After more than six years and messing up with two digital cameras, I finally managed to get hold on to my first SLR. I bought it through one of my friend. He got a good deal in thanksgiving. Along with the camera and the kit lens, I managed to hold one to a zoom lens at almost one tenth of its market price.
“The first thing he will ask after getting the lens is what to do with it” told my brother in law to my sister once he heard about the deal I had struck. He is a professional in the field of photography.
This actually happened. Once I got the lens, I didn’t know what to with it and wanted to sell it. Thankfully I decided to try it once before selling and changed my mind.
After getting the camera, what started next was painful process of trying different modes. This task would have been easier if I had taken help of user manual. But my gigantic ego stopped me from doing it
“I don’t read. I write” is what I told myself.
Start was made in auto mode. While photographs looked good when taken in auto mode, I was more interested in trying the manual mode. What’s the point of buying an SLR anyways if you are going to use it in auto mode?
“Shutter speed, aperture and ISO – photography is all about these three” is what an expert told me.
It sounded simple. To get a good picture, all one needs to get the best combination of these three.
For a particular time, these three should form a unique combination. That unique combination will let specific quantity of light enter the camera. It is simple mathematics is what I thought. It is all about how much light you capture. Whenever I write a book on photography, it will name it “It is all about light” I had not stopped thinking.
But soon I came to the golden realization - thinking is often a waste of time. So I decided to concentrate on clicking. Soon I realized that for starters, photography can be quite like playing carom. While making a strike, you need to be at your calmest best, hold still, look at the target, gauge all the angles and choose the best one, do a mental calculation about the path that striker will take and hit it when you are 100% ready and sure to do so - a bit here and there will mean not hitting the target at the best possible angle. Same applies to photography and focusing. You need to focus it to the T else slippage can be catastrophic. Imagine clicking portrait of a female colleague and missing the focus vertically by a foot or so – either ways.
I experienced the downside of missing the focus right at the start. While trying to click a few birds at the roof, I missed the focus and they came in the background of the picture. What came in the focus were Tata Sky antennas and the bodily discharge of the birds splattered all across the antennas. Let the writer in me bail out the photographer in me is what I thought, named the pic as Tata’s Sky and those who use it and posted it on a public forum at work. Next day I got a mail from a female colleague lecturing me not to make that respected forum a joke by putting such substandard pic on it. Well, the pic was really pathetic.
Anyways, it didn’t deter me. I am quite used to getting scolded by the other side of gender divide. To the females, if any, reading this – no point trying this stunt with me. I am used to of it.
“Post processing is dishonesty with the photography” is what I told an expert who asked me to learn photoshop. Alas, I was soon back to one of my many habits – eating my own words. Editing pictures in photoshop does make them look lot better but it is a painful process – less for you and more for your laptop. If not for suggestion by the guy in computer repair shop to use cooling pad, my laptop would have died by now.
I would like to give on suggestion, though. If you want to avoid your better half’s wrath, don’t pick up photography. It does consume lot of your time and this is something no wife can cope up with – someone other than her eating up your time. Being an ardent cricket, which I am, will double the trouble for you.
“As if cricket was not enough, you have brought in this new nuisance to the house. I wonder why you married me” is what you will often get to hear. And you will wonder how both of you are you wondering about the same thing – why you married her.
Another thing I have noticed is that once you have learned to handle the camera, a bigger challenge awaits you. The challenge is to find the subjects. Some choose portraits. Some choose birds. Some choose wild life.
I chose my two sons. It has been difficult. Forget the posing; my first task is to save my camera from them. My younger son broke my last camera and I don’t want my SLR to meet the same fate. With kids, the shutter speed needs to be high, focusing needs to be quick and there has to be good amount of light. You hardly get time to change the settings. It is difficult.
One day I would like to do wild life photography but I am not sure if it will be more difficult than clicking the kids. At least you don’t need to beg in front a tiger to smile. If you spot a tiger, you click. If a tiger spots you, you run. It is simple.
I gave the same logic to an expert and he told me that wild life photography is more difficult. But that will have to wait. I will do it one day if two things remain alive – yours truly and yours truly’s interest in photography. For the time being, it will be kids, toy cars, sunrise, sunset and a bit of this and that.
Anyhow, the fever is catching up. I am also realizing the shortcomings of ecommerce. Expansive lenses are just a click away and you do want to own all of them. Unfortunately, salary comes once in a month and that’s not enough to make you save to buy even a lens cap. To get deeper in the world of photography without starving at the hands of ecommerce, you would need humongous amount of self-control.