Passions: Being an amateur photographer helps time slow down and brings different perspectives

Disclaimer for professional photographers: This is likely going to sound like a whole load of gibberish

I’ve often heard if you’re doing something creative, it’s good to approach the task at hand like a child – with no fear.

With music I find it hard to rediscover that feeling as I’ve been playing for years. With drawing I still try too hard. But with photography, which I’ve only started doing on a more regular basis in the last year, it seems to work.

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It’s a hobby of mine that is unique in the sense that I am not particularly working towards a desired outcome. I am not thinking too much about what the end goal will be. If I am cooking, I want my meal to taste good so that I can eat it. If I am swimming, I’ll likely want to try and do the same or a few more lengths than the last dip. But with photography, I notice how much I enjoy the act of doing it more than the result itself (probably because it doesn’t end up being very good anyway).

Morning commute in Leith (pic: Katharine Hay)Morning commute in Leith (pic: Katharine Hay)
Morning commute in Leith (pic: Katharine Hay)

It could be down to the fact that capturing moments in time helps time itself slow down a bit; a feeling that I always welcome.

Having a camera in my hand also automatically prompts me to look at what’s in front of me in a different way, and in more ways than one. Recently, I spent ages taking photos of an unplumed Victorian sink standing in my bathroom. Who knew a sink could be so interesting.

It also helps me appreciate beautiful things in front of me even more as I find myself really looking for the detail. I photographed paintings done by my brother and his friend recently and noticed images and colours in the works of art that I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up on just by looking at them. Having the camera in my hand helps me take a closer look.

I was fortunate enough to find a good lens second hand recently which has helped me photograph birds, something I never thought I would be able to capture given how twitchy they are. I enjoy observing birds, and trying to place which ones they are by sight and sound. But going home and looking over the images when trying my hand at editing a few, you can really see the colour of their feathers, their beady eyes and busy expressions more than you would with just the naked eye. Maybe editing will be my next hobby…

Katharine Hay is Rural Affairs Correspondent of The Scotsman

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