My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic.

The last two posts have centered on the topic of hobbies. I started out with an emotional post about how shopping has been my only hobby for many years, how that didn’t fulfill me, and how I’d like to create more balance in my life by integrating some new interests.   I received so many wonderful suggestions from readers that I wrote a follow-up post listing a wide array of things to do besides shopping, broken down into meaningful categories.

Today, I’d like to share a new hobby that I’ve been exploring as of late.   I will tell you about my new interest, why I took it on, and how it’s been fulfilling for me.  I will also show you a few examples of what I’ve done with this new hobby thus far.

My New Hobby Is…

photography hobby

I’ve recently discovered the love of photography…

So what is my new hobby?  It’s photography!  When I started taking photos with my smart phone a few weeks ago, I really didn’t expect it to become a new hobby. My motive was to capture some images of San Diego scenery for a sick friend who has always wanted to visit California and may never be able to do so.   My thought was to provide a kind of virtual tour of the beautiful area in which I live that would be the next best thing to actually making a visit.   I had previously shared old photos taken by my husband of various California hot spots, but I wanted to show some recent images of where I go and what I see on my walks.

I started out by going on my normal local walks and snapping some photos along the way.   What I found was that I enjoyed the walks so much more and noticed a wider array of the beauty around me.   My perspective expanded as I considered what views might make a nice photograph and realistically depict the area in which I was walking.    I realized that I was having fun in the process and found myself wanting to visit new areas in which to take photos.

It’s only been a few weeks, but I have visited multiple locations and snapped hundreds of photos.  I’m still just using my smart phone, but I’ve been impressed with the quality of the photos taken with that device. I’ve learned about the editing functions on the phone as well as the various “modes” that can be used to take different types of photos.  I haven’t experimented with all of them yet, but I have done quite a bit with “night mode” and have been happy with the resulting images.

Sharing Some of My Photos

I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite photos to date with all of you.  I know I still have a lot to learn about taking good photos (more on that below), but it brings a smile to my face to see the images I’ve captured thus far.   I always loved the photos that my husband took, but there is something very fulfilling about looking at photos that I personally snapped and realizing that some of them are actually pretty good!

Since I live near the water, all of these photos include either the bay or the ocean.   But I do plan to expand my reach and visit some non-coastal locations as well.   There is beauty to be seen all over this area (and all areas), but I have to admit that the waterways are my favorite places to walk and snap photos.   All of the photos below were taken within a few miles of where I live, and many of the locations are within walking distance from my home. I consider myself very fortunate to live in such a beautiful area!

sunset cliffs

Sunset Cliffs waves – Ocean Beach area of San Diego

san diego skyline

The San Diego skyline – taken from Shelter Island, Point Loma

la playa panorama

Panoramic view of the La Playa area of Point Loma – I live towards the end of this view

shelter island egret

A rare egret sighting on the harbor side of Shelter Island

la playa yacht club

Pier at the far end of La Playa, Point Loma

harbor sunset, san diego

Sunset at the San Diego Harbor

What’s Next?

I want to continue to explore my new-found interest in photography, so I have decided to take an upcoming e-course taught by Tammy Strobel of the blog “Rowdy Kittens.

I may also take on the excellent suggestion from reader Wendy to post one photo per day on Instagram.   She recommended that I look for something that helped me to smile inwardly and snap and share a photo of it.    Here’s what else she wrote about this:

It may sound too simple … but it makes you more mindful and aware of the world around you!  It could be a flower in your garden, etc.”

“And don’t “judge” your posts … just let them reflect what makes you smile!  I suspect “judging” yourself and mercilessly condemning yourself is a big issue for you!”

Wendy is very astute… or perhaps she’s just been reading this blog for a while.   Yes, I definitely have a tendency to judge and condemn myself, but that’s something I want to turn around.   I love Wendy’s idea and her rationale behind it.   If and when I decide to start doing the daily posts, I will let you know in case you want to follow along.

For the time-being, I’m going to stick with using my smart phone to take all of my photos. In the past, the shopaholic in me would have had me rushing out to buy a new digital camera and photo editing software not long after I had taken my first sets of images.   But the reformed me is content to stick with the status quo for a while, learn more, and make sure this new interest is here to stay.   There will be plenty of time for me to acquire new equipment down the line if my photography hobby has staying power.   For now, I’m just going to try to enjoy the process a little more.

Conclusion and Your Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed reading about – and seeing examples from – my new hobby.   I plan to explore some other new interests and pastimes in the coming months and I will be sure to report back about how it worked out for me.  I don’t expect to love and stick with everything I try out.  The important thing is to explore new options and test the waters.  Not everything will strike my fancy and that’s okay.

So far, my photography hobby has been very solitary, but I’m sure there are ways in which I can connect with others through it as well. I will be interacting with others through my upcoming e-course, but that connection will all be done via a private Facebook group.  As you know, I would like to find more ways to connect with others face to face.   I will be sure to seek more of that out, but for now I’m just happy to be enjoying something other than shopping.   I believe I will always enjoy shopping and clothes, but I’m glad I’m taking baby steps toward becoming a more balanced person with other interests.

I welcome your thoughts on photography, my photos, hobbies in general, or anything else you’d like to share.   I feel very blessed to have such a positive and supportive community of readers!   I will be back later this week with my April installment of “useful links” related to shopping, wardrobe management, personal style, and more!

53 thoughts on “Cultivating New Hobbies – My First One to Share

  1. dottie says:

    Fantastic! I was thrilled to see how much this new hobby means to you — and that you wisely decided to start with your smart phone rather than buy a lot of new equipment. (Self-knowledge is a wonderful thing!) I am a terrible photographer most of the time but occasionally I snap something that is very emblematic of how I feel or where I am. Wendy’s idea about Instagram is very smart. I hope you will occasionally share some of your non-clothes pix with your readers, too.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks, Dottie. Yes, I have gotten wiser over the years and am being a bit more cautious wit things. I will likely share more of my photos with readers, perhaps once a month or so or at the bottom of certain posts. I’m thrilled that people are interested in seeing more!

  2. Sue says:

    The photos you shared show that you have a good eye for composition. Go for it!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate your kind words, Sue.

  3. Deborah (Deby) says:

    Interestingly, I also developed an interest in photography through my smart phone! I was always intimidated by bulky cameras with their settings, and it seemed like the moment passed before I could get it together to take the picture I wanted. With my smart phone its so intuitive and easy! I like to take photos of interesting juxtapositions of colors and patterns, as well as landscapes and people. People are harder to capture in the expressive way that I see in my mind’s eye, but I’ve gotten a few good shots. I like to take pictures of the small, but beautiful, overlooked details of life.

    I love your photo of the harbor at sunset. You have a good eye for composition.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I totally agree with you, Deby, about the complicated big cameras. I may feel more comfortable with them down the line, but I’m fine with the phone now. Thanks for your compliment on my eye for composition. Given your field and experience, that means a lot to me!

  4. Terra says:

    Hurrah, and bravo Debbie. Lovely photos, and a wonderful hobby! Looking forward to viewing more of your work. And you know what, I do the photo walks too. Also, one of my favorite photo blogs is Santa Fe Daily Photo.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks, Terra. I just added Santa Fe Daily Photo to my feed reader. Looks beautiful. I will definitely share more of my photos down the line. I just took some great ones in La Jolla today. I’m enjoying the warm weather and I hope you are, too!

  5. Sarah E says:

    Oh Debbie, this makes me so nostalgic for California! I may not get the chance to visit san diego this year due to medical issues so I would love to follow you on Instagram if you’d like to share!!
    For some powerful yet free/open source photo editing software, try GIMP, which runs on windows, Mac or Linux. Its got quite a learning curve but that’s good, right? It’ll keep you busy and learning! There are some good tutorials online for free as well also. Can’t wait to see more!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, Sarah. I still have Photoshop, but it’s an older version and I’m not terribly adept with it. But yes, I can learn. I will look forward to exploring some of the online tutorials. I’m sorry you are struggling with medical issues, too. I hope you feel better soon and are able to visit San Diego. It would be great to meet you while you are here. I will definitely share my Instagram page once I get the daily photos going.

  6. Cornelia says:

    My youngest son is a junior naval officer and was stationed in San Diego long enough for me to visit your beautiful city twice. And wouldn’t you know that I stayed at the Marriott in Point Loma and walked that whole area for miles and then some while waiting for him to get off duty. I will get into the details of your photography later when I have more time, but I thought it a bit funny that we might have been sort of neighbors for a few days on two occasions.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Interesting, Cornelia. Yes, there are a lot of beautiful places to walk here. The area by the Marriott is very nice. I’m glad you got to visit San Diego. I think I was forgetting how lovely it is here until I started to take photos for my friend. Now I am far more in touch with that and it’s a good thing!

  7. Mo says:

    How fun! Thanks for sharing your new found hobby.
    As the weather has turned and the golf course right next to my grocery job is filling with eager players (and my second job bartending is at another course only 2 miles away) I am thinking this should be the year I actually try to learn to golf. Worked on 3 courses and only played about 16 holes total in all the years. Might be high time I try!!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I think it would be great if you learned to play golf, Mo. It certainly doesn’t hurt to try. I may be interested in giving it a go at some point, too. If you do try it, please let us know how it goes (or you might even write about it on your blog and post your golfing outfits…).

  8. Kayla says:

    What beautiful photos, Debbie. They’re making me want to visit your part of the world. The photography course sounds very interesting. I’m going to look into it.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks, Kayla. I hope you will be able to visit here sometime. I’m sure you would like it, as most people do. It would be great if you opt to take the class, too. I’m really looking forward to it.

  9. Alex says:

    Your photos look beautiful! I don’t comment very often, but these pictures were so pretty I really wanted to let you know. It’s hard to believe that this is your first experience as a photographer and that you took them with just your smartphone, that’s how wonderful they look. As another commenter mentioned, your have a great eye for composing the photo so that it feels like I’m truly *seeing* these places (I hope that makes sense!). I’ve never been there before, but these photos really convey the beauty of these places.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I really appreciate your comment, Alex, and I thank you for taking the time to let me know your thoughts. I am very touched at the kind words from readers about my photographs. The fact that you feel you are “seeing” the places through my photos means a lot to me. My sick friend has said the same thing and that warms my heart because that was my objective from the start.

  10. Alice says:

    Such a great idea! And so simple. I’m going to join you by taking at least one photo a day.
    You could combine the photos with writing, for example, if you have a desk-top publishing package (Mac/Pages works really well) you could do a photo journal with favourite pictures and some thoughts/captions related to these.
    I loved the egret, I wonder what it’s thinking!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Great idea, Alice. I don’t have a Mac, but I’m sure I can use Word or something similar to do a photo journal of some sort. Yes, I often wonder what the birds and animals are thinking. I love egrets, but my favorite birds are herons. I hope to get a really good photo of one of those soon. They can be elusive, but when I see one, it’s always special.

      1. Tonya says:

        I loved the egret also. You would love the lakes and rivers around here. We see great blue herons quite a bit. I’ve gotten a few pictures of them myself.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          How cool, Tonya! I love how herons are all over the country. My friend in Ohio sees them sometimes there, too. I hope to make it out to Tennessee at some point to see the lakes and rivers – and you!

  11. KimM. says:

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying your new hobby Debbie! Totally agree with other comments about you having a great eye for composition. I LOVE the harbor at night shot!

    In my first marriage I was the one always taking the photos. Now in my second marriage, my husband is the photographer. And he is very, very, VERY good. So good that I never want to even try to take a photo because his completely outshine mine. But that’s ok with me! He also loves editing. He has a fancy expensive camera that he totally enjoys and it does take awesome photos. However, I really like that you are going to continue to shoot with your phone until you decide if photography is something you want to sink more money into. That is great progress Debbie.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you, Kim. I’m very pleased that people are enjoying my photos and think I have a good eye for composition. My husband is good at taking photos, too (at least of scenery – the ones of me have been trickier…), and until recently, I just let him take them all. But I have enjoyed venturing out on my own and have my photo time. I usually wear my iPod and listen to inspiring music as I take photos. It’s really a lot of fun and much more so than I anticipated at the outset.

  12. cedrique says:

    Your photos are great!
    No need to have a fancy camera to take great pictures, I mean most of the cameras integrated in our phones have a better quality than the “fancy” camera from 5 years ago so… I often take better pictures with my phone than with my reflex camera because I don’t need to make a million settings before actually taking the picture.
    I hope you’ll keep showing us your photographs in the future!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks, Cedrique! And I agree with you about the quality of cell phone cameras. And my smart phone is even 2 years old, so I’m sure the newer ones are even more advanced. I will definitely share more photos in the future, as it seems that readers are interested in seeing them (which makes me happy).

  13. Hope says:

    Congratulations. I enjoyed your photos. I went to USD 40 years ago and have pleasant but vague memories of the India St area. How about some inland photos to remind me?

    If you want to be less solitary, join a photography club and don’t be intimidated by more advanced photographers–you can learn from them.


    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I haven’t been to that area to take photos yet, Hope, but it’s on the list. I have been focusing on coastal regions at first because those are the areas my friend most wanted to see, but I will move inland at some point. Your suggestion for joining a photography club is a good one. That’s definitely something I will look into.

  14. meli22 says:

    Lovely Debbie, just lovely. I agree with the rest- please keep going! Can I suggest a bi-weekly or weekly post of some pictures you’ve snapped, to share with us (even if it’s only 1)? Maybe “Saturday Snapshots” lol? I’d love to see them and I don’t use Instagram/etc.

    My favorite is of the skyline/sailboats. Very pretty!!!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Great idea, Meli! I like the idea of periodically sharing my photos on the blog. I will probably share another one in my links post tomorrow and others down the line. I’m glad you like the ones I included thus far.

  15. Jan says:

    I’m so happy for you! Your photos are really good. Stick with it you will only improve. Thanks for sharing. I started taking photos with my iPhone 2 yrs ago while on vacation. I now take pics daily of the beach ,plants, state parks , architecture and of course my dachshund:) . I love to share photos and videos with friends who don’t live near the beach. I look forward to seeing more photos.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I have already noticed improvement in only a few weeks, Jan, so I look forward to seeing what I learn in my class and as I continue to experiment. I enjoy taking daily photos – and there are some cat photos in the mix, too. I will definitely share more photos on the blog since people are interested in seeing them.

  16. Claire says:

    Just lovely. Thanks for including us in your budding new hobby and hope you enjoy your class! 🙂

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you so much, Claire!

  17. EB says:

    You definitely have an eye. Beautiful photos. Have fun, relax and enjoy your new hobby. Go girl!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate your kind words, EB. It means a lot to me that people think I have an “eye.”

  18. Janis says:

    I grew up in Pt Loma and now live just a few miles north so I am very familiar with the settings of your shots. You captured the beauty of our city very well! I too am an amateur photographer and am working on improving my skills. I love the idea of taking pictures every day – sometimes I forget to take my camera with me and find myself frustrated with just having my iPhone. I hope you continue with this new hobby, you obviously have talent. I think though that you’ll soon want to upgrade to a DSLR and learn about photo editing programs. Thanks for the tip about the online class, I’ll check it out!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Hi, Janis. It’s good to hear from one of my “neighbors” and it means a lot that a local thinks I have captured the beauty of San Diego well. Thank you for telling me that I have talent. I’m sure I will upgrade to a DSLR at some point (my husband has one) and delve deeper in the process. Perhaps I will see you in the “Everyday Magic” class (at least virtually).

  19. LoriK says:

    Photography is such a great hobby. It is one that you can walk away from if you don’t have time, and come back to whenever the urge hits you, as well as take with you anywhere in the world! I took a few black and white film photography class at the local community college several years ago. I really enjoyed the classes. If you want to get out with other people to learn about photography, look for local continuing education classes or adult learning classes.
    In one of my classes, our final assignment was to create a book of our photographs based around a theme. We even had to hand make the book. I choose to photograph doors. It turned out to be a great way to show friends and family my most prized photos and developing techniques.
    Good luck with this new hobby!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Great idea, Lori. Perhaps I will take a community college or continuing ed photography course soon. I’m looking forward to my e-course that starts next week, but it would be nice to do something in person after that is over. Your book assignment sounds like a lot of fun. I would like to do something like that, I think.

      1. LoriK says:

        Last night perusing facebook, this photography artist posted a photo that she had taken with her iphone. I of course thought of you! I have followed her for a while on facebook. Please look her up. It will give you an idea of what can be done with an iphone. She even listed the apps she used. This is someone who has all the fancy photography equipment and is now using her iphone also. Dianne Poinski Photography

        I was also thinking further on your new hobby of photography and what you already love to do, writing. You could combine the two! Maybe find a few photos that speak to you and write stories along side them, or how they make you feel or inspire you.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Thanks for the recommendation, Lori. I have followed Dianne Poinski Photography on Facebook and look forward to learning from her. Unfortunately, I don’t have an iPhone, but perhaps some of the apps might be available for my phone (Android) or there could be a good alternative. I may also get an iPhone soon, as my phone is a couple of years old. Good idea about combining photography with writing. I have actually thought a bit about that. We’ll see what I come up with…

  20. Nicole says:

    Hi Debbie,
    So glad that you are enjoying your new photography hobby!
    We have lots of cameras in our house, and I have to say I now prefer my iPhone! It is so small and convenient. I have been taking a photo-a-day for some years now, and like you, I love how you notice all the little details. Lately I have been taking lots of cloud photos.

    I am a recent convert to Instagram also – my user name is ‘Nicole_Hill_4680’.
    Just for fun I have also been playing along with Katrina Kennedy’s CY365 and her idea list:

    I like to process my photos and then upload via the Pic-Tap-Go app. I don’t like using fancy filters, but you can improve a photo heaps just by increasing the saturation (and lux in Instagram).
    And a handy tip! The Volume +/- buttons can also be used as the shutter release on the iPhone.
    Have fun!
    Nicole in a wet, Central Queensland, Australia.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for all of the great ideas, Nicole! I just followed you on Instagram. I haven’t posted there in a long time, but am probably going to start again soon with the photos. Your photos look really nice and I look forward to perusing more of them. I will check out the CY365 , as that sounds interesting, as does the Pic-Tap-Go app. But it looks like that app isn’t available for Android, so I’m going to have to find a suitable alternative. Sadly, I can’t take advantage of your iPhone tips at this point, but my next phone may very well be an iPhone 6.

  21. Sharon says:

    Hi Debbie,

    Your pictures are fantastic. They make me want to go exploring. I think it is an ideal hobby for you, as depending on how you are feeling you can put it aside if necessary and obviously you can spend as little or as much time on it as you want. Look forward to seeing more pictures on your blog. I love cats and would really enjoy seeing some cat pictures on your blog too x

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your kind words on my photos, Sharon. I will definitely share more (there is one on the useful links post I just published…). I just took a few good cat photos today, so I’m sure I will share those, too, at some point. You’re right that photography is an ideal hobby for me given my health situation. Just like with shopping, it is available to me whenever I am feeling good. I’m actually more interested in taking photos now than I am in shopping. Imagine that… I hope it continues!

  22. Sheila says:

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned this already, but for a ‘physical’ place to put all your ‘photo a day’ photos you might look at Becky Higgins Project Life products. There are so many different kits (hers and other brands) that it makes ‘scrapbooking’ (if you want to call it that) easy. You can be as creative (or not) as you want. Just google and you’ll find tons of examples. She has a different creative team each year so there are plenty of different styles for inspiration. There are also digital and physical kit options. (I do both depending on the project.).

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks so much for the tip, Sheila. No one else had mentioned this previously, so I appreciate your sharing it with us. I’m sure I would like to have a physical place for my photos at some point. Thus far, I’m keeping everything virtual, but I can see wanting to change that in the future.

  23. Tonya says:

    I think your new hobby is great! Like someone above mentioned you can do it when you are having a day that you feel well. I can just about feel you taking a huge step forward with your “full life”. Your pictures are beautiful and I agree that you do have an eye for it.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Tonya. Yes, I feel I have taken a big step forward on cultivating a fuller life. Yesterday, I actually spend many hours taking photos and wasn’t even at all tempted to go shopping instead. Plus, I got to be outside on a beautiful day instead of indoors at the mall. Win, win, I think.

  24. TexasAggieMom says:

    Just now catching up on blog reading after a hellish week at work – so glad I saved the best (yours, of course!) for last! I’m so excited to see that you’re exploring photography, but it’s hard to believe you’re just a novice from these photos. It seems to meet all the criteria of being a flexible time commitment, but still offers you the opportunity to interact with others. I think there’s something inherently approachable about someone with a camera in hand, whether that’s to get their input on your own shots, or to ask them to snap one of you and your companions. Can’t wait to see what you come up with, and I’m hoping you’ll continue to share your favorites on the blog. Like some of your other readers, I may never make it back to California, but “seeing” it through your eyes (lens?) is such a treat! I also applaud your rational approach to camera equipment – hope that your progress on the shopping front is as evident to you as it is to those of us on this side of the screen.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I really appreciate your kind words about both my photos and my blog, TexasAggieMom. I am definitely enjoying the photography and am looking forward to learning more and becoming better at it. I didn’t think about the opportunity to meet people through this new hobby, but I can see how that might be a nice by-product to it. I will be sure to post photos on the blog again in the future and will replace some of the stock photos I’ve been using with my own images. And periodically (maybe monthly?), I will do a “photo interlude” entry either as an extra post one week or when I am having trouble pulling together a standard post. I’m so glad that so many people like my photos!

  25. Andrea says:

    Since I read your response to “Seriously, it’s just clothes. How empty must your life be if your only hobby is shopping?”, I’ve been thinking of the comment. I think it’s quite a destructive comment that can be used to belittle any interest/hobby/work. I can imagine it being used to put down a new parent who talks a lot about their baby, a person who is passionate about their job, a person who loves to cook. I think you’ve taken this negative comment and gone somewhere positive with it. Keep writing (and writing about clothes!)!

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