The Fire Of Images – Why I Started Taking Photos

The Fire of Images

This week I’m trying something a little different. Inspired by this fabulous quote carved into a flagstone outside Edinburgh’s Writer’s Museum, just off the Royal Mile, I’ve decided to post a photography series:

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

Now this is not a series designed to intimidate or self-promote, rather it is a series to inspire, to support and to nurture. At the end of the week, I’ll be making a special announcement, so make sure you watch out for it. If you haven’t already subscribed, you might want to do so now!

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the 1st of 5 posts in my Fire of Images photography series:

Why I Started Taking Photos

If you were to count the number of photographs that I have included in the posts here at Lives Less Ordinary, you would discover that there are close to 1000 of my own. I am actually astonished at just how many images I have captured and shared here, as it was never my intention for this blog to become known for my photography!

When I began Lives Less Ordinary, I knew I wanted to create a space where I would enjoy spending time, and so I knew that I would need to integrate images that I personally found aesthetically pleasing. I began investigating using Flickr images, but quickly became confused by the copyright licenses. It soon became clear to me that using photos I had taken myself would be a much easier route.

And so I began carrying my camera with me whenever I went, and kick-started my love affair with photography. That was back in August 2007 – just 8 short months ago.

I’ve told you this story because I want you to know where I’m coming from on this. I’m not an expert – I’m an enthusiast. I’ve not attended photography classes and I don’t own a DSLR camera. This series is for people who are at the stage I was at last August: people who enjoy taking photos, and would like to share them, but who don’t feel that their captured images are worthy of gracing a blog post or being included in a Flickr photostream.

I do hope you’ll join me for the rest of the series. However, if you’re still not convinced that taking photographs is an activity worthy of your time and attention, hopefully tomorrow’s post will convince you otherwise, when I share why I continue to take photos.

Do you enjoy taking photos? How and why did you start taking them? Also please share any thoughts that come to you throughout the series about your personal experience of photography – they are all welcome here!

May 19, 2008. Photography, Uncategorized.


  1. Nadine T. replied:

    Excellent post, I’m looking forward to the next ones in the series! And I’m a great fan of your photos too.

    I’ve been taking photos for nearly, well… 50 years, on and off, and always had a lot of pleasure from that. My father was constantly taking pictures, and he taught me a lot.

    I find that it requires a lot of practice though, which is why my current productions are not up to my expectations. So you are right to do it all the time.

  2. Celticangel replied:

    Actually, I’ve really tried to carry my camera with me everywhere, and as a result ended up taking those beach photos, partially because of you. Luckily, my camera swiping husband has a DSLR (Canon EOS 40D, darn him) now so I can use my little Canon Powershot A520 to practice.

    Let’s just say that I’m giving thanks for the “action shot” setting, as it compensates for my decidedly unsteady hands.

  3. Roland Hesz replied:

    And I am glad you started to take photos 🙂
    It always starts like “oh, I just need a shot of…” and next thing you know you have to buy a pro flickr account to display all your pictures.
    (I just wanted to make some textures. And look where I ended up… sheesh)

    Celticangel: the Canon PS cams are really good.You can do almost everything with them.

    Amy, waiting for he next post, and the pics of course 🙂

  4. amypalko replied:

    Thanks Nadine! I hope it lives up to expectations 🙂
    My dad also takes a lot of photographs. You can check some of his more recent ones out here. They really are very beautiful!

    You can’t know how happy that makes me feel, Celticangel! I’m going to post on Wednesday how carrying a camera with you everywhere can have a positive effect, and you are a great example of this in action 🙂

    Thank you so much, Roland, for your support on this. It truly is very appreciated! It is amazing how you can get caught up in photo taking and sharing so quickly, isn’t it?

  5. Celticangel replied:

    Roland, I’m coming to understand that. My initial problem of the non-shake compensation has been really helped by that action setting.

  6. Jacqui Lofthouse replied:

    Thanks Amy, as ever, for the inspiration you provide here. This is a great reminder that you can get going with what you have and you don’t have to be an expert (or have perfect professional equipment) in order to have the confidence to share the images you love. I look forward to the rest of the series and to taking my camera out with me to Petersham Nurseries this afternoon…

  7. Joanna Young replied:

    Amy, I’m so excited about this series! I love your photos, and feel much more likely to learn from an enthusiastic teacher than detached professional…

    I first started taking landscape photos on Skye – because I can’t get enough of it, and wanted to try and find a way to capture its wildness and beauty. I took the next step when I was in Mexico, again just wanting to capture the moment, for me, and to share with others.

    That’s when I first noticed how pictures became the spark or the frame for a post I was writing… so one of the things I’d like to explore with you as we go is the interaction between photos, writing and the creative process.

    Thanks so much for doing this Amy, can’t wait for more!


  8. Jokerine replied:

    I have been taking pictures since I turned twelve and my parents gave me a Minolta Clone for my birthday. Right now I’m digitaly SLRing and learning a whole lot.

    I just wish it was easyer to connect on Flickr, so that I would be critiqued more often so I could become better faster. Networking is so hard if you are shy 😉

  9. mrschili replied:

    I’m still trying to learn how to take photos worthy of keeping. My husband gave me a mini-lesson with my little point-and-shoot yesterday; I’m eager to see if that helps bring my photography skills up to a level that approaches satisfaction. I’m looking forward to the “practical tips” post!

  10. Nadine T. replied:


    Many social networks now ask for your Flickr ID, so you will be able to get more exposure. Actually it would have been a good idea to leave it here, for us other visitors to see.

    If you are shy (as I am, believe it or not), online networking is the thing to do. You remark just prompted me to go to your blog… without anything strenuous to do on your part 😉

  11. Brad Shorr replied:

    Your photos are incredible, full of emotion. I’d love to be able to do that. For years I avoided taking pictures because I had a fear of digital cameras. Could never get them to work. But I’m past that now, and am eager to learn how to put it to good use.

  12. Jokerine replied:

    @Nadine T. hm… maybe it’s not so hard ;)well my Flickr is here:
    I hope you don’t mind Amy.

  13. amypalko replied:

    I think it’s important, Jacqui, that we make the most of the equipment we have. Point and click digital cameras are capable of really great shots, and for enhancing our images there is always the editing suites. I’ll talk more about that on Thursday.

    Thank you, as ever, for your unwavering support, Joanna. Always appreciated! Oh, and I think you might get what you’re looking for in the series 🙂

    Jokerine, I absolutely don’t mind at all if the commenters here want to leave their Flickr link. In fact, my announcement on Friday is Flickr related. I think you may really like it!

    I hope the practical tips post will live up to your expectations, Mrschili!

    Good idea, Nadine! As I said in my reply to Jokerine, if you want to leave your Flickr link here, feel free!

    Oh I’m so glad you’re on the bandwagon, Brad. Thank you for your lovely words about my photos, and I hope you continue to enjoy the series 🙂

  14. Robert Hruzek replied:

    This is a wonderful idea for a series, Amy! I’ve actually had these questions in mind for you already, so reading the answers will be a real pleasure.

  15. David replied:


    Like the other commenters, I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Thank you for being so extraordinary 🙂

  16. LindaH replied:

    Perhaps we should start a flickr group for those of us who are following along? What do you think Amy?
    My flickr –

    I love taking photos but I’ve got out of the habit. This series is just what I need 🙂
    I use my camera too much for work and not enough for me. One of the best things about this blog, for me, is the wonderful way you combine writing and images.

  17. amypalko replied:

    Hopefully I’ll answer them as we go along, Robert, but if not, please do feel free to ask anyway!

    Thank you, David 🙂

    Ah, well all will be revealed on Friday, Linda 😉

  18. Tom Duggan replied:

    Hi Amy,
    I think your photos are fantastic. it’s come as a shock to me to read that you only started a short time ago. I look forward to the series. I usually just have my mobile phone camera with me but I find it is the most convenient, even if it is limited technically.
    One question I am dying to ask you: What type of camera do you use?

  19. Bo replied:

    As someone who takes photos all the time – but think of all the bad habits I could have picked up instead – I’m interested in where you are going with this. All I know, carrying a camera makes me see things I would have easily missed a year ago.

  20. Stephen replied:

    Excellent start to the series, Amy.

    This has come at the right time as I’ve just got myself a new camera and I’m looking for a bit of inspiration 🙂

    I haven’t ventured with it much beyond the (very small) garden but I’ve found that can you get a lot of interesting images with the macro setting and a sunny day.

  21. Lodewijk replied:

    I enjoy photography myself and like Celticangel I have a Canon Powershot A520. Great little camera, very versatile.

    Because of your blog I’ve started to think about doing more with my own pictures online too. I’ve always made them and saved them to do something with them at another time. That time still has to come though…

    And I have a thing for textures. I have tons of pictures of dirt, grass, walls, concrete, pebbles and so on. It’s gonna be useful one day…I think 🙂

  22. Nicola replied:

    Great post! Looking forward to reading the rest, I really want to start taking more photos. I stopped taking my camera everywhere because it really is a terrible old camera. 3x optical zoom gets you nowhere! I found that I couldn’t get close enough to what I wanted to photograph, so gave up using it and have been perusing catalogues for a new one recently. Will be using your upcoming advice I’m sure, once I buy one!

  23. Sassy Mama Bear replied:

    I love to take photos and wish I took better ones, but I enjoy doing it because it allows me to capture a moment in time that otherwise might be missed. I started taking photos as a child because my father was really big into photography even having his own darkroom for a time.
    I am just reaching the stage when I hope to remember to take my camera with me all of the time, but I still find myself forgetting.

  24. diane replied:


    I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures, but my digital camera, and online tools for cropping & editing, turned my interest in a whole new direction.

    My blog debuted just a few months before yours, and also worried about copyright issues. Though I use some Creative Commons images now, I still include a lot of photos taken by me or by family members.

    It’s just another way to nurture creativity – and I love it!


  25. Sandra replied:

    What a wonderful idea. I too am looking forward to the tips section. Your photos are really inspiring and your blog has made me get my camera out more often. I have always enjoyed taking photos and have decided that it is a good idea taking a camera on walks. It might make me walk more!! (I’m very lazy).

  26. Kacey replied:

    I started seriously taking pictures like 8 months ago. You know, besides the snapshots of the kids type ones I’ve taken forever. I upgraded to a DSLR and I just love capturing the little moments in life now.

    Can’t wait to read the rest of your series. What a great idea!

  27. The Fire of Images: Why I Continue To Take Photos « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

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  28. amypalko replied:

    I’ve had cameras since I was a child, Tom, but I just used them for snapshots, and I never felt particularly happy with the result. The sea-change occurred 8 months ago! As for which camera I use, it’s a Fujifilm Finepix Z100fd. It’s very small with a 5x optical zoom and 8 megapixels. It fits in my pocket quite nicely 🙂

    I just love your photos, Bo! I look forward to hearing what you think of the series 🙂

    Gardens are one of my favourite places for taking photos, Stephen! What kind of camera did you get?

    Ah, there’s no time like the present, Lodewijk! Sharing photos is something that I write about in part 2. Hope you like it 🙂

    Oh, you’d be surprised, Nicole. While I’m not saying that I don’t use my zoom at all, I don’t use it as much as you might think. I’ll be discussing composition a little in part 4, which you might find helpful.

    Yes, Sassy Mamma Bear, you’ll need to get into the habit of keeping your camera in your handbag. I include it in my check before I leave the house: purse, keys, phone, camera…

    It is another way to nurture creativity, isn’t it, Diane? I’ll be writing a bit more about this in Wednesday’s post, but it really has changed the way I think of myself. I now believe that I am creative, and I don’t think I could have said the same this time last year. I love the photos on your blog, by the way, Diane. In fact, I love your blog, but then I think you know that already!

    My interest in photography certainly has made me walk more, Sandra, and it has really strengthened my relationship to the land. It really has been a revelation in my life, in many ways 🙂

    I have yet to make the upgrade, Kacey. I know I probably will at some stage, but until then I’m quite happy to make do with my little Finepix. I’m glad you’re getting to grips with your DSLR!

  29. Karen Swim replied:

    As a lifelong challenged photographer, I enthusiastically embrace this series! I love photography and have always been awful at it but convinced somewhere inside was an artist waiting to break out. 🙂

  30. amypalko replied:

    I do so hope this series lives up to your expectations, Karen. I’m absolutely positive that there is an artist inside you just waiting to express herself 🙂

  31. Darren Daz Cox replied:

    I think your photos are among the finest on the web. You obviously have a good camera, adequate image software and knowledge of both, you have interesting locations and things to take pictures of (Scotland is the new Tahiti hehe!) and the one thing you can’t buy or train yourself to have, that you have, is an artistic sense of composition.

    Composition is what separates the unforgettable from the merely competent.

  32. The Fire of Images: Why I Think You Should Take Photos « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

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  34. Guest Post For JJL « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

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  35. amypalko replied:

    Lol, Scotland as the new Tahiti!
    Seriously though, Daz, thank you so much for your lovely words and for your continuous support and encouragement. It truly is deeply appreciated 🙂

  36. The Fire of Images - Some Practical Tips « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

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  37. The Fire of Images: An Announcement « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

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  38. Links Less Ordinary 5 « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

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  39. Exploring Creativity « wonderwebby replied:

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