Capturing a moment.

My family say the paparazzi have arrived whenever I walk into the room for a family function, just because I never carry anything less than a still and a video camera for such events.  I believe in recording the moment, so what?

*The eagle (helicopter) has almost landed 
for my photographic goals.
Not a bad action shot for my little Kodak either.

I’ve written before about how it is easier to remember the bad things than it is the good (see Stop…Smell the roses) and, for me, photos and videos are wonderful to look back on and remember happy times. I’m too old to take part in today’s ambulance chasing mentality of let’s capture the bad moments and broadcast it on social media and hope the real media picks it up and pays money for it. Okay, financially that would help me out a lot but social media causes enough social problems and issues because of its instant, unreasoned, unedited and emotional ease of publication. Just saying. Maybe that’s worth a few words at a later date.

Anyway, what I do want to “put out there” is my love of photography. Like most of the loves of my life, it remains unrequited to a certain extent but I’m closer to it than any other. It is a relationship that started when my age could be measured in single digits. This could be part of the reason for my desire to record beautiful, good things and occasions as my first contact with photography was when I was young, innocent and open to the wonders of the world. Thank god I’ve kept some of these ideals as now I’m just older, untrusting and, at times, somewhat jaded by it. To me, photos are hard proof of the better moments, captured for eternity and undeniable in their existence.

It’s hard to remember at what moment I became interested in photography but I have memories of sitting fascinated listening to my parents talking about going to “the pictures” and how special a treat it was for them. How they watched films and read words that popped up on the screen so they knew what the actors were saying. They spoke about how “talkies” had put the piano players out of work but that wasn’t such a bad thing sometimes. I watched Charlie Chapman and old westerns, were a photographer would set up a large tripod, place a slide somehow into a massive camera with a jack-in-the box body “nose” lens,  pull what looked like a sheet over his head as Sunday best clothed subjects stood stiffly in front of him. I marvelled that the sheet didn’t catch alight when the powder flash went off.  One of my primary school teachers told the class how cameras work, in basic terms, having strayed from a lesson about the human eye. That lesson set me on a mission to find out more and I was doomed to be in trouble with mum for touching her Boxed Brownie for a few months afterwards. How many times did I hear the words” it’s not a toy” after that? I don’t know.

*What I could find of my collection. Cheap but each has taken memories. Naturally it doesn’t include my current camera. 🙂

While these words were brewing in my head I’ve done a collection of the cameras I own and am a little sad I can’t find my first one. It was a gift from my eldest sister because I wouldn’t leave hers alone and she was frightened I would break it. It is a little blue instamatic, with built in flash, and I’m pretty sure Kodak made it. I love that camera and, last time I saw it, it still worked. Problem is it is nearly impossible to get the film for it now. My sister’s camera was a bit better quality than the one she gave me for a Christmas present but that made no difference to me. She did let me use hers to capture the moment when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, visited our town in the mid seventies and the schools all gathered to greet her. It was a strategic move on her behalf as I was a primary school student and would be positioned towards the front of the crowd and therefore have the best chance of a clear view for photos. Her orders to me was to get at least one good photo, I had 24 frames to use and I was not allowed to waste them. She was really happy with this one.

*Queen Elizabeth in the early 1970’s

The eighties are when I really got my blue Kodak working. It travelled the Queensland coast with me as well as around the NSW region. I got to see some beautiful sights and only captured a few, it was expensive to get film developed then and it took at least a week to get your hard copies back. Back then, there wasn’t photography shop as such and the developing was done through the local chemist who sent the film away to Kodak for developing. It wasn’t until the mid to late eighties that camera store emerged and chain stores started offering a developing service. There was still a wait of up to a week but at least it stayed in town.

*My favourite pic taken with my blue instamatic Kodak in 1984.

During the nineties I was pretty tired up with having kids, struggling to pay a mortgagee and life in general so photography, if any, was pretty much focussed on the family. I did know my beautiful children would not be little and cute forever and yearned for a video camera as capturing one second, as a still camera does, was not long enough. I wished to capture chunks of their childhood to keep forever. For my youngest first birthday I hired a video camera for three days. I have on tape his early attempts to walk, his brother playing with him and a family outing to a local major recreational water storage dam. Precious moments. I had to return the camera as big and chunky as it was and continue to fantasise about the day I could record memories like that every day.

While picking up some happy snaps from the camera store in the mid nineties the owner told me about digital photography. Wow, was my imagination sparked to say the least. Okay, he knew I was the person who left the fingerprints on his glass display cabinet as I regularly browsed and drooled over the wonderful photographic offerings available. To tease me with this information was his cruel revenge for this I’m sure but it was the point I decided I have to earn more money so I can get me some of that action. As it turned out it didn’t matter how much money I earned I didn’t get to see any of it to spend on just me, so when I found a very cheap digital offering at an electronic shop I grabbed it. It might have cost me $25 but I got it. Okay, little to almost no megapixels and its main sell was “focus free lens 3ft to infinity” but it was digital and I didn’t have to find the money to get photos developed, which was a major problem at that time for me.

Did I give it a workout, yes indeed I did. My son took up playing league and I wanted to catch the moment he got a try or a goal. No zoom so I ran up and down the playing field with the team. I loved it and the team’s coach asked me to get a collection of photos of the season for the kids’ end of season portfolio’s, yay, I had a mission too. Loved it, loved it and loved it even more. When the season finished and after each member of the six-year-old team received a folder with photos of themselves in action, as well as a trophy each, I was more than inspired. I was fitter than I had been for years but even I had to admit it would save my children a lot of embarrassment if I got a camera with a zoom lens.

This took a while but it happened with another cheap offer that didn’t last long. This led to my current camera, purchased with the advice of a photographer friend who understands my financial situation and craving for good quality images. Yes, another Kodak that is really serving me well. My friend has helped me a lot and tries to make me believe all his photography is done on autofocus, yeah right, he just knows my adjustments are limited and is trying to ease my concerns about megapixel size, white balance and the like. I’ve had photos published, thru work, and I’m doing a grand job of filling up my 1T external hard drive with images. Almost ready to move onto the next one.

When I was looking for a new mobile phone my main consideration was the photo quality and I don’t even want to think about how sad that makes me but I hate being without a device to record special moments. The photo used on my Stormy times ahead post was taken on my phone. It was a moment that would never be there again and I am glad I captured it so I could share it. Beautiful moments are better shared after all.

I fear I am getting restless again however and am mentally, if not financially, ready to move to the next level of photography. Next is an SLR, adjustable lens with all the blah, blah and blah and the courses, classes and friend harassment it takes to get the most out of it. I am currently capable of recording man made fireworks and I’m ready to move on to natures. My next goal is to capture a lightning bolt it all its glory.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I also have two video cameras, the first purchased because of my university studies, well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it, and the second is a HD model because, well, just because.

*Please remember my photos are untouched and remain my property.


9 thoughts on “Capturing a moment.

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  1. That’s a great pic of the queen from a primary kid!!You really got the camera bug early. I didn’t start until after university thinking it might be useful on archaeology sites – which I then never worked on again. Glad I had it for my world trip. Still got it too, but I was really pleased when digital came out (even if it took me years to get a camera) because of the gelatine used in the processing of standard film.

    Is that some sort of water god (or devil) in the bottom right of the 1984 pic?

    1. Hello and thank you. No, it isn’t a water god or devil sorry. 🙂 I think it is a fallen tree in the water. You have sparked my interest, you have been on archaeological site? Where?

      1. I am impressed. My eldest son wanted to study archaeology however his results in his senior year at school fell short of what he required for entrance into university. He still has a strong interest but total lack of confidence to still go with it. His interest is in European history as human history in Australia doesn’t date back as far as your part of the world, as you would know, however there has been recent new discoveries of prehistoric creatures/animals I believe. Still fascinating to me. 🙂

      2. I actually started at school as there was a local dig so we went along as volunteers and it was quite fun.

        My degree was quite arty and academic ie all about glorious roman mosaics and wonderful buildiings, but there are some that concentrate on the scientific aspects and the practicalities.

        The reality of being on a dig, (especially in the UK), and heaving a round huge heavy wheelbarrows, trowelling through mud, or getting blisters in the icy wind is not too glamorous – and that was in York which should have been good.

        Not everyone has a degree, or didn’t at the time, why not go on a dig for a summer holiday? That’s what I did in France. Even an Aus one would be better than nothing 😉 I used not to be interested in prehistory but as I’ve got older I find it differently interesting.

        I am sure if he could demonstrate some experience and knowledge, he would have a good chance at having another go. What about an online course? There are lots of free ones around apparently. One of the blogs I read put something up recently which included Harvard and Yale ! If he’s talented at either photography or drawing (to map the site and the finds) that’s a big plus too.

        There is no money in it of course. I don’t know how the people I worked with managed it as a full-time career.

      3. I will tell him to check on line, thank you. I have been seriously thinking about taking the boys up to the dinosaur dig in Queensland to have a look/experience. The site there actually has “tours” where you can get your hands dirty ie you pay them to work on the site. Neat idea actually because there are idiots like me who are willing to do it. 🙂 He isn’t getting paid for what he does now which is nothing and play in a rock band when they can get a gig so there really is nothing to loose. Wow, thank you very much. 🙂

  2. Ha, I’m in the pic with Miss T on the left of Her Majesty. She was so beautiful. She looked straight at me so I could take a pic and I froze. My finger refused to work on the camera button. I did manage to get some good pics tho.

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