Tuesday, 3 April 2018

A to Z Challenge - C is for Camera

Where would I be without my camera? Bereft certainly, bored probably, and an absolute couch potato surely. I have had a camera since I was 11 years old. We were off to Europe in the summer of 1964 and I pleaded with my Dad for a camera of my own. He presented me with a Kodak Brownie Fiesta. I was over the moon.

Like my father before me, from then on there were few times I could be seen without a camera hanging from my neck or shoulder.

My Dad in London, England, 1964
Me in Lichtenstein, 1964
image courtesy of this link

In my early teens, I graduated to the world of the SLR, a PetriFLex 7. What I remember most about this camera was how heavy it was!

1971 in Niagara Falls, Petri around my neck
image source link

In 1975 I bought a Fujica ST801 (it had LED's in the viewfinder!). It was the photo workhorse through housebuilding, children, and travels for twenty-one years.




I was so careful in those days. Slide film was too expensive to waste, even if I was able to buy 6 rolls of 36 exposure with processing included. I took time to set up each shot peering through the viewfinder for wires coming out of a person's ears and poles growing out the top of heads, and I fiddled with the aperture and/or shutter speed. Then and only then, I held my breath and pressed the button.

It might be a months before "36" appeared in the little exposure counter window. I clicked off the last shot, then carefully rewound the film back into the canister. At some point in the next week, I delivered the canister to the store for processing. Three days, five, or even a whole week after that, I got to see the results of my judicious compositions. Often I was disappointed. On a good day there might be as many as 25 well exposed but otherwise ordinary pictures and maybe, just maybe 3 exceptional images. In 26 years of film, 6733 slides made it into the catalogue.

Slide boxes, binders and even a few albums for 'real' photos!

The age of film ended for me on Christmas Day 2001 with the arrival of my first digital camera (Canon PowerShot A20), a gift from my beloved. It was followed over the years by a Canon PowerShot S50, a Lumix TZ5 and now my current digital the Sony a6000. Oh and let me not forget the advent of the cell phone which has put a camera in everybody's hand, including mine, while dumping a plethora of mediocre (or worse!) images onto the world wide web. Yet, it is also true that those little cell phone lenses and the mighty built-in software can produce some stunning photos too.

I'd like to think that over the years I have learned a thing or two about photography, that my pictures are better, or at least many of them are better right out of the camera. But with all the high powered editing software now at my fingertips, it's entirely possible to engineer a perfectly acceptable image from a mediocre one. "You know, with a little bit of work this picture can be stunning," I hear myself say. It's a trap! The result? Seventeen years of digital has produced 60k+ images. Yikes!

I still take to heart what a venerable photographer, my Dad, once said to me, "If you can't take a good picture with a Brownie Box Camera, you can't take a good picture!"

Yeah, Dad, I hear ya!

Galapagos 2015 with Schwartz the travel mascot and valuable stand-in when scale is needed.

©2018 April Hoeller


  1. Digital has made taking pictures so easy and printing what you want without much waste. I have a couple of cameras but I usually forget to use them. I tend to get so caught up in moments that taking photos isn't even on my mind.

    I admire your diligence.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. Many thanks for stopping by Arlee, and for taking the time to comment. Digital has indeed brought much to photography and I know my Dad would be totally gob-smacked by it all.
      Simply enjoying moments is important too!
      Take care.

  2. Oh, how I admire your photographer abilities! This is one skill I haven't taken the time to learn well, (as anyone who sees the photos on my blog will know) and have almost completely stopped taking photos. I mostly now rely on children, by sister in law, and others to record the events of our family. Love your photos and your post!

    1. Thank you Marcy for your kind words. Photography is a labour of love for me, though not quite so time demanding as it was in the days of film. It is one of those skills that one just has to get out there and do, over and over and over again.

  3. Great retrospective on your journey. Some great photos!! Thanks for sharing.

    Donna B. McNicol|Author and Traveler
    A to Z Flash Fiction Stories|A to Z of Goldendoodles

    1. Thank you, Donna. Glad you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.
      Best wishes,