"Photography has gotten me ringside vantage points at events that I otherwise would have been a distant spectator.
I strongly believe that if you want to be good at something you have to be willing to invest in education, learn and share with others and do it, do it, do it. A great way to get "stick time" is to volunteer at your church and other organizations you and/or your spouse or kids belong to -- be their photographers. Every time I volunteer, something good happens. One of the biggest rewards of being a photographer is meeting new people and experiencing unique events -- taking the photo is often secondary".
- John Caulfield
I have had the privilege of putting my enjoyment of photography to use on several different occasions. Golf Benefits, Gala's, the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast or out in the dirt and grass taking pictures of reenactors, I am grateful for the chance to improve my technique.
I'll admit it is not always without some consideration. With each event, there is time spent preparing, showing up early, attending and post production work. You weigh the needs for indoor versus outdoor gear and if outdoors you check the weather to add or remove weather-related gear. You choose your camera's, lenses, and accessories. Batteries need to be charged and media cards formatted. There is the shining of shoes for formal events or chipping crustations from boots from the last barnyard excursion. Don't get me wrong; I like every aspect of all this, but it is an investment of time.
Sometimes I wonder if it is worth the effort, that is until I came across the thoughts shared by a seasoned local photographer (see the quote above). It helped to put this all into perspective. If you want to be good at something, you do need to "do it, do it and do it some more" (a variation on practice, practice, practice). What caught my attention though was the opportunity to be 'ringside' at some very spectacular events, some of which I might not have otherwise attended let alone have the access that I do. From meeting new people and other opportunities, he was right, 'taking the photo is often secondary.' The camera opens a lot of doors.