If you have been following my posts, then you may have heard me mention a few times that I received my first DSLR camera for Christmas from my husband in December 2016. Having a camera was a dream of mine for many years, and that Christmas my dream finally came true. I quickly fell in love and obsessed with photography as a result of experimenting and taking many photographs with my lovely new camera.
I am in absolutely no way a professional photographer, but I have spent my first year with a camera learning as much as possible. Seriously, when I say I was obsessed with photography this year, I mean that I was OBSESSED. The majority of my free time was spent either taking photographs, reading articles about photography, or watching videos online to learn the basics. I even enrolled in a photography course and a Photoshop editing course in college this semester. That is how obsessed I have become with this hobby.
I started my photography journey by opening up my camera and shooting 100% in automatic mode. I barely knew anything about photography when I first got my camera. While there is nothing wrong with that, you can do a lot more with your camera when you take the time to learn the basics. Today, I shoot 100% in manual mode. I have mostly practiced taking pictures of landscapes, cities, and my family. Also, I have been taking many pictures for the blog! Learning the basics of photography took a lot of practice – I’m still learning everyday. However, I can definitely say my efforts have been 100% worth it.
I have received many comments on my posts (on the blog, and on Instagram) from people saying that they love my photos. This is what inspired me to write this post today. I have to say, this post is a lot more personal than what I am used to writing. I hope to inspire others to pursue photography as a hobby, connect with my fans from a new perspective, and entertain all.
A Quick Word on Equipment
You do not need to spend a lot of money to take awesome photos. I know, it can be tempting to go out and indulge for your new found love of photography. However, I think it is best to work your way up to more expensive items. It’s great to learn the basics before you try and experiment with fancy equipment. Plus, there are so many different options as far as lens and cameras go – it is best to find out what you personally like before buying something you might regret.
One of the most recommended beginner DSLR cameras is the Canon Rebel series. This is the camera my husband bought me for Christmas in 2016. This is the camera I have used to take all of the following photos with. You guessed it – this is the camera I still use today. While I hope to eventually upgrade to something a little more professional, I am beyond happy with this affordable beginner camera. I can’t reccomend this camera more for those just starting out in the world of digital photography.
Check out the link here to view the exact starter pack I have:
Top Photos of 2017 and the Stories Behind Them
This list is in chronological order from the start of the year to the end. I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below 🙂
The Botanical Gardens in Padua, Italy
The Botanical Gardens in Padua are a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and with good reason. These gardens were the first of their kind and have been around since the 1500s. While there is much educational value to be found at these gardens, I was mostly interested in photographing the beautiful flowers and plants that can be found throughout the area. To my surprise, there is also stunning architecture throughout the outdoor gardens. This door is particularly interesting to me, resulting in one of my favorite pictures from the past year.
Check out this post to find out more about one of my favorite cities in Italy.
Piran, Slovenia is one of my favorite cities that we visited in Europe. Calling “Piran” a city, however, feels misplaced. It is not as big as you would expect. Actually, it reminds me more of a small town, with narrow Venetian alleyways and cobblestone streets. In the summer, there are many tourists at the waterfront swimming during the day and eating delicious seafood at night. One thing that caught me off guard about this beautiful city was how magnificent the sunsets were. This photo reminds me of the amazing summer memories we made here. It brings back the aroma of food cooking in various restaurants and the pure joy and friendliness of the Slovenian people and tourists from those summer nights.
Lake Barcis, Italy
It may or may not be a well known fact that Italy has some pretty gosh darn beautiful lakes. Seriously, some of the lakes that I have seen here may be the most breathtaking sites that I have ever feasted my eyes upon. Lake Barcis is no exception. This photo is from an early morning sunrise shoot early last spring. There were very few people at the lake around this time. It was dead quiet and perfectly serene. There was bit of fog in the mountains, creating a mystical essence. It was one of the most peaceful and enjoyable mornings I had all year.
A small town called Polcenigo, Italy
There are castles spread out all over Italy and Europe in general. In fact, it is not unusual for many small towns to have their own castle. I love visiting all of these old historic sites. I think it is so interesting to see how much each castle differs from one another. Sometimes the castles are even picturesque and beautiful sites to see. This castle is one of my favorites (and not just because it is pink!). There were so many rooms to explore, and it is in fantastic shape. The fact that it was totally abandoned adds to its essence. I can only imagine what went on in this castle when it was still in use! This is my favorite photo from exploring it that day, and one of my favorites from the year.
Ljubljana Castle, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Speaking of castles – there is a huge castle on top of a hill in the capital of Slovenia. Nearby the city center, you can embark on an uphill hike to the beautiful castle in the sky. The castle itself has been turned into a museum that you can pay to visit. In my opinion, the castle isn’t that interesting compared to some other places in Europe. However, the view from the front of the castle is amazing and worth the hike. Not only can you see all of Ljubljana, there is even a perfect view of the mountains in the distance. This particular day in the spring last year had the best weather for taking photos – I could have easily spent the entire day up there. This is one of my favorite photos from this year simply because the beauty cannot be replicated if I tried and the clouds are pure perfection!!
Summer at the Lake
Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
It’s no mistake that I featuring many of my photos from Slovenia in this post – there are many gorgeous location in this country. Lake Bohinj is no exception. If you love outdoor activities, this lake is a dream. The summer is the perfect time to visit this lake. Just look at the greenery surrounding the mountains! This photo was taken on a warm summer day at the end of August. There were many people at the lake enjoying the last few days of summer. As you can see, there was a boat rental agency right next to where I snapped this photo. The boats bring the perfect amount of color into the photo and add an interesting appeal. I would love to visit this lake again in the winter to see how much has changed between seasons.
October – Lens Upgrade
Around October of 2017, I upgraded to an ultra wide angle lens. I chose Canon’s 10-22mm wide angle lens because I was primarily focusing on landscape photography. While you do not need fancy equipment to take gorgeous photos (see above), it does vastly improve the quality of the images. I think you will notice the difference between the photos above and the photos below this excerpt. Please note that my photography and editing skills did vastly improve as time passed this past year. I also become more serious about this hobby at this time. The lens is therefore not the only reason for the improvements, but I do think it definitely was a big contributor. I’ll let you guys be the judge!
Here is a quick link to the lens I purchased:
The Bridge of Sighs
Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy
Honestly, I am surprised I was able to get this photo in such great focus. It was one of the foggiest mornings I have ever seen in this area. While it cleared up quite a bit during the day, there was still an eerie essence throughout the city. Venice is usually packed with tourists during the popular seasons. It was nice to visit on a day that was not so crowded. My friend and I barely had to wait in any lines the whole day! One place that was unsurprisingly still crowded was The Bridge of Sighs – one of the most famous bridges in the city. While on a museum tour through Palazzo Ducale, the old city hall building, I snapped this photo through one of the windows in the prison there. I love taking photos like this from different perspectives. This is by far one of my favorite photos of the year.
Fall in Paris
It’s actually funny how I ended up in this spot to take this photo. It started the night before when I found out that my 2pm flight to Paris was rescheduled for 7am. I quickly put my bag together that night so I could get to the airport early in the morning. However, I forgot to charge my phone during all the craziness. I was planning on meeting my friend at the Arc di Triomphe after getting off my plane. Of course, my phone and GPS died before I could get there. I thought I saw it in the distance, though. So, I kept walking and somehow took a wrong turn. That’s how I ended up on this beautiful street. The fall trees may be equally as beautiful as the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I decided to capture both beauties in one photo. Though I wish it was a bit more focused, I am beyond happy with the result.
Lake Barcis, Italy
Here I am at this beautiful lake again. However, this time it is winter and the enormous mountains are topped with sparkling white snow. The day before capturing this photo, I came up here to hike with my dog. I ended up being there for the sunset which was amazing. I came back the next day with my camera gear to try and get some photos of the gorgeous sunset. It was not nearly as colorful this day, but I still took some photos that I am really happy with. I love this one because of the way the street lights are sparkling. I spent the majority of the time taking photos facing the opposite direction. However, I remembered reading an article or watching a video that gave the tip: turn around from the view you’d expect. Well, I turned around and this ended up being my favorite picture from the day!
Hiking in Italy
Did you really think I would create a post like this and not include at least 1 picture of my dog?! Well, here it is – my favorite picture of Hades from 2017. The wide angle lens that I am using may have skewed his face a bit. However, I cannot get over how cute and adorably dorky he looks here. This day was the day that I learned that it can be difficult to take pictures with a pup around. While Hades is not always easy to take pictures of, I can’t help but smile at ones like these.
Well, that’s a wrap. 2017 is the year I fell in love with photography. This is a roundup of my favorite photos that I took. While I am proud of how far I have come, I can only hope to improve drastically in the following year! In 2018, I hope to expand into some different areas of photography as well. It is truly a fascinating and rewarding hobby.