Photography has always been part of my life.
I started young, with an adorable bright blue Fisher Price camera 1984 model. In 9th grade, I won a contest for a “lifetime supply” of camera film. It seems odd now that everyone has unlimited photos they can take with a digital device, but I was lucky to get an early taste of that. As a result, I became a photographer for my High School Yearbook. As an exchange student in Japan I had an unusual camera that used advantix film, capable of taking images at 3 different sizes, and I loved its panorama mode. Advantix film was expensive and difficult to find in stores, so when I returned to the states I switched to a different point-and-shoot camera that used traditional film. In college, I worked in a camera shop and as a projectionist, where I learned about photo-restoration, projection lenses and antique projectors, and incredibly long reels of film. I watched movies over and over. Sometimes I would peek frame-by-frame at a scene to see how it was made. Through all this, I’ve collected several big crates full of hundreds of photographs, and a hard-drive with thousands more.
In my career I’m involved with photos every day, as someone who uses them, writes about them, helps to share thousands of images to millions of people. It’s funny though, the easier it became for me to take photos, the less I’ve cared to do it. I take some with my phone on occasion, and my choice of a Google Pixel phone is mostly because of its camera but still, I stopped taking photos very often. On that hard drive of mine, the photos are organized by year, and looking through them I can see that with each passing year I’ve taken fewer and fewer photographs. Lately I can go months, even a year, without taking a single photo. What happened?
It was on my mind quite a bit this summer, which was a pretty rough time for me. I got sick with an infection, and it robbed me for a few months of my ability to do or enjoy very much at all, including my birthday. I had to take it easy and rest for weeks, and it gave me some time for my mind to wander. I needed something to look forward to, something I could be sure to enjoy, something to look forward to. Having something like that in my sights makes it easier to recover. I decided to get myself a nice camera for my birthday. I’d had my eye on one for several years now and I found one on Ebay in good condition for a good price.
I chose the Sony a6000 camera . It’s recently out of production but it was a very popular and sucessful camera. The popularity means there is a ton of information online about its features, lots of fun accessories for it. Reviews of the a6000 camera suggest that it’s a nice camera for me to enjoy for years. As a mirrorless camera, it has a small body, which means you can fit almost any lens on it from the past. That sounds like a lot of fun to me. I’ve only had the camera for a few weeks now but so far I’m thrilled with it and I’ve already started to think about starting a small lens collection. I am excited to choose some lesnes with interesting quirks to add some style to my photos. I’ve even found myself waking up early on weekends, something I never do, to go take photos in the neighborhood.
There’s something I like about a real camera. It’s a little slower to use than my phone, and that’s a good thing. The world could use some more slow, careful action in it lately, I think. It’s a peaceful feeling, taking that moment to survey the scene, consider the light, to really look at something carefully. It’s also nice to be able to take an incredible number of photographs on a digital camera, but to do it with an actual lens. Autofocus? Sure. Manual focus. OK bring it on. Gear Acquisition Syndrome ? Maybe, but I’ll stick to cheap gear, preferably used. I’m having so much fun with this camera already. Why did I ever wait so long to get one?