Monday, July 1, 2013

Dreaming Out Loud - Photographer Phantasies

Image from here

Given last month's installment of Dreaming Out Loud re: my phobia of being photographed, not to mention my track record with cameras, this month's installment might seem strange to those people who are acquainted my oh-so-Graceful self. But, this is a Dream List, so I am putting this out there.

Stranger things have happened -- especially lately.

The whole area of photography has changed dramatically since I was a child. I grew up in an age when pictures were still taken with film and printed on photographic paper. The cost of the film, processing and printing it was what kept too many people from venturing beyond family, vacation, and holiday pictures. It was expensively prohibitive to start "experimenting" with artsy shots, and you weren't always sure WHAT you were going to get on film until it came back from the processors.

Now, growing up with a father who worked in the audio-visual medium, it is only natural that we kids gradually took an interest in photography. (But given the fact that we're all a little competitive ... it's better than some of us haven't really pushed to make a profession out of it.)

I still have prints from my high school pin-hole camera experiments. I actually miss the smell of the dark room and the chemicals. I miss having the knack of loading my film in a camera, by winding it manually onto the gears, or hearing the whirr of the automatic winding process. Until a few years ago, I had canisters of super old, probably expired and exposed, black and white film in my fridge, and I still can't give up my hard-earned, vintage third-hand, battered film Pentax and equipment. They are buried behind things by my desk in the Attic, but I can get to them in a hurry. It may be one of the five things I grab in the case of an emergency.

Digital photography has opened a whole new world of possibilities. There are cameras ON PHONES! Something that not more than 10 years ago would have been unimaginable. That those phones take better pictures than some of my old 35mm cameras? Even more remarkable. (Has the ease of digital cellphone photography made some people go too far? Yes. HELL YES. See any starlet with a scandal lately. And the selfie craze? ... Really people!)

I tend to stay behind the technology curve, due to an abundance of caution and a lack of funds. But once I did officially, finally, switch to digital point-and-shoots? Sometimes I have to remind myself that some of my shots are actually pretty good.* (Again, read over-saturation of images, everywhere, all the time, by all kinds of amazing friends and family, and inadequacy and competitive issues).

I would love to move beyond a point-and-shoot and see what else I could do when I was the one in charge again, and not using the albeit wonderful settings.

But ... I have a mixed success rate with keeping cameras in my hands. Two recent cases in point:
2007-2011 RIP
Ms. Ruby Nikon 2.0 
2011-2012, RIP

And ... I have other funding priorities, like:
- paying the rent,
- paying the bills,
- paying off my graduate school student loans and other debts,
- affording trips to see the family and/or far-flung friends, and
- living in one of the most expensive areas in the country ...

And ... "write" now, this is just a hobby for me. I'm not the type of blogger who has sponsors sending her all over the country, or a semi/full-time photographer who takes pictures that are licensed for use elsewhere or used to make prints, cards, etc. that are sold through her store, or as a (fill in the blank)


I can't see spending the equivalent of upwards of 1 to 3 months worth of rent money on a piece of equipment for a HOBBY, even if it was an investment to move that hobby into a money-making venture. I am serious: 1-3 months of a NYC-adjacent studio apartment (studio even) rent, for a new DSLR BODY. If you add on lenses and flash packs and batteries and other accessories ... It adds up. Even checking out the used sections of camera stores like B&H Photo and Video in NYC (where all the following photos come from, except where noted), finds that used cameras cost almost a month's rent.

Thus, I'm Dreaming Out Loud.

I would love a DSLR - but they are so large, heavy, expensive,

and then they have various lenses that are also large, heavy, and expensive.

Most come in a generic black color, which is fine for most people, especially New Yorkers, 
but look! Some come in this pretty blue. 
I really love blue.
And then some of the DLSRs need external flash packs, 
which is MORE money and stuff to lug around.

So let's be practical, these can get heavy and when you are already schlepping around, you want something lightweight to sling around your neck.

This Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR Camera is new to the market, and is supposed to weigh in under a pound, before battery weight, and is smaller and less bulky. The price seems about on par for other smaller DSLRs on the market. With an existing flash plus mounts for more, hand grip, auto functions plus some manual ones, ability to switch out lenses, and both the traditional eye view-finder and digital screen, ... it's where I'd like to go on a camera, eventually.

From the Press Release photo kit
One day.

You know, since I'm Dreaming Out Loud and all.

By the time I save up - something smaller, faster, lightweight, and most importantly, DROP RESISTANT will be on the market.

*Thus, some of this week's upcoming Photo Flashbacks.

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