‘It’s here!’ Everyone knows that feeling of excitement when their packages arrive. I remember that day at work, how I kept checking the UPS website tracking to see if it had been delivered yet or not. Naturally UPS came well after dark that day, and so I was home, but there wasn’t much worth photographing just then. As usual, Joon our cat, was my first subject.
Over the next few months I learned the deep limitations of what the photography world refer to as a ‘bridge camera.’ This bridge camera had a small sensor, and was horrible in low light. Only going up to ISO 400, anything past mid-day turned into a blurry mess. Moreover, the SD cards that this camera could take were only 4gb or smaller. That meant I could take 16 TIFFs or RAW files on a card.
Despite its limitations, I really loved that Panasonic. It was the closest thing to a camera I brought everywhere other than my smartphone. Those first few months, I took thousands of photos. Photos of friends and family, of sunsets, of birds and boats and trees. One of these photos; I thought, is surely an award winner.
After nearly 6 months of shooting and learning I began wishing I had something more. I had seen others talk about interchangeable lens cameras and how they offered much better quality, not to mention the ability to store more than a handful of photos on an SD card.
‘We can’t afford that,’ offered Mary… ‘but if you can find a way, I’m fine with it.’
Not to digress at this point, but this author feels it’s worth pointing out that this has been the attitude of my wife since the beginning. She has withstood this journey far better than I have. Her unyielding support in spite of my neurosis has been a true blessing. A word of advice to any spouse who’s significant other is on this or a similar journey, offer an ear and endless patience. Your other half will figure it out, eventually.
Now back to the story.
‘Challenge accepted,’ I thought. If I could find a way to pay, I could buy my camera. My opportunity came at my friends birthday party at the dog track. Sadly, he didn’t win a nickel. I, on the other hand, won over $350 on some very lucky and well-placed bets. Now think what you will about dog racing in general, (I am now personally opposed to it,) those fleet-footed K-9’s earned me a shiny new DSLR.
Now the choice. I have $350… what camera can I afford. At the time Mary and I were Sams Club Members. I remember scouring the Sams website and narrowing the choice to two cameras. My choice was a Nikon D3100 vs a Canon XT-i.
I spent hours pouring over the numbers, and reading reviews. This was the true beginning of my journey. In the end, I chose the Nikon. Ultimately it was because my father, many years prior, had a Nikon EM film camera. I guess deep down, boys always want to be like their dads.