Back with a new blog post but first the disclaimer! These are just my feeling, opinion. Many of you won't agree with me and that's perfectly fine, I respect your opinion.
OK with that out of the way lets get to the story. Although I had an SLR when I was a kid I didn't really know how to use it. I could manually focus and use the built in light meter but as to the rest I had no idea. Just like today I hear you shout!! :-) So when I really took up photography was 2005 when I bought a shiny new Canon 350D. Why Canon? Just because they were marginally better and cheaper than the main competition. I got a proper camera for a couple of reasons, one because I went on holiday and took a sunset picture with my first digital point and shout and loved it but also I had a young family. So for years I taught myself how to take pictures and just shared them with the family. I got a lot of praise, as we all do from our families and slowly started to improve. I said slowly as having young kids takes up most of your time :-)
One of my learning sources was Scott Kelby and some of his books, I started watching some of his shows and that's when I became aware of 500px.com. There were some amazing shots on the site and an offer on so I got a membership. That was in 2011 but i didn't post anything for a few months so my first post went on line in February 2012! I waited for my likes and fav's to come in! (tumbleweed)
So my photos were ok but getting no response did bring me back down to earth with a large bump to my ego :-) Of course we all know that the more you put into social media, the more you get out. I therefore began to "engage" with the community which basically meant I liked a lot of images and I mean a lot! This went on for quite a while and I gradually started to get some traction, I was hooked. Now I know now that I got way out of hand and probably annoyed a lot of users. My photos were getting far higher than they deserved but I was getting better, trying to compete with the great shots. I started getting my photos onto page one of the site, which gave you much more exposure and a lot more likes. Eventually I hit gold and got to number 1! This is the photo!
I was a god! My shot, called "Speed Bumps" had archived what I'd obsessed about. I've done it, I don't have to chase this anymore I though! But just like a drug I was hooked! I wanted that feeling again and again, but when I my other shots didn't do as well it made me feel bad, it was a downward spiral. Now a lot of you are probably, quite correctly, thinking how ridiculous this all is and you're right. Looking back now I still don't know how I got sucked in.
Now on the positive side I definitely improved my photography and I met a lot of great people who are very talented. We had some good banter and jokes, I'm still digitally in touch with some of them. I have Kevin Haggith from Canada, Vinni from Norway, Lin and Ash from Australia and John Harper from Wiltshire. We still joke around but now just on Facebook. If I've missed anyone apologies, I have a terrible memory.
Going cold turkey!
Now giving up the adrenalin rush wasn't easy. I wanted to press that delete account button so many times. I started the process of closing my account on other sites that I'd joined first until there was only one left. I also got some inspiration, John Harper deleted his account. I contacted him and although his experiences had not been the same as mine I still felt that I could do it. So late last year I left and the relief was wonderful. I don't miss chasing the fame and I have a lot more time to do more productive things.
My experience did get me thinking. Are photography contests of any use? I still enter them at my photography club but I have to say I don't care if I win. If the judge has some good advise I take it on board and otherwise ignore it.
In the social media age we live in, I guess I'm not the only one to get addicted but I'm out now and feel all the better for it!
If you'd like to make a comment then please do, it would be good to know what your experiences are.