One of the reasons I started this blog was to give myself a reason to take more photographs. I had realised that, even though I had a digital camera, I was being frugal with film. This is because it used to cost two weeks’ pocket money to get a roll of film developed and the habit has never left me. I take very few photos and struggle to delete them even if they’re truly awful. I wanted to take more photographs of the children and for the children to help them remember things better but (this is the tricky bit) I want them to be good photos.
Putting pictures up on this website has made me much more aware of my shortcomings in this area, particularly after I have just looked at some of the other wonderful blogs out there. I see stunning pictures of beautiful things, but can never seem to achieve similar results.
Then I begin to think – is it me? Does my hand shake? Could it be the camera? Or does my brain just not pay enough attention to what is displayed in front of my eyes? I have come to the conclusion it is part of all of the above. I know I’m not good at framing pictures. Cropping them afterwards generally sorts that out though. I do get some good results in sunshine. I know that my camera doesn’t cope with low light well. It’s depth of field is minimal at the best of times and when the sun isn’t shining (October to April, generally) my pictures can be quite bad.
I used to have a wonderful camera. One of the great things about it was that it didn’t eat its way through batteries. In fact it didn’t need batteries at all. It was completely manual – I had to set the exposure time and aperture, wind it on with a lever, focus by twisting the lens and hold it to my face to look through a tiny little viewfinder. The 35mm film had to be wound back once it had reached the end, and the first couple of shots were always a bit of a gamble because the light might have got to the film. It didn’t have a flash, but with the control I had of exposure and aperture it very rarely mattered.
Of course I took some rubbish photos with it, but the proportion of good to bad was higher than it ever has been since. Unfortunately it got knocked and one of the lenses is misaligned. All pictures from that point on came out romantically fuzzy around two edges.
I am going to try to turn of as much of the automation on my camera as possible and experiment with what it can and can’t do. Then I need to decide whether I need a new camera. Or perhaps I should say, an old camera. Anyone got a 40-year-old Praktika?