This is my first post in this new site. I have been guiding a lot of my friends in photography in various ways. I help any kind of photographer improve their photography skills. In this process, I have been repeatedly asked by people to start a blog. So here I am. My old site is gone. Now this is more about my own thoughts and anything photographic.
For me photography is a way to express my thoughts. It is to share with others, how I visualize things. I am still learning. I will write here my experiences, tips, thoughts and whatever else comes to my mind related to my adventures with photography.
My ‘exposure’ to photography
My first exposure to photography was when I accidentally found a book on photography in my grandfather’s library. It was titled ‘The Encyclopedia of Photography’ and was bound in beautiful reddish brown color. I was impressed by the photographs in that book. There were photographs by the great masters like Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Robert Capa and many others. I did not know the names then. I still have the book with me.
I get a camera
Many years after this, I got my first camera.I was in primary school and my father gave me an Agfa camera to play around with. I was a school kid and this was the best thing that happened to me. I took pictures of trees, houses, street scenes, critters and whatever I found interesting. There were no major settings to take care of. It was easy for me to use as a child. The camera used medium format film, which I later came to know was quite expensive. I thank my parents for letting me use a camera which cost them money for the film and then to get my negatives developed. I remember at times being told to stop clicking photos of people on the streets, trees and everything else. The photographs in my family meant photographs of our family members, something that I had never thought of capturing.
Photography was an expensive hobby which I realized when I reached senior school and the rolls always cost money. I could not afford to get some of my films developed. Later I stopped loading film in the camera. I did not get any pictures but I started visualizing images. I kept on alternating between clicking with film and clicking without any film.
The Agfa camera was left behind once I shifted to another city for schooling. Here I got hold of a really old TLR. This was an inexpensive replica of Rolleiflex. Another medium format camera! The film still remained expensive and beyond the reach of my pocket money. What I did manage to learn was to print my own contact sheets by directly placing negatives on photo-paper and exposing to ambient light. I was a happy person.
The Canon rangefinder
I completed my schooling and went to college. I came across a Canon GIII QL, a rangefinder with actual shutter speed and aperture settings. This was my father’s camera and somehow he had stopped using it. The camera even had a built in light meter. This helped me learn the technical aspects of photography. The shutter was a quiet one and I could indulge in even street photography with this. The standard lens with slight wide-angle touch to it was wonderful. I started getting close to my subjects and loosing my fear. Once again another thanks to my dad for letting me keep this camera in my hostel during my college days.
After the Canon rangefinder, I again got my hands dirty with a couple of TLRs (Yashica and then a Rollei) but the film cost was high and for a college student that I was, photography with TLRs was not sustainable. Once again, I was back to clicking photographs without loading any films. Thankfully the people who let me play with these TLRs did not mind my clicking them without any film rolls.
Love affair with SLR
I had never tried SLRs till now and then one day I got hold of a dilapidated Canon AE-1 SLR camera in a camera repair shop. I had gone there searching for a case for the Canon rangefinder. This was the old FD mount Canon camera and I was really happy to be able to see what I wanted to photograph. Now I had clarity. I knew that my first camera, which I was going to purchase in future, was going to be a SLR.
I saved some more money and then one day with help from my family, I bought my first Nikon SLR. It came with a 50mm lens. Now I was a photographer in everyone’s eyes. I had a camera of my own and with a crystal clear and sharp lens. I also moved to professional film rolls that had very tight exposure tolerances but gave good contrast and colors.
Forced to digital with changing times
One SLR followed another and one lens followed another. The times were changing and the rolls gave way to digital. I was one of the late adopters of digital. Now I use Nikon DSLRs with a variety of optics. I however try never to carry more than two lens with me. I do not own very expensive cameras. For me photography is more to do with visualization. Very often it is quoted that camera is just a tool and the photographs are made by the person behind the camera. Photographs are made by people. Photography equipment is …..well just the equipment. Cameras are just the tools. Good tools are required but there’s a lot more that is required too. Photography is about many more things. More on this will follow in another post.
This is a short summary of my photography journey. I hope this site proves useful to my readers. For a quick list, visit Index of Articles
Images in this post – Alfred / Creative Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0