" program - previously only good for viewing or rotating photos - now has a full and powerful range of photo editing options including tint, temperature, saturation, red-eye correction, and a host of lighting options!

You may have seen the photos I posted here from that trip, but I only made minor tweaks to improve lighting on a few low-light shots. After returning from my recent trip to Hawaii however, I jumped into the deep-end, spending several hours, every day, editing almost every photo I kept. Here is just one example:
Before...
After!
















So this is my newest hobby, but I already feel like I can never go back to posting untouched photos! To be clear, I am not touching up people! All the pores, curves and blemishes will stay, I just want the photo to look as great as the actual moment did to the naked eye.

I will post a photo blog about that trip once I finish editing my iPhone photos from the trip as well, but in the meantime, I will leave you with a wild sea turtle!

Before you claim I over-saturated the color, please go to Oahu's North Shore. It really does look like this!
P.S. I know there are no shortage of trained photographers out there, so PLEASE don't be shy in sharing any tips, comments, or even criticism in the comments! The only thing better than learning and getting better, is learning and getting better for free!

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