The Road to Embracing Photography

In 2009, I bought the Nikon D40 and it was the very first DSLR that I ever owned. Before the D40, I had only used point and shoot cameras.  At $450, it was a price that an entry-level business professional could easily afford. I couldn’t even fathom, at the time, buying anything more expensive. I didn’t just dive into true photography, though. Like many entry-level DSLRs, it gathered dust, and when it was in use, it was primarily set to Auto.

At the end of 2011, I saw the D40 sitting on the table where it always sat and something clicked at that moment: “I paid good money. I need to take more photos to maximize the purchase.” From that moment on, I began to carry my camera everywhere I went. I didn’t initially take many photos, though. I was very sheepish because my friends and acquaintances would frequently tease me about snapping photos. The stereotype, “Asians love take photos” only added to the teasing.

After a few months, I had another revelation, “I take photos because I love taking photos. What people say shouldn’t bother me.” In a lot of ways, I grew up exactly because I took photos. I became less concerned with the teasing and less concerned with the judgmental opinions of others. 

Flash Forward

In February 2012, I took the photo you see above. It’s bar-none my favorite photo of all time. It’s a photo of Tim Tallaksen preparing to shotgun a Miller Lite. It’s pure serendipity that Tim appears in this photo because he best described my passion for photography by comparing it to his own “Tallaksen” photo. “The Tallaksen” is a photo of the beer you’re drinking (in hand) with the background of wherever you are and whoever you’re with. His very first Tallaksen was taken at a baseball game where the Yankees were playing the Indians. It has since spawned a small friendly following of like-photos. Tim often calls the first “Tallaksen” that he took the “high you chase for the rest of your life”.  (Here’s a link to The Tallaksen Page.)

I think this analogy is the best way I can describe my passion for photography. From the exact moment I took this shot, I knew that I wanted to take more of these shots. Every time I take a photo, I try to create action, movement, and emotion that rivals this first photo.

This photo and this write-up is dedicated to Tim Tallaksen, The Godfather, who I’ve learned a lot from in the last several years since we first met. In a funny way, I can directly attribute my passion for photography directly to him and this moment.

The Genesis

If you’re interested in seeing what came directly after this photo, check out this link: Life [2012] on Flickr.