Did anyone receive a new camera for Christmas this year?
Photography has been a long-time passion of mine. My father was an amateur photographer, and I grew up watching him carry two Topcon cameras around his neck during all our family vacations. (Topcon cameras aren’t around anymore except for those who like to collect old cameras.) He used one camera for film and one for slides. He also had motion film cameras and later video. As a result, my siblings and I have plenty of childhood photos, although we like to tease my dad because he took more photos and video of landscapes than of people. (Believe me, 20 years later you will be more interested in what your family looked and sounded like than what Yosemite looked like. Not to mention Yosemite doesn’t change much in twenty years, but all of us do!)
Though I’ve always loved photography, and there was a time that I owned a heavy, 35mm Minolta film camera, I quickly realized that I couldn’t afford my hobby. Film was and still is expensive, and you cannot see the results of your work until you’ve paid to have the film developed. I usually used the automatic settings because I couldn’t afford to take multiple shots of a subject while trying to get the exposure right.
I took one photography class years ago, and my instructor said that what separated professional photographers from amateurs was budget. That is, they had the money to take roll after roll of film and then pick the one or two best photos to use in the magazine. I would argue that being a good photographer is more than that, but in many ways, he’s right. I believe that digital photography has unleashed photo enthusiasts like never before, and I am one of them.
I had given up photography for many years until my first son was born. It was also about that time that I began blogging, and if any of you blog, you may have noticed that photos play a big part in these online journals. There are countless “mommy blogs” and “photographer’s blogs.” Some of the work is mediocre, and some is exceptional. I would argue that these blogs and photo-sharing sites like Flickr have actually made better photographers out of many people. I know that for me, looking at other people’s photos inspire and make me want to try new, creative ideas in photography.
My husband bought me my first Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera almost two years ago, and since that time, I have made much more effort to learn the technical side of photography. With the LCD screen, I get the results of my photo immediately, and I can tweak my settings accordingly. With the help of photo sites online, I have learned so much more about photography than I ever thought I could, and now I can shoot in the manual mode. My lightweight Nikon has enabled me to begin taking photography more seriously, and I am a happy mama as I take quality photos (vs. snapshots) of my kids.
Though I am far from an expert, I get a lot of questions about photography from family and friends that I’m more than happy to answer. In my next few columns, I will write about photography – cameras, tips on taking better photos, and how to share your photos with family and friends. I believe photography is something every parent should invest some time and money into. Our children are growing too fast, and preserving a bit of their childhoods is a must.
Shelli Bond Pabis is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I enjoy Shelli's column each week in The Barrow Journal. Glad to see them online now as well.
Call me a Relic
01/07/10 at 05:29 PM
Sorry I just can't give up my old "manual" SLR cameras. I have two; one is always loaded with color and one with B&W. I do have a digital camera but I tend to use my old ones most. I use the digital mostly for those "quick" shots to upload.