Welcome to First an Amateur

First an Amateur is a website devoted to learning photography: How to improve your photography;  How Randy improved his photography; and How working with dedicated amateur photographers may be a good route for you. 

My goal with First an Amateur (FaA) is to share photos I have taken, mostly of National Parks, to introduce you to the parks, and share what I have learned about improving my personal photography.  For the past few years I have been involved with a group of dedicated amateur photographers, who have clear goals and take on photo challenges which have advanced our personal photography.  I look forward to sharing my experiences and hearing from you.      

My purpose in sharing FaA is to encourage readers to explore their own approach to amateur photography and think about what creates a good photo for them.  I am fortunate to live in a beautiful environment where my photography has improved thanks to a group of amateur photographers I meet with every month.  I have learned about my camera and Lightroom and composition, and I have found myself committed to getting out for photo shoots, often with my peer mentor colleagues.  

But in the last year I have learned something else: I have begun to adopt a commitment that goes beyond just collecting nice pictures.  I have a story to tell in my photos that keeps me motivated, helps me “see” a different beauty around me, and makes me one-with-the-environment when I am out taking photos.  I hope you might see that in my landscape photos and might even find it motivating for your photography.

My Blog includes posts I shared a few years ago (2015-16) and also more recent discussions of becoming an improving amateur photographer.  If you are serious in trying to improve your amateur photography, I hope you will find these honest discussions (I often share how I messed things up) reassuring and encouraging.

You will find Randy’s Photo Album to include a variety of galleries that are primarily National Parks that I hope will help you feel the beauty of nature.  I have tried to pick out image that are built on my personal themes (e.g., I find sunrises to be “soul cleansing”) and that take you through the parks as if we were on a photo safari beginning with a beautiful sunrise.  I think you will probably find some “Wow, that’s pretty cool” and I hope you will also find some “Wow, I feel like I am there walking into that beautiful environment.”

I have truly enjoyed exploring photography with a group we call the Teton Photography Club – Peer Mentor Program.  Each month we have a theme which everyone explores and then shares their photo with the group for a critique.  Theme such as Night Photography, Negative Space, and B&W help us move out of our comfort zone.  I added a webpage to help the peer mentors learn more about the themes, and I will be sharing that information with you.  The FaA Resource page will include on-line articles I have found that are helpful in exploring a topic such as Negative Space including some of my photos and maybe even some of the photos from my peer mentor colleagues.

If you are interested in learning a little background info about me go to About Randy.   If you would like to contact me I would love to hear from you about questions or comments at Contact Randy.  And if you are interested in following the FirstanAmateur.com website and blog, please subscribe to the blog via e-mail.