When I was a kid I was convinced that I wanted to be a writer....I spent a lot of my spare time transcribing pages out of the dictionary. I read everything that I could reach. Due to circumstances that I don't have much need to go into here, I dropped out of high school to devote myself to partying. It was becoming harder to do both and school was not the priority. I was living with friends and we would occasionally buy a keg "just because it's Wednesday." Many, many teens had the same experience and I am thankful (in a way) that I did....it made me much more aware of the world around me. There is little more eye-opening than waking up behind a row of bushes thankful only that you woke up at all. With awareness comes appreciation.....and for me that appreciation manifested in a desire to capture and share things. I tried through a lot of my poetry....but I couldn't really convey what I was trying to. I think that the hardest things to describe with words are that which is prettiest and that which is ugliest. In between people can comprehend....but the extremes are lost. And...aren't the extremes why we live life to start with?
I used to have a Polaroid Instant camera that I put a lot of film packs through....every guest at my old house parties were required to allow me to photograph them giving me the finger. I called that collection "The Bird Cage." The moral of that story is.....a Polaroid was perfect for that situation. I, the photographer, probably wouldn't have gotten very good results if I had to think about settings and lighting and such things. Hell, I was mostly trying to stand up. So....I could push the button and wait for the photo to get kicked out. Wave it around for a few minutes and a masterpiece would appear (okay, so that may be a stretch....but at the very least a memory would be created that would have otherwise been lost).
Great photo? No. But since my friend Ronnie passed away
I'm really glad to have it anyway.
This is one of the only photos around of my best friend
Randy and myself....he passed away in March 1999.
Sure glad that someone had a camera!
My first "real" camera was an Olympus C-920 Zoom that I bought with $450 of an accident settlement in 1996. That was a TON of money.....but at the time, this camera was cutting edge! If you had great light and were close enough (pretty damn close now that I think about it) and rubbed Buddha's belly just right you could occasionally get a good photo out of this thing. And it would print pretty clearly up to about the size of a postage stamp. But 8x10? Not very satisfying results.
1.3 Megapixels and a 3x Zoom! I took thousands of photos with this thing
When I upgraded to a new camera (even I could see that this wasn't going to do the things that I really wanted to do) I decided on an HP PhotoSmart 850c. What a huge improvement! 4 Megapixels meant that I could print 8x10's (as long as I didn't need to crop much) and the sensor was really good as far as picking up accurate colors. It also had 8x Optical Zoom (while it claims 56x....that equates to 8x optical followed by 7x digital.....NEVER go into Digital Zoom....Digital Zoom is a fallacy and has ruined more memories than it has preserved!!). There is nothing worse than thinking you have a great photo only to find out when you get it onto the computer monitor that it's blurry or so pixelated that it's a waste of money to print!
This thing is built like a real camera...dropped it more than once and it
would still work today if I took it off the shelf - click for review
I used that HP for a LONG time....but it was eventually time to grow up and find something that I could learn on. I wasn't ready for a Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex.....this means that through use of a moving mirror the photographer sees exactly what is being captured by the sensor)....not ready for the cost or the experience. If I was going to really learn what I was doing (and therefore commit to photography as more than just an occasional hobby) I was going to have to spend a little more money and then be ready to study.
Canon PowerShot S3is - click for Review
This led me to the Canon S3is which is kind of a hybrid between a point & shoot (scroll up) and a dSLR (scroll down). The S3is was a GREAT camera for me! Many of the settings are user controllable and through use of converter tubes it can function as though it has either a zoom or a wide-angle lens. I had both tubes and give them a huge endorsement. The S3is is a 6 Megapixel beast....I printed posters using shots taken with this and they looked awesome! I regret selling this camera....but I did use the money to help buy a new lens. If you are interested in taking good photos, with more options than a simple point & shoot will provide (and don't mind spending a few hundred dollars in order to achieve it) pick up either an S3is or a newer rendition. You will not be disappointed!
My Canon S3is with Teleconverter
I took close to 100,000 shots with my S3is and learned a TON about photography. I knew that THIS was what I am supposed to do with my life. I won't be the best, the most well-known, the richest....Hell, I may never sell a photo.....but I knew this is what my purpose was. And...with that knowledge came the need to move to a dSLR. So that is my history in taking photos....next I'll talk about my move into "real" photography.
Continue here to check out what camera bodies I use now (and why I use them!)