Saturday, December 1, 2007

Entering the Digital Age (2004 to 2006)

I stopped into a local camera store in 2004 after a hecktic day at work where the stress could not have gotten any higher. All I thought while driving home was I need stress relief, what can I do to relieve stress? At that moment I drove by that local camera store. The light went on in my mind and immediately pulled over (I think I cut someone off in the process) parked the car and went in.

Of course I gravitated over to the Canon bodies. They were like old friends calling me home. The clerk (I won't call him any more than that tried to get me to Nikon, probably made more on them, but the 20D I picked up just felt right in my hands. Felt like an old friend I had not seen in a while. Well the clerk popped in a CF card I took a couple snaps in AV mode, they were horrible and told him I would take it.

I was off and running. I began taking pictures immediately. My wife was happy I got the 20D she was glad to see me do something other than work for a change. Although if you ask her now while she still encourages my photography I bet she is a bit tired of my taking her picture and explaining how one is different from the next. Man she is good to me. I have a keeper there.

Well the 20D was a whole new world for me. For once I was not constrained by rolls of film. The CF card set me free. I finally felt it was ok to make mistakes and if I did that I wasn't waisting/throwing away money in the process. In the two years I had my trusty 20D I don't know how many 10s of thousands of pictures I took. The one thing I know is I improved. When first getting it I was almost at ground zero, as photographic skill is like a language, don't use it and you will lose it.

So if I enjoyed my 20D so much why did I move on? Well, its a sad story, but let me tell it anyway. One day I was walking out of my house with 20D in hand to take some pics of the birds at the feeder. Well, my dog ran past me, sneeking out of the house and hit my hand. The 20D went flying, about 5 feet in front of me and down a flight of stairs onto hard concrete then bouncing off a fence. It was a violent death and one that could not be recovered from. It was time for a new body. In retrospect I was due...I guess.

Here is the culprit...yes he is still around. :-)

Credit: Thanks to the Canon Museum from where I got the pic above.

Until I Went Digital (1989 to 2004)

Sorry for the long delay in posts. Things have been very crazy at work and I needed to focus on that for a while. Anyway, I'm back on track and promise to do at least one post a week from now on.

We left off my last post talking about the AE-1. Great camera but where did I go after that? Well...let me tell you. I spent 1989 to 2004 doing what I could in photography but never having the time to spend on it I wished. My cameras where always sitting in the corner taunting me, wanting me to use them. When I would I'd be so happy, but then I wouldn't have time or the money to keep it up. It was during the time that I studied to be a Catholic Priest and finished my bachelor's and Master's degrees. Needless to say that a vow of poverty and student loans don't leave much disposable income for photo gear.

However, its important to note that I didn't foget my passion at this time, so what did I do/use???

Well, Christmas of 1989, right after taking a vow of poverty my father gave me the gift of a EOS-1. I told him it was too much but he figured with a vow of poverty it was the last camera I would ever get so it should be a good one.

Well, this was one amazing camera and was the only one I had until 2004. My only regret is during this time I never had the time or resources to put this body through its paces. I primarily used it for social photography and always felt like I was driving a Ferrari to work at the McDonald's in the mall. Definitely too much for the job.

Well, time moved on, I got married, had/have a family and am became settled in a career. No, I didn't become a priest. If I had I'd still be using the EOS-1. In 2004 it was time to re-ingnite my passion, on came the digital age.

Credit: Thanks to the Canon Museum from where I got the pic above.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Expanding My Reach (1980 to 1988)

Well, when my TX died I had to save up for a new body. Luckily I had put some money away and my father was willing to front me the difference so I could get myself a used AE-1. This was amazing to me especially since I now had a power winder and 135mm zoom to round out my kit. I was in the big time. I was getting pictures of my high school football team and having the pics published in the school news paper. They may have well been published in Time Magazine, I was so proud. Looking at them now I think they are bit soft. :o)

But looking back at my trusty AE-1 the best part was the auto-winder which got me to a speedy 3 frames per second. Thinking about it a bit more I think this explains my soft pics. With manual focus I wasn't re-focusing fast enough when shooting sports. At least thats my story and I'm sticking to it. :o)

While the AE-1 was not revolutionary, as it was still fully manual, the metering was so much better than the TX and I was now taking pride in my shots much more. Futher, this was the period during which I was able to setup a basic black and white darkroom. I now had so much control over my processing it was scary. To this day I believe I only scratched the surface of what I was able to do with that rudimentary darkroom setup but it still ceases to amaze me, and do through experimentation alone.

This was the period where I experimented and grew in what I could do. Unfortunately this hobby often fell to the back of my teen interests and goals at times. However, I'll tell you I never moved, either it be to college or my first apartment without my trusty AE-1. It was always there, maybe not used for months at a time, but always there.

Looking back at this time I have accepted three things.
  1. Even when life gets busy I will always have an interest in and participate in this hobby.
  2. It was the time when I grew the most in what I could do as I now gained confidence in my abilities.
  3. I would never do this for money, it was just too darn much fun.

Credit: Thanks to the Canon Museum from where I got the pic above.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

My Gateway Drug (1975 to 1980)

So this is how the obsession started. At the age of 12 I had a friend who's father was a real estate photographer. I thought what he did was so cool, I think it was the chemicals in the dark room as it all seemed a bit like magic. So my father being the encouraging man he was picked up a Canon TX for me. It was full manual film body with a top shutter speed of 1/500 sec and center weighted metering.

This was the coolest thing I ever held. It was heavy, awkward, and almost impossible to figure out. Since my father bought it used from a co-worker it had no manual and I had no books or internet in which to do research. Literally it was trial and error, and let me tell you the film was expensive for a 12 year old. I was washing dishes for money and all my pay was going to B&W 36 shot rolls of film.

My big day was about a month after I got the TX when I figured out what the light meter did. Suddenly my pics were more than black or white, I saw gradations of grey, it was amazing. I remember taking a picture of a Willow tree at the local park which turned out great as far as I was concerned. I literally spent hours looking at how the darks moved to light and visa-versa.

The TX served me well for 5 years when the shutter finally gave out. I don't think I could tell you how many rolls of film I took with my trusty TX. I have no idea how many acutations were on it when the shutter gave but I'm sure it was in the tens of thousands. And as a rough teen I'm sure I didn't treat it as well as I should have. I know one thing for sure, I would not treat my digital equipment like that today.

Well, that is body #1. Next we will take a look at the replacement to the TX, the AE-1.

Credit: Thanks to the Canon Museum from where I got the pic above.

Friday, November 2, 2007

So, what next?

Been thinking about this. Wondering how to share a passion I've decided to take it in steps and categories.
  1. Share some history about my photographic journey sharing the things I have used.
  2. I will also discuss the reasons I enjoy this hobby so much. I've got to share this with someone, my wife is tired of listening to me. :o)
  3. Discuss elements of photography, sharing my experience and what I have been able to gleen from others more skilled than myself along the way.

To achieve the above I will make sure to label each post so you can filter on them by either history, passion or experience, equipment, etc.

Either way, lets see how it goes and take things from there. Please leave me feedback and such along the way. If there is something you wish to hear about just let me know.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A new day...

Welcome to the Familia Photography blog. This site is very much in its infancy but feel free to stay a while to indulge my obsession with Photography. My father made the mistake of giving me a Canon TX at the age of 12 and I have been obsessed ever since.

Over the coming months I will post things that interest me, but as you can guess these things will probably be photographic in nature. So if you like drawing with light as I do, stay a while and hang out with me. Remember to leave comments as you wish, sharing your experiences as well.

Have a great day and I'll be talking to you soon.