Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Fifty Fifty

In April 2013 I left the roaring forties and entered the furious fifties. My younger brother generously spoiled me with a surprise gift of a black Nikon J1 with a 10mm lens (28mm equivalent), a camera system I had recommended to him for his daughter. The Nikon 1 system was being berated as having too small a sensor and due to it's poor sales was being discounted. It intrigued me however due to it's poor reviews it was a camera I wouldn't quite consider for myself. What a pleasant surprise and amazing gift! The small camera feels solid and has amazing autofocus whilst being able to shoot up to 60 fps and in complete silence. The Nikon J1 has become a constant companion and although it has some silly modes which could have been used for more conventional operating modes, this is a highly capable camera. It is a great general grab along camera and a joy for stealthy street photography.

My son Jude - very tricky boy to photograph!
Grab shot whilst walking to work
The unexpected arrival of this compact camera has had me reconsider my photography. It has put the FUN back into my photography whilst making photographs a whole lot less serious of a business. Maybe that is the wisdom surfacing that comes from being fifty years of age! Looking at my photographic cupboard and all the many cameras, formats and lenses I wondered how I arrived at such a place. There have been many seasons and each item was a "justifiable" purchase. Many do not hold their original value and it would be tempting to do a massive springclean however each camera carries so much sentiment. It is a huge thrill to produce a high quality, high resolution black and white print (even greater when selling it!) and I still pursue this however the value of a happy snappy family photograph is suddenly becoming rather precious. The lure of ever more capable cameras is forever there and is what drives the sales markets. My Nikon D70s still takes great photographs but in all honesty my Nikon D600 does a better job.

Cheerful Man I met on way to work
Cartier-Bresson tribute!

Olivier Duong has a great blog with an article "Letting go of the camera: The action steps I took to break free from gear addiction" which I ironically stumbled across at dpreview.com , a gearhead's must read website. He raises many confronting issues and how he recognises the signs and symptoms of this affliction. There is hope and he has some recommended remedies in dealing with this ordeal. At this stage my film photography has waned however somehow I don't concern myself with worrying about this. Shooting a compact digital and playing with a larger DSLR trying bokeh panoramas is very satisfying. Fifty Fifty - some days are slow and calculated, others a flurry of snapshots, some days ten latent images with the excitement of waiting for their development is what works whilst on another occasion it might be chimping away after photographing the birth of a newborn babe.

Last Haircut as 49 yr old. Mucking about with Plaubel Makina 6x9
Birth of a baby boy!
All photos other than Plaubel Makina were taken with Nikon J1