Photography, old vs new

I’ve been into photography for a very long time. When I was ten years old, I got my first “real” camera, a Pentax K1000 SLR. Before that, I think there was a disc camera, and I seem to recall 126 film, and 110. (Surely I didn’t start with an SLR, but my memory is weak.) I took a photography class that year that also brought us into a darkroom. Man, I remember wanting a darkroom more than anything else in the world. I subscribed to Popular Photography (though goodness knows I probably only understood 1/4 of what I was reading) and was generally obsessed.

In high school, I joined the Photo Club and was elected president my senior year. I’m pretty sure the entire point of the photo club was to throw pizza parties, but my presidential status garnered me special darkroom privileges, which I took abundant advantage of. (I was also photo editor of the yearbook, but the less said about that, the better. If you happen to have a copy of the 1993 Louisiana School yearbook, please ignore the multitude of blank spots where photos were meant to go. Ahem.

I became interested in video production at the same time (my wonderful high school had a Media Center with not only the aforementioned darkroom, but also a video editing suite) and I was determined to major in that in college. I took one photography class in college, but I think my perception of any talent I had must have been deflated, because I didn’t pursue it any more after that.

Several years ago, I sent my brother my old Pentax K1000 to use for his movies, or something, and kind of forgot about it. But recently I remembered it, and asked him to send it back to me. I just got it yesterday, and hey, it’s fun! Even Linus was getting into it. Maybe he’ll follow in my (amateur photography enthusiast) footsteps!

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So different from a digital camera. Besides the obvious – the boys kept asking “where’s the screen?” – but the things you don’t think about. You can’t just adjust the ISO to whatever you want. You can’t take unlimited photos. You can’t change focus points. There’s no built-in flash. You must thoughtfully compose every shot because you’re going to be paying for those later. And don’t even get me started on focusing…

I can’t decide if I’m disappointed in the limitations of the SLR camera (or perhaps just this one), or if I’m in awe of the capabilities of a digital SLR. The shutter speed on my Pentax maxes out at 1/1000, while I can set my Canon to 1/8000. Crazy. On a bright day, if you’re shooting with ISO400 film, you might be SOL, especially if you to limit your depth of field.

I was lucky in that I was able to buy a ton of film from Walgreens for 75% off the other day, but it’s kind of sad that you can’t buy it easily anymore. I mean, it’s totally understandable that the only film was in the clearance bin (and close to expiration) but I’m sure I’ll be able to find it at the specialist camera stores. But I want my first shots to be on cheap film, in case the camera isn’t working correctly, or, you know, in case of (ahem) operator error. We’ll see.

Stay tuned for results…

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