A photography journey – Dressing up with accessories

We’ve all been there. From buying a trendy strap, a soft shutter button, stickers or leather case for decorative purpose, to something more functional such as getting remote cable release, lens filter, L-bracket or cage for functional reason. The camera accessories market booms especially during the time when hipster-photographers are growing in numbers, and when carrying a camera is a fashion statement rather than to take photos with it.

I am guilty of hoarding a lot of accessories myself. Straps and soft shutter button are my go-to items used in decorating my camera. I had also purchased thumbs-up for my Fujifilm camera as well, you know, the piece of metal that tuck into your hot shoe and gave a space for your thumb to rest on. I believe many hobbyist out there are a fan of Peak Design product as well, owning their capture clip and straps and other camera accessories (I’ll talk about camera bag separately in my next post).

I get it that we want to pamper ourselves, we want to look good and trendy and have our camera standout among the boring black metal blocks. We want to be different, hence owning all the decorative accessories. And just like fashion brands, they are pointless and serves little purpose, adding little to no value to our photography journey. But we just can’t help it couldn’t we?

I believe everyone has their own fair share of stories in accessorising their camera. I sure do, but I have since toned down a lot and now I’m just sticking with functional items on my camera. Perhaps it is part of the journey, or perhaps it is just something to do with our personality? I wonder. Let me know if your journey differs from the ordinary. Till then.

A photography journey – The arsenal of lenses

Aside from camera acquisition, another item that are frequently replace or upgraded in our arsenal would be lenses. For a lot of beginner (myself included), we started off by purchasing a camera body that comes with a kit lens, that kit lens will be our one and only lens for quite a long while until the day when we wanted to go wider, go longer, or go bigger in aperture. That’s where the slippery slop begins.

From here onwards, there are those who started to specialise on a genre of photography, hence they would opt to spend on specific lenses. For those who enjoys shooting wildlife or birds, they are happy to splurge on a telephoto lens. For those who enjoys landscape, they will probably end up with an ultra wide angle lens. For portrait shooters, they will get some mid-telephoto lens with wide aperture.

Of course this is not the end of the slope. There will always be a constant debate between whether owning a zoom lens is better than a prime lens. Practicality versus ultimate performance, it’s hard to choose for sure, and some ended up with both eventually. For me, I started off with kit lens, and soon I ventured into primes. There’s a point of time where I shoot only with 21mm, 35mm, 50mm and 90mm prime lenses. But as time goes by, my priority changes, and I have ended up with 3 zoom lenses now, covering 16-35mm, 28-75mm and 70-200mm.

There are a lot to talk about when it comes to lenses, third party versus main brands, various specialty lenses such as macro lens, defocus or smooth focus lens and etc. have always been there, tempting us to bring them home. Well, to me, it’s good too try out different lenses, but the important thing is to know what you want to shoot and achieve in your final picture, and then buy the lens that will help you to achieve that.

Do you have a cabinet that is full of lenses? Till then.

A photography journey – The tale of film and digital

Nikon FM3A

The next part of the photography journey that I would like to talk about is on the medium… film and digital. For the younger generation or those who just started photography in a more recent years, it is very likely for them to begin their journey with digital camera, and most of them will continue to stick with it throughout their journey. However, there are a curious bunch who are either started way earlier in the old days or deeply rooted into the art of creating pictures, who ended up ventured into something else… which is shooting with film.

For me, it’s more of a nostalgic feeling I get when shooting with film camera. It reminds me of the days when I used the point and shoot film camera and take pictures in my school. There are certain experience (and frustrations) that you will get when shooting with a film camera as opposed to digital. The well known quotes of “every shot counts”, “no more spray and pray” and “get it right in camera” are some of the key reasons why I felt shooting film, or the limitation imposed when shooting film, is actually a good training ground to hone your skill and craft.

I have enjoyed my time shooting with film cameras, be it rangefinder or SLR, and I have enjoyed the use of various film stocks, manual focusing, reading the light meter and so on. I don’t think it is necessary for everyone to go through the use of film camera, but for those who really enjoy photography, it’s a good way to experience the history and origin of it. And for those crazy one, they would go as far as developing the film themselves, hacking their scanner in order to get the best film scanning result and so on. Darkroom skill is a different territory all together, and I had been wanted to experience it but sadly have not been able to do so.

If you are on the fence considering whether you should try using a film camera, just do it. It may not be your cup of tea in the end, but I believe the experience is worth while for your photography journey. Till then.

A photography journey – The camera lust

In order to kickstart your photography journey, you would require a camera for sure. It can be in any shapes and form, from smartphone to point and shoot, from mirrorless to DSLR. Whatever it is, its a tool that you will be using to capture a picture, to turn your vision and imagination into a still art form.

For me, it all started with my very first Canon PowerShot G12, followed by PowerShot G1X. Later on, I switched to Fujifilm and used X-Pro1, X-E2, X-T2, and the X100 series cameras. I have also used Leica M9 and M240 before I finally switched to Sony A7 III. Well, that is… of course, only half of the story. I have also owned a few film cameras along the way, like the Nikon FM3A, Zeiss Ikon, Fujifilm GW690 and Hasselblad Xpan.

That’s a pretty long list for the past 10 years. There are those who argued camera is not important, it’s all about your vision. While there are those who argued camera is equally important as your skill, as it entice you to go out and shoot. Whatever it is, I believe for most of us, especially hobbyists are inevitable in owning all sorts of cameras along our photography journey. Some call it gear acquisition syndrome, well, I agree that there are those who are into camera buying and not photography itself. But for most of us, it’s more than just gear buying.

We started a new hobby, stepping into the world of photography. We wouldn’t know for sure what we like and what we wanted. Hence, a lot of trial and errors may occur along the way. Trying out cameras from different manufacturer, different form factors between SLR and rangefinder, trying out different sensor size and technology and so on. Eventually, we will find what suits us the best and settle down (or we are running out of money to fund our hobby). Also, as your shooting style changed, your skill evolved, your requirement changed, it’s totally normal that one may need to switch to a different camera in order to keep them going.

As we settled down in our hobby, getting matured, have better understanding on the world of photography, I believe most of us will end up sticking with a camera for a longer period of time. Do you have any confession to make on your long list of camera used?

A photography journey – How it began

I will be doing a series of post, taking a peek into the journey of us… those who bought a camera, those who took pictures, those who enjoys carrying our camera around despite it being heavy and bulky. This is to the crazy one.

Where it all begin? There could be many reasons, many potential scenes that spark the interest and fire in you. Some were touched by a picture they saw, some were moved by the “dance” of a photographer in work, some were captivated by the magic of pictures printed from a roll of film, while some just wanted to look cool. Whatever reason it was, here we are, holding a camera in our hands, taking pictures, editing them, and feeling happy about the result.

For me, I lived through the age of film to digital transition (that made me sounded very old). I can still recall owning a point and shoot film camera when I was 14-15 years old (not exactly mine, but it was a family camera). You know, those automated film camera that automatically winds the film as you shoot, with zero capability in controlling any settings and not knowing whether the frame was in focus or not. I brought it to school and just snap away, “documenting” my daily life in school and friends around me. Rolls and rolls of film were burned through, and I was always fascinated by how a roll of plasticky… long… smelly… thing can actually turned into colour pictures.I enjoyed the whole process whole shooting to waiting for the film to be developed by a local store. However, at that point of time, I wouldn’t really say I am seriously into photography… just yet.

Then came digital cameras. My family do own an Olympus digital camera before, again, a point and shoot camera with god knows how many megapixels… 3 or 5 maybe? I do use it once in a while, but the time when I really started to take more photos was the moment when cameras are being slapped to the back of the phone. Boy, did I missed my Sony Ericssons camera focused K770 mobile phone! Although I was shooting more, but it had never came across my mind to buy a camera, probably because I simply cannot afford one.

The very first time I got to experience a “real” camera was the time when I borrowed my sister’s Canon PowerShot G10. I was out shooting sunrise with my uncle, who is a photography hobbyist himself. That’s when I was taught about the exposure triangle, how they can be manipulated to get different effect, and how it all adds up into a final picture. Experience from that morning had really struck me and sticked in my head. That’s when I decided that I want to learn more, I want to do more, and I really want to own my camera and start my own journey in the world of photography. I worked hard after graduating from university, and got myself my very first camera after saving hard. It was a Canon PowerShot G12, successor to the G10 which became nostalgic to me. And everything else became history.

Once in a while, it’s good to sit back and relook into your past, to see where it all begun, to revisit your emotions, to rekindle the spark that started the fire so that you could keep yourself going. I believe I must have shared this story a few times throughout the blog, and that’s the reason why. So what was your story in the beginning of your journey? Till then.