Lens-Artists Challenge #133 – My Photography Journey

Nikon FM Camera

“One’s first love is always perfect until one meets one’s second love”

Elizabeth Aston

It was longer ago than I care to admit that I began my long journey into the world of photography. The image above is my first camera, a much-loved 35mm Nikon FM, an SLR film camera. Little did I know at the time that it would become a life-long passion. (And yes, you’re right – it IS bizarre that I still have that first camera and its manual 🙂.)

12 Apostles, Australia

“You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

J.R.R. Tolkein

For a while life got in the way as I built my career in the technology business. Through more luck than planning my husband and I were able to retire early and begin the life we’d often dreamed of. After moving south, we focused on exploring the world. My love of photography was re-awakened and coincided perfectly with the arrival of digital technology. I stored my film equipment away for good and bought an inexpensive Canon point-and-shoot which I quickly outgrew.


“Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”

Danny Kaye

The Kiawah Photography Club became a wonderful resource for improving my skills with its many excellent speakers who came to lecture and lead photo shoots. Our safaris in Botswana and South Africa motivated me to invest in new technology – this time with Nikon. After studying my options I purchased their then-current DSLR – with a dazzling 6 megapixel sensor – and my beloved 70-200 f/2.8 lens. It served me well for many years (along with an array of other Nikon lenses and several camera upgrades 😊) until it became just too heavy for me to hold.

Great Wall, China

“I urge you; go find buildings and mountains and oceans to swallow you whole. They will save you, in a way nothing else can.”

Christopher Poindexter

As we continued our travels, photography not only captured our adventures, it added to our enjoyment and allowed us to revisit them long after they were over. On the equipment front, because weight had become key I moved to a mirrorless Fuji X-T2. It served me well on our first outing, a visit to Israel and Jordan. I was able to comfortably carry it all day, every day for three weeks. More importantly, I was very pleased with the results despite some technology glitches along the way.


“May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.”

Trenton Lee Stewart

As we’ve traveled the world I’ve loved both seeing and capturing its wonders. None of it would have happened without the support and encouragement of my husband – the more adventurous and enthusiastic of our partnership. He has pushed me beyond anything I’d have accomplished without him and ensured that we’ve both enjoyed the journey. Happily, our photography club (where I am now occasionally a leader as well as a learner) continues to help me expand my skills. The image above for example is from a class I teach on making photography books, one of my favorite ways to savor and preserve our exploits.

sunset, Botswana, art

“Oh, the places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss

Finally, I’ve enjoyed learning the many sophisticated editing tools available. These days I use both Lightroom and Photoshop augmented by tools like Nik, Topaz and Luminar – which brings me to next week’s challenge! We’ll be asking you to share images that didn’t quite live up to your expectations together with your final versions after editing them. As an example, I’ve enjoyed dabbling in artistic interpretations like the image above, which can be great fun.

Looking back over my photography journey these many years has been a real pleasure for me. Amy is so right that photography is much more than what camera you use. Whether on another continent or in your own backyard, it’s also about what you see and how you translate your vision. My sincere thanks to Amy for this week’s inspiration, as well as to Ann-Christine and Patti who continue to inspire and motivate me. Finally, thanks to all of you who continue to follow along with us on our Lens-Artists adventures. We look forward to hearing about YOUR journeys. Remember to link to Amy’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. Until then, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite-ever quotes from Helen Keller: “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”.

So far so good 😊

122 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #133 – My Photography Journey

  1. Such a great post Tina. I too still have my first camera and its manual, a Pentax Spotmatic, and I’ve been a Pentax devotee ever since. You may remember my post about the cameras exactly two years ago – https://wp.me/p3gSod-5GK. I love how you continue to learn more every day and share your journey with us creating your beautiful images with all the new tools we have available to us. Warmest wishes as always.

  2. Love these photos Tina. You are an amazing photographer…I need to improve my skill. I am thinking this might be the Badaling section of the Great Wall. Photography and notes of travels reminds me of where we have been.

    • Many thanks 100 CT. Actually it was at Jinshanling, about 2 hours outside of Beijing. Our travel agent suggested we drive the extra distance to get away from the crowds. We only saw one other person all day and I photographed to my heart’s content. I agree, photography is a wonderful reminder of our best (and sometimes funniest) memories. It’s been particularly important this past year unfortunately


      • We were there in January a couple of years ago and were at the Badaling Section. So cold and not many tourists. Lucky we could skip the crowds ..it is very touristy area.

  3. For some reason I don’t find it bizarre that you still have your well-loved original camera and its manual. Doesn’t everyone? Photography is indeed a life-long journey, you are a great example of how it never gets boring – there’s always something more to incorporate into one’s visual repertoire!

    • Thanks Elizabeth – continuing the journey is where the most fun is 😊. I’m fortunate that our local club keeps bringing in professionals who teach us new ways to see and shoot. Our zoom meetings have been especially appreciated since the pandemic started. There IS always something new!

  4. The sunset picture is spectacular! Nice to learn of your journey. I understand keeping your first camera. I had mine out at a garage sale then discreetly tucked it away again Yes, having a supportive spouse helps all of us reach our photographic goals. 📸

    • LOL for hiding the camera during your garage sale Siobhan, I had to smile at that! It seems the sunset is the big hit this week. Nice to include an oldie-but-goodie every now and then. thanks for stopping by.

  5. What can I say, Tina – fantastic journey and fantastic photography! You do it so well, and you match your quotes so well. Harmony. Love your South Africa Impressionism too. There is nothing to add – everything is there. Pure joy reading this and following your journey. I am sorely envious of your photography classes and the possibilities of shooting with friends. ♥

      • Thanks for the link. Beautiful staircase from Tzfat, and a great photo of three soldiers in a bakery in Jerusalem. I think I saw your photos from Petra before in a post. We were planning to go there in late March, and were forced to cancel when flights stopped. Our tickets remain valid for some more time; I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

      • Thanks I.J. We absolutely loved our visit and I do hope you get to go. The extent of the history is amazing, especially in the architectural digs, and the spiritual aura of Jerusalem is undeniable, whatever your faith.

  6. … and, no, it is not bizarre to have your first camera, your Nikon 35mm SLR. I have my Canon 35mm SLR (which originally was my dad’s) and I still shoot film from time to time. Sometimes, a film camera will get you past the TSA checkpoint easier than anything digital. The one thing I like about shooting film is the visioning your photo since there is no “live view.” You live with what you shot, then wait on the development. Walgreens still processes film, and we still have a local lab when professional processing is needed. (The lab is doing good business, especially from the non-photog customers.)

  7. great, Tina. I absolutely agree the camera brand is not important. Therefore I usually don’t write a camera or lens brand in my blog. Photography happens in the brain and the camera is only the tool for bringing the idea to (virtual) paper. OK, for certain topics you need certain camera or lens features. But, there are also fantiastic photographers out there simply taking photos with either old stuff or their mobiles. And that’s totally ok. As long as they are able to control their gear and produce nice images, it’s absolutely fine. This is the reason, why I usually don’t put EXIF data to my images. It’s simply not necessary. It would be similar to ask a cook which brand of pots and pans he or she uses to cook the tasty meals.

      • sure, feel free 😊 These analogies make certain quite complicated thing easier understandable for beginners. Everyone eats. And, nearly everyone can distinguish good meals from bad meals (and I’m not taking about a cook with Michelin stars). So, it’s easy to understand for everyone.

  8. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #133 – My Photography Attempts – Word Play at Midlife

  9. What a wonderful journey you’ve had, Tina! Your world travels certainly inspired your photography and the skills necessary to capture lasting images. The leisure educator in me is always excited to read how a hobby expands to a serious pastime. I’m grateful that we have WordPress as a site for sharing our love of photography, since FB and IG are all about ads and horrible images shared by well meaning folks. 🤣 And of course we are inspired by others who share their how-to techniques on improving our own images or adding an artist touch. I’m also super impressed by your photo book class and a great idea for exploring that idea as well as looking for a local photography club in our new area. Thanks for the lovely quotes and inspiration!

    • It truly has been Terri – I find that photography enriches our travels and vice versa. Agree wholeheartedly about WP and finding communities of like-minded friends. Wishing you luck on the search for a local club – ours has truly been an inspiration for me.

  10. This is wonderful, Tina. I love the story of how you have evolved…in terms of your cameras and skills. And of course, the tribute to Bailey reminds me of how we are both lucky to have partners who encourage us and challenge us! Above all, they are patient as we wander in search of an elusive perfect capture! I really enjoyed this post and the photos of you are great, too!

  11. Tina, I enjoyed all of these images and reading about your photography journey. I love the photo of you in front of the glacier. I’m glad your photography journey also includes this blog and the photo challenges. The challenges have kept me motivated this past year even if I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to go new places to try out new techniques.

  12. That first beautiful image is so like our west coast Algarve, Tina! It makes me wonder which whenever I see it. 🙂 🙂 You know I’m not a photographer in any real sense of the word, and never will be. I have no patience for the technical side. But what photography has given me is the desire to look closer and really see my surrounds. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  13. A real pleasure to know your photographic journey. We agree on many things, such as the importance of finding people to share and learn with. 😘

  14. Hi Tina – not only do you still have the first camera but it looks in great condition
    and nice to journey with you a bit here and love getting to know more of you (and hubs) via some of the photos that share
    Your class sounds awesome
    and also the quote from Christopher Poindexter was my fav today – let us all get more swallowed up because we need it!

  15. When I started travelling, I didn’t have a camera. After I discovered photography, I went back to where I had gone without a camera. The same happened when I started digital, as a new birth leading me to start all over again. So yes, photography has an impact on the life of the person who is interested in it and I also feel what you express so well.

  16. Tina, thank you for sharing your amazing photography journey, indeed we kept our manual camera as long as we could, yet eventually the digital offers so much to enhance our photography work and as well imaginations. Well noting on the word imagination, your outstanding work is being guided by your outstanding imagination and as well your wisdom quotes, they just kind of marry each other. Thank you that I can be part of your photography journey.

  17. Lens-Artists Challenge #133 – My Photography Journey

    On Saturday, January 30, 2021, Travels and Trifles wrote:

    > Tina Schell posted: ” FIRST LOVE “One’s first love is always perfect until > one meets one’s second love”Elizabeth Aston It was longer ago than I care > to admit that I began my long journey into the world of photography. The > image above is my first camera, a much-loved 35m” >

  18. What a wonderful journey Tina! I’m glad that you’ve been enjoying photography for many years. I began my journey much later in life. I love that artistic tree. Take care and stay safe!

  19. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #133 – My Photography Journey – A.J"s WORLD THINGS.

  20. What a wonderful photography and travel journey, Tina. I didn’t know you teach “The Art of the Photograpy Book”, how cool. The Artistic Impression is stunning!

    • LOL, the last think I would consider you is a voyeur my friend! You know how much I appreciate your support and blog comments, not to mention the privilege of photographing your beautiful family!

  21. I really reading about your personal and photography journey, Tina. Wonderful choice of photos to illustrate! Have you thought about teaching your “How to Make A Photography Book” class online or doing a YouTube video of it? I’d love to take this class from you! I use exactly the same editing tools as you do, with the exception of Luminar. I downloaded the trial, but decided not to buy.

    • Thanks Susan, glad you enjoyed this one. Now that P/S offers simple sky replacement I’m not really using Luminar either. I love that you can input your own skies as well. As for my Book-making class, we are now videotaping all of our classes and putting them on our photo club website. I’ve not run the class since we began using zoom, but when I do I’ll send you a link. I’m happy to report that a very large number of our members are now making their own books, which makes me very happy!

  22. I have certainly enjoyed your journey…living vicariously through your wonderful photography! Looking forward to much, much more…

  23. I can’t believe I’m the first to like and comment on you post, Tina! I love the impressionistic photo imaging you have presented over this past few months. Makes me think that’s the next way for me to “expand my horizons!” (L’il Abner)

    • Thanks Lindy – yes ma’am you are first and foremost! Glad you enjoyed this one. Yes, sometimes it’s really fun to play with apps to create something a bit more artistic. I don’t do it often but always enjoy it when I do.

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