When I was in 7th grade, one of my technology classes had a darkroom. We learned how to take and develop basic black and white photos, as well as experiment with the brand new technology of digitizing photographs onto a computer that had roughly the same processing power as a modern digital watch. I took an immediate interest in photography. My dad had given me his old manual-zoom, manual-focus, manual rewind camera, and I spent countless hours after school in that darkroom.
The teacher, Mr. Kaier, had a camera that I absolutely loved. It was a Canon Rebel G single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera, with automatic everything. It looked cool and hi-tech, especially compared to my camera which was old even back then (I believe it was an SLR as well, but can’t even recall the brand.*) I didn’t know how to use the majority of its features, and I wasn’t even developing color pictures, but I knew I
wanted needed a Canon Rebel.
Shortly after our city got a brand-new Ames department store, our old Jamesway had a store-closing sale. They put huge 50% or more discounts on everything in the store, clearly planning to dump their entire inventory. In the glass cabinet over in their electronics department was a Rebel G camera. Every few days, the store-wide discount would increase and my father and I decided when it went up to 75% off, we’d go buy the camera. As my luck would have it, the day we finally went to purchase it, it had already been sold.
That was pretty much it for me. I continued taking pictures with my manual camera, but eventually I went on to High School and the photography thing was more or less put off to the side as I got more into computers and playing trumpet. I had a couple 35mm quick-shoot cameras over the next few years that I used during trips and such, but didn’t put any effort into the artistic side of it.
Nearly 10 years after my first visit to the darkroom, photography was changing. Film was becoming less and less popular as many new cameras were digital. My friend André was an amazing photographer with a couple of expensive and high-end digital cameras. My little point-and-shoot was a potato in comparison. During one of our IRC gatherings back in 2004, he let me use one of his cameras, and I took what I consider is one of the best photos I’ve ever taken with it. I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect photograph, but I don’t think I did too badly considering my complete lack of experience.
There’s been a lot of times when I’ve found myself wishing I had a good camera. Cellphone cameras have become very good, better than a lot of simple point-and-shoot cameras, but I haven’t been satisfied. Audrey has wanted to take artistic landscape photos as well, so we discussed the idea of maybe getting a good camera to take up the hobby with. This year we finally put aside some money and picked up a new digital SLR camera, a Canon Rebel T6. It took me about 22 years, but I finally got a Rebel.
* – After racking my brain and a little internet research, I found the old camera I had, it was an Olympus OM-Series camera, probably an OM-20, and it was indeed an SLR.