Life evolving behind the lens

It Started with a Gift

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Believe me. I know. In the last few months I’ve been completely besieged by work related work. That phrase is courtesy of one of my co-workers. 😛 Anyway, since it’s National Photography Month in the US, I figured I’d try to get some more posts in even though I have done a whole lot in the way of photography partly due to my job. So as I try to wrap things up with those photos, I figured I could tell you a little bit about my earliest days in photography and about the very first camera I could call my own.

Between the end of eighth grade and the middle of ninth grade, a good amount of my spending money ended up going toward disposable cameras. I had a lot of social fluctuation during that time, and most of it was not pleasant. Because pleasant moments were hard to come by, I started taking pictures to preserve the moments worth remembering. It didn’t take long for me to always want a camera in hand, and I also awaited a high school band trip to DC. A few months before that trip, I received my first camera as a Christmas gift.

F600

It was a point and shoot, which was fine by me at the time. I didn’t have super serious design on photography at that point in my life. It was a pretty idiot-proof camera, to boot. You simply dropped the film into the designated slot, and all the winding was automatically completed. It was also fully automated, so the only thing I really controlled was the ISO of my film and the flash. I adored it and took it out for a good bit of practice before taking the camera with me to the nation’s capital. In fact, just about everything except for the last two photos in Snapping Through School comes from that roughly three month period. By the time I went on that trip, the camera felt familiar in my hands, and I was ready to get on a bus with a bunch of bandos for a few days’ worth of wacky shenanigans. I caught some of those moments on film for sure, but I soon found that this little APS camera did wonders for the monuments and other more static sights along the way. Back then, I had no idea when my next visit would be, so I needed to make sure my pictures turned out well. To my surprise, I had no instances of fingers in front of the lens during this trip (although a few photos were really blurry). After that, I was recruited to take pictures for my grandparents’ 50th anniversary, and those turned out fairly well. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have any of those photos digitally stored. I wish I did, as I took one of my favorite portraits at that celebration. I used that camera for about five years, pretty much to the point when the APS technology was rendered obsolete by the digital revolution. Those were five crucial years in developing my interest in this hobby, as I did manage to capture moments that aged well enough to go into my portfolio last year. I actually think if I tried to use that camera now I’d become frustrated with it very quickly because I’ve grown accustomed to setting my own aperture, shutter speed, focus and white balance. On the other hand, it would be a good way to exercise my skills in understanding light and finding ways to manipulate it with limited tools. I’m tempted to grab a disposable film camera to test this. Maybe I will some day. 🙂

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