My Photography Journey; Where It Began and Where I Am Now

When I talk to others or read blogs from those who are into making images, it’s common that most of us have had this interest all our lives.  Almost every blog has a post from the author of this type where they share how they got into photography.  An account to the reader of how it has become such a large part of their lives that they now are compelled to write a blog about it.

I’m going to do that too.

I’ve been into making photographs since I can remember.  There is just something about being able to capture a moment frozen in time that interests me.  I was and still am, fascinated by seeing people and places from another time.

It sparks the imagination when viewing a captured moment.  What transpired before, during, and after?  Who took the photo?  What was going on around that small part of the scene that was captured?  Sometimes, when asked, the people in the photo don’t even remember who was behind the camera.

We had photo albums (rare nowadays) in the living room when I was a kid.  I would pick one up every now and then when I was bored to pass the time.  Even though I had seen all of the pictures before, there was almost something new about seeing them again.

In a sense, those albums were living chronicles.  When new photos were developed (the days of film) and printed, they were added to the album that still had room.  The simple act of adding those new photos would prompt a review of the entire album to compare the changes to the appearance of people or places.

The appeal is even greater now because of my own participation in photography.  When seeing an old photo that I’m in or made, it’s almost like a cutaway in a movie.  Where the live action around that flash in time swirls in my mind.  I’m immediately transported back to that moment.

The first camera I ever used was an “instamatic” 110; similar to the one in the image below.  It was simple to use.  The film came in a little cartridge that you would just pop into the back of the camera and wind to the next frame.  It was a low cost camera and film format that was popular in the 1970’s and 80’s.  The image quality was not be considered high quality.  The small size of the film negatives made enlarging prints such as an 8×10 grainy or blurry.

In both junior high and high school I took elective photography classes.  In those classes, I was able to learn some of the basic technical aspects of the craft such as the three pillars of exposure: sensitivity, aperture, and shutter speed.  It was still the era of film so, I also learned darkroom techniques.  Both chemical film development and paper print development.

It was fascinating to learn the how the magic was made.  My experience with photographs up until that time was taking the film to a photo developer and waiting a few days for it to come back.  Those film development businesses had huge machines that made me believe only they had the power to make the images into prints.

I was also able to borrow 35mm film cameras for use in class projects.  This was my first encounter with any cameras so advanced.  Peering through the viewfinder and seeing through the lens was amazing.  Turning the lens ring to focus on my subject was like an awakening.  Prior to that all I had ever seen through a camera was the plastic viewer of a 110 instamatic camera which only miniaturized my desired subject.

A whole new world of capability in photography was suddenly opened up.  The vision I had for photographic creativity seemed like it could now be realized.  I was captivated for a lifetime.

Since then, the passion has waxed and waned depending on what other attention grabbers life has thrown in front of me.  When photography entered the digital era, my enthusiasm was sparked again.  Over the past fifteen years I’ve had several digital point and shoot cameras and DSLR’s.

I coincidentally chose a career where the fundamentals of photography were intrinsic; medical imaging.  I became a radiographer, making X ray images then moved into other modalities in that field such as CT (CAT scan) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).  More on my medical imaging experience to come in future posts, because it does have an interesting correlation to photography.

In my recent reboot of photography excitement, I’ve started as a newbie.  I bought an entry level DSLR and a few lenses to give me some creative latitude.  I may also be afflicted with GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), as I have also purchased peripheral items to allow me to explore additional aspects of making great photos.

More to come.  Talk soon.

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