In my last post I shared my minor obsession with being connected by technology. Whether it’s by text, e-mail, or social media, I like communicating with people or being able to read about the news going on in the world around me. For social media I mainly use Facebook. It’s been fun connecting with people I haven’t seen since childhood or high school, but also just with people I see on a regular basis. I go on Pinterest occasionally, but it’s not something I do everyday. Twitter is also one I only view once in awhile. I actually just signed up for Twitter a few months ago so I could see what it was all about since it seemed everyone from politicians to celebrities tweeted. From time to time I’ll scroll through and do a quick read, but I haven’t found the thrill of it. I’ve never actually sent my own tweet. Yet, since so many people use Twitter, I feel like I must be missing something.
My most recent find and latest interest--Instagram. Last fall I signed on to Instagram just to see what it was. I saw you could take pictures and use a few enhancements. No big deal. I basically just ignored that app and really never thought about it again. Well, a couple months ago, the topic of Instagram came up with my friend Lisa. I think I had tried Instagram again and posted the picture on Facebook. Lisa often posts some of her Instagram pics, so she told me a bit about it, and it piqued my interest. I didn’t know there was this little Instagram world going on! It was much more than I realized.
I have actually had an interest in photography for awhile. I’m always amazed by the wonderful pictures some people take. They have just the right angle and colors. A couple of years ago, Jason bought me a “real” camera; however, I never really learned how to use it appropriately. I basically keep it on AUTO rather than use all of the options it has available. Jason suggested I read a photography book or the manual, but I really didn’t have time for that. I also got my iPhone a few years ago and found myself using that camera a lot simply because of the convenience of it. It certainly doesn’t have the same quality or the ability to zoom the same way, but it does the job most of the time.
My forgotten Instagram account was private and I assumed that’s how I’d want it, just as I do with Facebook. After Lisa shared how she uses Instagram, however, I made my account public and started viewing other people’s work and then even attempted some of my own photos. There are forums on Instagram where you can submit your photos and moderators of these sites will choose certain pictures to be featured. Some of these forums are for pictures of flowers, doors, children, or just random images, to name a few. At first I had a lot of questions about how it all worked. I was sending regular texts to Lisa asking questions. At one point I told her she could send me a bill for all of her tutorial time. Lisa has an excellent photo gallery (@lisaeinme) and is also the co-founder of Wicked Good Shots, which is a forum devoted to photos taken of New England.
Once I posted my first couple of pictures and hashtagged them into a particular forum, I started getting likes and comments from people all over the world. And then, when I got my first picture featured, it kind of hooked me. In the last couple months since being part of Instagram, I’ve had multiple pictures selected. So along with the feedback from others and the positive reinforcement from having pictures chosen, it makes me want to keep submitting pictures. Instagram is quite unique in the fact that everyone is so supportive and polite. People write kind comments and send congratulations for a photo well-done or for a picture that has been chosen for a feature.
Like writing, I think I enjoy Instagram because it lets me use the creative side of my brain. While I’m not terribly creative, it is different from my regular job which has me doing paperwork, meeting state and federally regulated deadlines, and doing evaluations and writing reports. No creativity needed there. I think the right side of my brain is a little happier now that it’s getting exercised a little.
I feel like everywhere I go now, I look around me and wonder if something would make a good picture. I certainly don’t have the talent and editing skills that many of the photographers do, but it’s still quite fun. If anything, it’s making me take notice of life around me. I notice sunsets, flowers, and interesting architecture. Rather than rushing through life, I’m actually taking time to smell the roses (and photograph them!).
Visit me on Instagram: @khuchel