Photography as a hobby – taking it to the next level

Brownie Camera
Brownie Camera, Photo Credit – Wikipedia

I have always loved taking pictures. I grew up with a mother who had to document all important occasions with her Brownie camera. I wanted more. I splurged and bought a Polaroid in my college days.

Mamiya-Sekor SLR
Photo credit:


Then, on a trip to Guam (think “duty-free”) in the last half of the 1970s, I purchased a “Mamiya-Sekor” single-lens reflex camera (film) and a couple of lenses. It was the pride of my life.

I kept that camera and lenses for several years until I traded it in for a camera for my daughter in the early 90’s.  She wanted an underwater camera for her diving and turtle tagging moments in high school. I regretted letting it go, but the kid came first.

Fast forward to the late 90’s when the first digital cameras were being manufactured.  I purchased a compact digital camera of 1 megapixel photo size. It was pretty awful, frankly. It was so not memorable, I can’t recall the brand.

Then came the 2000’s and breakthroughs in digital photography were abounding. My first somewhat more enjoyable digital camera was a compact HP camera. It was small enough to put in my purse (though heavy) and I took some very enjoyable photos with it in my early days of living in Seattle.

I will never forget the day my husband insisted we go to the downtown camera store and I purchased a Minolta DiMage 5 (3.0 megapixels). How I loved that camera! I later “graduated” to a DiMage7 (5 megapixels) but it was not the camera the “5” was. More megapixels is not necessarily better. I gave the “5” to another daughter as (I thought) my tastes matured in camera equipment. I had a Minolta DiMage A1 (5 megapixels) and later upgraded to the DiMage A2 (8 megapixels). I either gave away or sold all these. I was almost as attached to the DiMage A1 as I was to the DiMage5.  Some of the best shots I have done were with those cameras.

The first time I held (the original) Digital Rebel, I thought my heart would stop.  It was lovely. It was on Thanksgiving Day and we had decided to be untraditional by eating out at a crab shop. At the table next to me a young woman had the camera to show off to her father. She let me hold it and I was smitten.

It took a little longer to grow as attached, but a few vacations gave me the confidence to really explore what the camera could do. It was hard to pry it out of my hands. I invested in some really good glass. I have a 75-300 ISM, a 50 mm fixed lens and an 18-200mm ISM zoom that became my “workhorse” lens.

Digital Rebel T1i
Digital Rebel T1i

Eventually I graduated to the Canon Digital Rebel T1i (18.1 megapixel). That camera has been with me for a really long time. It, in combination with my lens investment, garnered me entry into some places I might not have otherwise been allowed. But more on that in a later entry.

Canon EOS 1D Mark II
Canon EOS 1D Mark II Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

I might mention that I briefly (2006) owned a Canon EOS 1D Mark II(8.5 Megapixel). It was more camera than I was a photographer. I used it to shoot a wedding and on a trip back to Honolulu.  The photographs were spectacular but I was not enjoying the experience. I sold it to a pro who used it to shoot the Seahawks in action for sports news. He later sent me photos taken with it since he was very happy with his purchase!

I still occasionally drag out the T1i and reminisce about shooting great pictures. However, much like my attachment to my smart phone(s), it takes time to grow accustomed to a new camera. My Huiwei phone has Leica lensing and has more megapixels than any camera I own.  But it does have limitations.

Sony A6000
Sony A6000

A couple of years ago I wanted to explore the “mirrorless” camera.  I had heard from other photographers and from my reading that the Sony A6000 was the “cat’s meow” in that arena.  Since there was a Black Friday sale at a South Center Mall camera store and they were throwing in a zoom lens and paying the sales tax for anyone who purchased the camera, I was there, first in line, when the store opened.  I bought it, took it home, shot some pictures and was thoroughly unimpressed. I felt obligated to take pictures with it but my heart cried out for my T1i. A6000 and I did not bond. I took it to Portland to a “steam-up”, to Victoria for a holiday, carried it around town. It was not a memorable experience. So much so, that for the better part of the last 2-3 years, I only took photos with my smartphone. I was also absorbed in this property and the Association. The smartphone camera was for documentation.

Portable Photo Studio
Portable Photo Studio

Now that I am again retired, I am exploring product photography as well as shooting for the enjoyment of it. It has been years since I held a camera and took any “real” photos. I picked up the Sony A6000 and realized it felt good in my hands. I just purchased a “portable photo studio” to take product shots for my blogs and others. It is larger than I expected, but has some awesome attributes.  I expect I will be blogging about it in a future entry.

What hobby have you left behind and then, years later, picked back up on? Leave a comment below for everyone to gain inspiration – whether adopting a new hobby or picking up a former one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *