Feature Friday: Photography Without Direction

Featuring photographers and their images is one of the most rewarding outcomes of my tasra365 photography project. It provides a voice to other artists on their journey, and offers invaluable inspiration to fellow artists.

I hope you are as inspired by these stories as I am. This week, Sandra Marek shares about her photographic learning journey.

It all started about 3 years ago when I wanted a nice camera to take “better” pictures for my scrapbooking hobby, so my husband gave me a Nikon D-80 for Christmas. I shot in Auto Mode for the first year. One year later, I purchased a used Nikon D-300. I started a picture a day project/blog about a year and a half ago, with a group of photographers of all skill levels.

Image © Sandra Marek

For the first year, I literally just took pictures. I had no direction, no guide and no plan. Pictures of everything and anything would make an appearance in my blog, once I even included my laundry. Most of these images were not very creative, just point and shoot, but I worked on learning something about photography every day.

On February 14, 2010 I came across Tasra Mar’s Blog in which she says that our photography will improve by 300% if we:

  1. Take at least one picture a day.
  2. Read at least 1 page in the camera manual
  3. View other professional images every day.

That day I signed on – I took the challenge. Six and a half months later I have completely read the users manual for the D-300 and I have followed her recommendation to become a better photographer. I have also taken on a daily challenge (The Daily Shoot) in which they give you a guide line for your picture of the day. My learning curve has tripled in the last six months.

Image © Sandra Marek

These are a few of the things I’ve learned in my photographic journey:

  • We all need a little help along the way and it’s o.k. to ask when you are stuck, there are people willing to help.
  • Challenges are good for growth, it makes you think outside of the box.
  • I can study other people’s work, outside of a classroom setting, and find out what it is I like about it, then “lift” my own style and include what I have learned from it in my own work.
  • The camera is only as good as the person holding it.
  • It helps me grow faster when I share what I’ve learned.
  • I have to have tough skin, if I want to continue on this journey.
  • It will all pay off in the end…

Image © Sandra Marek

I’m reading the book Vision Mongers by David duChemin and he puts into words what it feels like in my life every day.

It’s the calling, the passion, the vision. It makes me pick up my camera every single day, sometimes several times a day. It makes me look at objects/people and wonder how I can shoot it creatively. I do it because I cannot “not” do it. It may not always be my best but it’s my best for that day.

So I will continue to pick up the camera every single day, I will continue to take pictures because I cannot “not” do it. I no longer shoot in Auto mode and I see the world in a “different” light. I see colors, shapes, light and shadows. I see details. I have a greater appreciation for the world around me. I have found my passion and my drive.

Image © Sandra Marek

  • dquatta

    Sandra's story is indeed inspiring and her work shows her growth and desire to do her best from day to day. Kudos to you Sandra for following your passion and to you, Tasra for heeding the call to create and develop your 365 challenge; it's definitely affecting people's lives.


  • Judy

    I follow Sandra and love her work. Thanks for the insight.

  • Levonnegaddy

    Thanks for the article written by Sandra. It was good.