This was asked of me today: "Are you a professional photographer?"
So what would Sierra say if another dog asked her these questions? "Are you a circus dog? Are you a show dog? Are you famous? Are you just a dog?"
It is funny, that if you strap on a camera with big lenses, people want to know if you are a professional. I have seen the work of many full-time professionals and they are not nearly as interesting, artistic, as those who are amateurs. I wonder, without being controversial, if the better question to ask might be, "Are you passionate about what you are doing?" Also, "Is there a place where I can view your images?"
It seems to me that some of the photos these days are sledgehammer-like and knock you sideways with their perfection. I do admit, that I am stunned, awed with these as well. I am guilty of pixel peeping and I am guilty of being sucked into the patina of colors or tonalities that come along with many of these. Also, there are many now that are perfectly sharp. Eagles flying at full-tilt with perfectly in-focus eyes and feathers. Drops of water suspended with such precision that you can see the reflection of the photographer off in the distance (well a slight exaggeration but you get what I am saying).
But then, there are the images, in which the photographer got the feeling of the scene, but was a bit off with her/his focus. A bit off with her/his framing. A 99 out of 100 image that gets trash basketed on whatever social media platform this photographer uses, or never makes it outside of the photo-editing catalog where it stays forever.
My images today, with a lens that does not have auto-focus, were a bit soft. Yet, I am thrilled with them. To me, and certainly, I realize that editors and pixel peepers will most likely not agree with me in too many cases (yes, there are some), those of us with a camera have to enjoy our subjects and rejoice in the substance of the image that extends beyond the technical.
Sierra is a beautiful young dog as I write this posting. She is normally in full motion and normally struggling to set herself free from our arms when we are outdoors. Today I had Eva attempt to hold her and was able to get a few captures of this beautiful animal. I struggled with the focus and each image is a drop-off. But each image I got today, captured more than perfect reflections in her eyes. For me, they all seemed to capture her essence which is at this time, youth, curiosity, and mischievousness. But is she a professional? No, she's a dog and I am just a photographer when I take an image.