"Go as far as you can see; when you get there you'll be able to see farther." ~ Thomas Carlyle
I might say I’ve only been serious about photography for about a year, but that would not quite be true. I’ve filled over 50 photo albums in the past 35+ years since I got my first camera for Christmas – a Kodak Instamatic. I snapped my first roll off in no time flat and have never looked back. The thrill of capturing an image of something that I thought was pretty, or funny or just interesting has been with me ever since then. Whatever camera I had at the time has been in a purse or a pocket since my late teens.
When I left my job in 1980 to spend a year in Australia with my husband, I was given an Olympus Pen. How ever did they know that it was the best going-away present I could possibly have received? As Jim and I worked our way around the continent I took hundreds of pictures documenting our journey with this great camera.
The Pen has a wonderful cost saving feature. It takes 2 images for each 35mm frame, so I got 72 pictures to every roll. That was very helpful to two very young, very broke, traveling kids. Although I regularly snap off hundreds of pictures in a day now with my DSLR, in those days, 72 pictures was a LOT of photographs. It took weeks to expose a roll: one picture of this, one picture of that.
But it turned out that there was a drawback to that. Somewhere between Perth and Adelaide, including a few weeks working in Perth, I discovered that the film had not been advancing and I had no pictures at all of that wonderful part of our adventure. Heartbreaking.
However, it wasn’t the fault of the camera. It was mine. The film had not been loaded properly. The Pen continued to take great pictures until I decided I wanted to get a little more control and saved up for an SLR which I finally bought in about 1985. I began the painstaking and expensive journey of learning about the exposure triangle with my Pentax and the zoom and macro lenses I was able to purchase along with it. I can’t remember the model numbers and don’t have them to photograph now, because in about 1999 on an overnighter in Calgary, my truck was broken into and my camera bag was stolen.
The insurance company replaced it with a Pentax MZ50 and there went my learning curve. The pictures that camera could take on auto were so wonderful it was just too easy in my busy life to point and shoot. Soon after that I bought my first digital camera and everything I had learned with that first SLR went down the drain.
In April last year, I joined Flickr. After ogling the amazing images I saw there it only took me a week or so to start craving a DSLR. In October I had the good fortune to buy a second-hand Nikon D60 from one of my contacts and now feel that I have truly stepped out into the ‘real’ world of photography. The learning curve is just as steep as when I was working with film, but the digital age and the internet has accelerated the process exponentially. I will be forever grateful to the many people on the web who generously share their time and their knowledge. I have hopes of being able to ‘pay it forward’ as I continue to learn.
Here are some pictures I took in 1980 on that sweet little Olympus Pen. I could do some ‘fixing’ on them, they’re not in the greatest of shape, but I love them anyway.