Saturday, 6 February 2016

Photographic Memories

Once upon a time I used to be a quite keen photographer. When I was in my early twenties I spotted an old Minolta X-300 35mm SLR  in a charity shop and got bitten by the bug. Over the space of a few years I began a learning process that took me from knowing very little about f-stops and  apertures, to being able to discern between specular and diffuse reflection and take a pretty good shot at setting up a multi-light arrangement for most occasions. The full manual setting on my SLR was my weapon of choice and I even managed to take a handful of decentish pictures.

I was, in short, a nerd.

Years later digital arrived and I gradually moved over, eventually assembling a pretty decent digital outfit including one of Canon’s legendary ‘L Series’ lenses (see nerd comment above) and I lived it all over again. There was a new learning curve to be had in post production which had previously been way outside my scope. It used to be that I’d think nothing of lugging around a couple of kilos of gear for hours in search of that one elusive, perfect image, a choice made a little more straightforward by the fact that compact cameras were pretty limited and phone cameras were laughable.

But times change and since I was really firing on all cylinders with this stuff, technology has moved on (along with airline luggage weight allowances). I picked up a pretty decent compact a couple of years ago to travel with me to Sri Lanka, I’ve found that it has more than enough manual control for me to be happy and to get 99% of the shots I could have got with the full fat setup plus others that I would have missed through being too slow with heavy gear. As a result the bulky old SLR has languished entirely in the back of the wardrobe along with flashes, light modifiers, stands, tripods and assorted other bits and pieces. It’s time had been and gone for me so its currently finding various new homes via eBay and charity shops.

And the proceeds of selling off my gear?

Well, please allow me to indulge myself in one of my favourite photographer quotes, attributed to Jim Richardson:

If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.” 

Next stops Riga and Berlin, maybe more depending on how much people value L series glass these days…

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