I just ordered a new Canon EOS 7D camera along with an 18-135mm zoom and a 50mm f/1.4 lens and I cannot wait for it to be delivered. This camera is well beyond my current ability as a photographer but I have always been a big believer in rising to the occasion.
For one short semester when I was in college I was a graphics art major with a large interest in photography. My dad had an old 35mm camera that had been given to him and he said I could use it to take a photography class. The first few weeks of the class the camera performed perfectly and I was able to complete my assignments. On the week we learned to use the darkroom our instructor had us practice by opening our cameras, removing a practice roll of film, threading the film into the developing reel, then putting the reel into the air tight processing canister. Once we felt comfortable doing this, he had us practice with our eyes shut. The thought was that when we mastered this we would then be able to get our own exposed film into the developing canisters in the pitch black developing rooms.
(For you young’uns out there, back in the old days we had to develop our film into negatives by using a chemical process, then we made prints from the negatives by using an enlarger, printing paper and more chemicals. )
During our practice sessions I had no problems with this process, however the first time I was in the developing room by myself, where it was so dark I could not see my hand in front of my face, I did not fare as well. I got the back of the camera opened, but when I attempted to get the film out, I was tugging on something I thought was the film but turned out to be part of the shutter. Needless to say, I destroyed the camera’s ability to ever again take pictures.
I remember calling my dad in tears and wondering how I was going to be able to finish my class because “this old camera” he had lent me had broken. I am pretty sure I never mentioned that the “broken” part was totally my doing. He said he would he would see if he could find another camera for me to borrow.
The next day my parents showed up at my sorority house. I remember that it must have been close to Valentine’s Day because my mom was holding a heart shaped cake she had baked for me. Food was always her way of making someone feel better. I am pretty sure I am still paying for that philosophy today, but that is a story entirely in itself. My dad had in his possession a brand new Canon AE-1 35mm camera that he had bought just for me. In 1977 the AE-1 was very popular for the serious amateur photographer in the SLR market. Owning a camera like this was well beyond any expectations I had up to this point in my life. And yes, I was pretty spoiled growing up.
The AE-1 served me well through 2 more photography classes while in college, a couple of adult education photography classes and several years after that. At some point we started collecting digital cameras in our household and used them for the obligatory picture taking situations. Although we have a high end point and shoot camera that allows for manual settings, there is just no substitute for a true SLR with a fast lens.
Over the past several months I have been on a self education process to re-learn photography in the digital age. There is so much technology to learn on the camera itself, let alone the post production possibilities with photoshop. I hope this old brain can process all this new information. So far I am having a blast. Now if that new camera would just hurry up and arrive…….