I grew up with photography. It wasn’t something that just happened at special occasions – it happened every day. My Far Far (grandfather) was a professional photographer and had a photography studio, so photography was even more a part of life for my father. My father even met my mother when taking student photos at the start of term at a college.
Growing up, my brother, sister and I had use of a camera or our own camera from an early age. I suspect that before he was even 15, my brother had amassed the world’s foremost collection of photos of US National Park toilets in existence. (And could probably tell you a lot about the acoustics in each.) So for me, cameras have always been something selected and given to me by my father.
As I got older, I still loved photography. It never became that boring thing your father does that you don’t want to do. 🙂 I remember in high school taking photography class and helping to teach in the dark room. I remember a community college course too where I had brilliant fun with the projects – my photos have never been fantastic, but I remember the fun of taking them. I remember playing with a star filter while watching the light play on the water flowing under a bridge in Capitola – I remember playing with shutter speeds while taking photos of cars on Highway 1 near Watsonville – I remember light and a redwood tree near Felton. Lots of fun.
When I moved to Europe, my father sent me off with gear and told me to photograph everywhere I lived. He reminded me that even if it seemed boring at the time, one day it would be fascinating. I remembered that and somewhere on this planet these photos probably exist; some I still have. (Recently I purchased a scanner, so some of these photos could are likely to wind up on flickr sometime soon. I’ve already started scanning old photo albums.) I took a photos of things like the view out my window on the first morning I woke up overseas, my walk to work when I lived in Abwil, Switzerland, and every little hovel I lived in.
And coming from a life worth of experience with photography, what cameras did my father send me off to Europe with? Well, I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter. An Olympus of some sort if I remember correctly. He taught me that it doesn’t matter how expensive the gear you have is, the camera you have with you is the camera that gets the photos. Rather than carrying around billions of different specialist or expensive toys, it’s better to have a few and use your brain to get the best use out of them. And regardless of how great your gear is, it’s the idiot behind the lens that has the most influence over how good a photo will be.
So what is it that got me started on this strange tangent? It’s not often a blog post is so much about me and not geocaching or a trip. As strange as it may seem, I’ve just bought a camera for myself for the first time. Yes, I have 4,665 items up on Flickr. And yes, I ALWAYS have a camera with me. However this is the first time I’ve bought one for myself.
Even the cameras I’ve gotten since moving to Australia were given to me by my father. The first digital camera I ever had? My father passed me a lovely little pocket sized Minolta as we stepped onto Easter Island while on holiday there. Small, pocket-sized, and more than up to the task of capturing the gorgeous Rapa Nui. My next digital camera? A fabulous Panasonic Lumix TZ1 my father sent me for Christmas a few years ago. I love it dearly, and the majority of the 4,665 items on Flickr were taken with it.
But every once in a while, I’ve been frustrated. I love small cameras that are light and easy to have with you all the time. But on the other hand it’s not like I’m a girl with a little purse that only fits a lippie; I carry around a backpack full of geocaching gear. And I love taking macro photos of plants while bushwalking or trying to zoom in on native birds or marsupials. Why shouldn’t I get myself another camera?
And this week it happened. It’s been in the back of my mind for ages, but this week I decided to actually purchase another camera. I briefly thought about looking around at the world of cameras out there on offer, but then I just decided to get another Lumix – this time the G1. There are billions of different cameras, and to be honest pretty much anything from a reputible company is going to be fine. So rather than compare features, I was wild. I’ve got a Lumix, I love my Lumix, and the G1 is a Lumix but has some things I’m looking for. So I just went for it. Here it is while I was in the middle of opening it, my new Lumix G1 – photographed by my TZ1, of course. 🙂
It fits my hand well, and although much larger than the TZ1 it’s still small and light. In fact the first comment anyone I’ve allowed to pick it up has been ‘it’s light!’. I’m certain we’ll have lots of fun geocaching together. And taking photographs of food – and random shots of things I see in the street – and plants in the garden – and renovations of the house – and Lottie.
Just as I enjoy cooking but am not a chef, I love taking photos but am not a photographer. But there’s nothing to say you have to be the best at doing something to be allowed to do it.