Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy Birthday AmateurNikon!

Time really does fly. Today, November 26, AmateurNikon celebrates its fifth birthday. Exactly five years ago, on November 26, 2011, the first ever AmateurNikon article was published. It was this one, a review of the Nikon Nikkor AFS 18-55mm lens.

Since then I have published well over a hundred reviews, together with dozens of other articles, including advice on photography and Photoshop tutorials. I also wrote several books. Each and every one of those articles had a common goal:
To help you get the best of your camera
As I state in AmateurNikon's "about" page, AmateurNikon began after I realized two things:
  1. I learned all the important lessons in photography all by myself, by trial & error.
  2. There is an excessive amount of cold facts about cameras and lenses, and very few about real-life use.

I wanted to spare you the meaningless details and get straight to the point, which should always be an image. We can talk all day about "marks" and MTF charts, we can spend days over black-and-white diagrams viewed at 100%, trying to gauge whether lens A is sharper than lens B, but if at the end of the day you can't give me an image inspiring a reaction, conveying feelings, thoughts, or states of mind (affect, in other words), then what's the point? Diagrams and "marks" don't make art. Therefore:
AmateurNikon doesn't care about diagrams
I care about photography and art.

Through these five years, I have never portrayed my opinion as the best one - let alone the only one. But I have always been honest and upfront about it. I have offered my experience, in as easy-to-understand language as possible, yet at the same time trying to appeal to more advanced photographers as well. This is not easy and sometimes I have probably, inevitably, failed. Some articles might have been too difficult for beginners, others might have been too simplistic for advanced photographers. I'm learning myself all the time, and I even change my mind from time to time. That's a good thing; this is how progress occurs.

Keep in mind that I'm always accessible: I get plenty of messages every week (mostly through AmateurNikon's Facebook page but also through Twitter), and a common, recurring element is this: readers want advice but they're self-conscious about asking - mostly because they think their question is silly, at least that's the vibe I'm getting. But as an old Chinese proverb aptly states:
He who asks is a fool for five minutes; he who doesn't, is a fool for a lifetime
Ask anything you want, I'm here to offer my opinion. You can also leave a comment on any page here on AmateurNikon if you'd rather ask through the website. There are no stupid questions, and I never get bored of questions - even those like "Which is better, Canon or Nikon?

One thing I've also grown to dislike - a lot - in Internet discussion groups is the condescending, patronizing attitudes of people who, either because they own an expensive camera or because they're more experienced, think it's OK to be hostile towards those who can't afford to pay a lot or who are beginners. I absolutely detest this attitude, and aggression in general. I will never look down on any photographer, no matter what their background. I started from nothing myself, I bought my first film camera literally counting coins on the shop's counter.

Don't feel bad about what you don't have, don't stress over equipment. I've made my most rewarding photos with cameras such as the D40 and the D3200; even professionally, I never felt the need to use something more than my D700 and a couple of cheap primes. There's only one thing to remember (provided that your goal is to make meaningful photos):
Love and be inspired by what you photograph. The rest will eventually fall into place
Happy Birthday AmateurNikon. And the best wishes to all its readers, that are the reason I'm writing these articles, week, after week, after week.


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