Many years ago now, I took my first foray into photography by investing in a DSLR camera just before my husband and I left for a month long trip to Prague, Czech Republic. We were in graduate school, and he had been offered a position at Charles University for a month, where he could do materials science research related to his physics doctoral program. I came along because the only major cost would be airfare, as room and board had been arranged.. We decided we couldn't afford to buy ourselves and our families trinkets and tourist gifts, but that an investment in a camera would bring us a much greater reward in the long run.
As soon as we agreed on that much, I found the camera I wanted and began to learn everything. Being I am self-taught, I took a keen student's eye to textbooks found at local book stores and have since taken online courses to master the skills required to make great photos. I must have sounded obnoxious to our Prague travel companions (three of my husband's siblings), because one began to make comments of how "texture-y" a certain shot might look. I'd become obsessed with texture in my early studies.
Some of my favorite photos from that time are still some of my favorites today. When we returned to the U.S., I was encouraged by some coworkers to put my photos up in our local Starbucks' artist spotlight. To my utter shock, someone wanted to buy one of my prints. I couldn't believe it. I had just happened to step out onto a cobblestoned street while one of my in-laws was using the restroom to take a photo of a busy Prague side street that seemed to fit those very basic golden ratio rules... and someone wanted that photo in their home? The experience, the encouragement—it sparked something in me.
Aside from the good memories I have of a whole month in Prague as a footloose 20-something with people I really liked, I now had a genuine skill I'd picked up there. So maybe my husband wasn't the only one getting an education during our time in the Czech Republic.
The whole of my Prague photo album lies somewhere between memorable snapshots of travel companions and true attempts at capturing the city. I think it's a bit heavy-handed to call what you see below photographic evolution, but I look back now and recognize at least the seed of photographic passion. I wish I had known more about photo editing back then, too. These are a few of my favorites.