This week Lens-artists hosted by Amy invite us to share our photography journey.
In an old post I described that I wanted to be a painter but couldn’t draw straight lines, so I decided photography was better for me. Of course I learned that it’s not easy either.
This photo I took with a point-and-shoot won in a photo contest. Maybe it was beginner’s luck but it encouraged me to pursue my interest in photography.
My first “serious” camera was a Minolta XG-1 that I bought from a friend for a song. It became my companion for years, documenting life as I raised a family, travelled with them, and explored photography as a hobby. It got pretty banged up, but I captured so many memories with it.
It had Aperture Priority, which was good enough for me, but no auto-focus. Manual focus made hyperfocal distance my default to get as much of the photo in focus and “not waste film.” When funds allowed, I got a Canon EOS 30, which had eye-controlled focus. It was a great camera but soon had to give way to digital.
It started with a mobile phone camera. I quickly discovered the convenence of having it always with me, but also how limiting its low resolution was. Still it was able to capture some moments.
It was the Canon G2 that really got me into digital photography, with its then hefty 4MP and flexible LCD. More importantly, the instant feedback of digital shortened my learning curve.
This is where I will change direction from talking about gear to learning. I had an abundance of raw enthusiasm. I read magazines and books. I studied the rules of composition, applied them and broke them. I also took lessons. I realized it was a tough subject.
But I was having fun. I teamed up with a few friends and we put up our own photo studio. Though I was earning enough from my day job, I did a few gigs just for the experience. Some of my friends went on to become highly accomplished wedding and fashion photographers. I learned a lot from them, but realized that turning professional takes a lot of commitment and is a business by itself. I decided I would rather stay an amateur hobbyist.
Despite having a couple of DSLRs, I went back to film for a while using vintage rangefinders. Maybe there was something about shooting with old technology that was part of the experience.
Eventually I went all digital with the full frame Canon 6D. Then got into mirrorless with the EOSM6 which is so much lighter when travelling. It also allowed me to adapt my vintage lenses into the digital age, so I have come full circle!
Mobile phones have come a long way, too, and many of the photos on this blog were taken with them. I believe they will only get better and computational photography will soon become mainstream. But there’s also a counter-trend back to film, making classic film cameras highly sought after; so that has come full circle too.
I guess the journey never ends. One thing I learned is that equipment helps but it’s still the one holding the camera that makes the photo. Another thing I learned is that, for me at least, life comes first and photography complements it, so it has to be fun.
I still can’t draw straight lines and I’m still learning how to make photographs. But I sure am having fun.