The Tools Make The Man, Or So They Say

You can make images like this one of Palouse Falls near Walla Walla

“An artist is only as good as his tools.”

Though this is a true statement for the professional career artist, this statement may hinder many aspiring artists from taking the first step to become the artists they could be. Tools are important, don’t get me wrong, but even more important is learning the skill set that helps fashion the artist’s vision into reality. 

I want you to think about how many times you have had something break in your house that required immediate fixing. The tool or the means through which you fixed the problem was probably not what the professional would have used, but it got the job done. Now, let us bring this to the art of photography. Use the tools you have or can afford at this time, then learn the skill that helps master those tools. It may take more time, effort and thought at first, but these are the challenges that lead to greater learning.

I personally enjoy landscape photography around Walla Walla, and many scenes I encountered called for a wide angle lens. The issue was that I had a self-imposed rule that my photography hobby should fund itself, meaning I did not have the money for a wide angle lens at the time.  The result is that I learned a different technique to achieve what I needed, one that has come in handy over and over again.

This image of Palouse Falls was taken with my first camera, a Canon T3i, and the kit lens that came with it, and it did a decent job of capturing the falls. But I wanted to see the entire scene, including the river as it lead away from the falls. 

So how did I get from narrow view to wide angle? From reality to the vision I had? I simply did a little more work with the tools I had. I took 15 images and had my editing software, which in this case was Adobe Lightroom (follow the link to use the free web version), do the heavy lifting. As you can see, there is a lot of overlap with the images, but this was essential for the software to seamlessly merge the images. 

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” – Theodore Roosevelt. In other words, use what you have as an entry point to doing your best work. 

Victor Attoh is a physical therapist and photographer who lives in the Walla Walla area. Follow him on Instagram at @visual_gemz