It's easy to buy an expensive camera, and then watch it collect dust while telling yourself that you'll take photos later, or at big events, or on trips. It’s even easier to gasp at the price tag and decide you’ll just have to wait to start taking photos until later down the line when you have more money to spare. But realistically the best way to improve at photography is through regular practice on whatever camera you already have. Just like any other hobby photography is a skill that can't be developed overnight (although your film photos can be! lol). This guide will help you establish a consistent photography practice without having to spend money on everything you think you need to get started. Believe it or not you don't need fancy lenses, or those big umbrella things professionals use for lighting. You don't need an expensive DSLR that goes ka-chunk ka-chunk ka-chunk when you take pictures. You don't even need a traditional camera-- you can simply start out with your phone! Let me introduce you to the joy of developing a photography practice of your own.
For some background: I have loved taking pictures ever since I was a kid, but it wasn’t until 2019 that I was able to purchase my first DSLR camera. Though that was a major step in pursuing photography with serious intentions, I have been practicing casually and regularly for over a decade now. The first real step I took in pursuing photography was actually buying my first cell phone when I was 11 years old (a cheap gophone I couldn’t have been any happier to have!). While cell phone photography isn’t always taken as seriously as that taken on fancier equipment it is an excellent and more accessible place to begin. I also owned a few cheaper digital cameras over the years, and those were wonderful tools for building my practice. A nice camera is definitely a helpful asset to have, but all you really need to begin developing your taste and basic skills is a phone or any other cheap camera you may already have access to.
Here I have outlined some simple steps to help direct you in getting started (even as a total beginner):
Sam is the kind of friend who will show up to your house with snacks to share, cook a full vegan meal, and then help clean everything up afterward. Each time that he’s made this soup for us over the years I have eaten multiple bowls (which says a lot because I’m pretty picky when it comes to soups!). The combination of hearty veggies, melt-in-your-mouth lentils, and savory Soyrizo broth make for a flavorful, nutritious soup perfect for the colder seasons. You can only imagine how excited I was recently when I received an email from Sam with his recipe typed up so I can make it any time I want (especially appreciated during quarantine). Sam’s Soyrizo Soup is perfect for making in big batches and enjoying as leftovers throughout the week-- if there is any left over!
*This soup may be a little spicy for those who are heat sensitive (the Soyrizo itself is a little spicy). Personally I love adding some extra peppers to kick up the heat, so I recommend adjusting it to suit your taste!
*Also note that cooking times may vary slightly based on your stove, so make sure to check on your veggies and adjust the timing as you see fit.
Sam’s Soyrizo Soup
Vegan, 4-5 servings
I can already tell that this soup will be one of my go-to recipes this winter. Given how much I enjoy this dish I’m always surprised by how easy and quick it is to make-- most of my time and effort just goes into chopping up vegetables. I hope you like this soup as much as I do, and if you decide to make it please let me know how it turns out!
***A special thanks to Sam Muse for cooking this soup for us with love and care on several occasions, typing up his recipe, sharing it, and suggesting that I post it! While I helped with editing, formatting, and photography Sam is the true culinary MVP and deserves major credit.
Note: I choose to call it a soup, but technically it might fall somewhere between a soup and a stew. It has enough chunky veggies and substance to be called a stew, with relatively less water content in proportion to the other ingredients. However the broth is thin like a soup, and there still is a good bit of it. I think “soup” sounds better in the title so we'll go with that!