Am I still taking photos in 2020? Kinda
More than a year ago, I wrote about how I wanted to regain my love for photography. Which means it’s about time for a quick review.
Now that I looked back at my last article, I can’t help but cringe the entire time, mostly because I can’t shut up about photography gear. I am still a nerd and enjoy all the great gears, but in the last 18 months, I have slowly realized how little attention I was paying to the rest of “photography”: composition, lighting, timing, location, emotion, all that jazz. And that is absolutely something I am still trying to grasp. And before diving into that, I am just gonna have a quick paragraph to list my gears and the reason why they are here to stay:
- iPhone 11 Pro: The best camera is the one that’s with you. Also it takes amazing picture
- Fujifilm X-T1: it works, and it feels nice
- Fujifilm 16mm f/2.8: it’s quite compact, fast AF, and quite.
- (Selling) Fujifilm 27mm f/2.8: if I want a compact camera, I have my phone for that.
- (Selling) Samyang 12mm f/2: turns out wide angle & no AF = really hard to focus at night
- (Shipping) Fujifilm 50–230mm XC: it’s on discount, and I do want to explore telephoto for street photography a little bit. Let’s see how it goes
- Nikon FM: I will explain it later
- Nikon 50mm f/1.8D: I have had this lens for probably more than 10 years now. Part of the reason why I got the Nikon FM is to use this lens to it’s full advantage.
What has changed?
Back in secondary school (or so call high school), I fall in love with photography because it allows me to connect to all sorts of people: all the athletes during sports days, random student event organizers from other grades, even people from other schools.
Now that I am 10 years older, work in a 9–5 job, and haven’t went out for anything other then shopping/business for the last 4 months, how I see photography has changed a lot. It’s a lot more about nostalgia of my student days, which probably explains why I am more into retro-looking gears; now it’s also a lot less social, a lot less active. Instead of taking photos of athletes, now I take photos of pedestrians, and often even without any particular reason/subject/anything.
How am I dealing with those changes?
Honestly, not well. I really missed back being able to make friends at school when I was young; I missed when my knee was not a shit show; I missed actually being slightly good at some sports. And that’s probably why for the last few years, I have kinda indulge myself in “what’s the gear that would make it feel like taking pictures with my D40 when I was 16”. Well, sadly the answer is “none”.
I don’t remember how it happens, but slowly I started to watch more videos about film photography, firstly I was still focusing on the camera, the film, or even how to process them. What’s different this time is that a lot of those videos also pay a lot more attention on other aspects of photography, which slowly opens up my eyes to what I’ve been missing. Hopefully, I am slowing getting to a point where taking picture is just a hobby, and not a event.
Aaaaand we’re stuck inside
For the first month or two of WFH, I spent way too much time online buying shit I don’t need, which includes the Nikon FM. I definitely have no idea how is it gonna make any difference to my X-T1, and even 3 months in, I still haven’t finished a roll of film. While I do enjoy the physicality of the camera, from a logical stand point, it is not a wise purchase decision at all. Thankfully it’s not expensive, so I am going to give it a few more months, to see if the process of going to a camera store, get the picture printed, can make the photo more meaningful or personal.
And there is 1 more potential stupid camera gear that’s on it’s way: a cheap-ish telephoto zoom lens. Over the last 18 months, I have been using almost exclusive wide angle lens, because “that’s the type of lens for landscape/cityscape”. And now that I have slightly better understanding of how the focal length of a photo can change the perspective and framing of a picture, I would like to give telephoto lens a shot. I am still very uncomfortable to take photos on the street, because my stupid brain keep saying “you look dumb as hell, just like all the tourists”, and having a long lens *might* make it slightly more comfortable, since I don’t have to get close to my subject anyway. And after so long with just wide angle lens and having a hard time making effective composition for photos, I am open to trying new things, especially from my the window of my room (no, not as a creep).
While I haven’t necessarily “fall in love” with photography, I think I am much more comfortable to have it be part of my life, my normal-boring-quiet life.
P.S.: The good thing about camera gear is that their value depreciate not that much, relative to other electronics. As long as you are not “buying the latest and greatest”, it’s actually less expensive of a hobby as I expected.