I’ve always dreamt of a good, big DSLR camera. And yes, big meant good as I somehow believed that a good camera can’t be small. My father had a reflex camera, a film camera, as it was long before the digital age started, but I wasn’t allowed to use it. Even when he taught me how to develop photos in a darkroom those were still the photos taken with a much smaller, simpler camera. A DSLR camera was out of reach for me for a very long time, it was too expensive, too serious, too good for me.
Then, digital cameras were becaming more and more popular and all I wanted was a camera that would fit into my pocket. After some time I wanted something better, then something better again and it was when I bought my first DSlR, Canon Rebel XS. When it broke down I wanted something better again…
A few days ago, when I read other blogger’s story of her experience with learning a dslr camera and attending a photography course I recalled my very own first moments with Canon Rebel: I went to a park, took many photos and felt extreme disappointment that they were not what I expected. They not only completely fell short of my expectations, they were simply horrible.
And that was when my learning process started.
1. I read the manual, then read it again (I’m a fan of manuals. Really! )
2. I bought a few books.
3. I found some photography websites, and, a funny thing: the more critical reviewers were in their opinions, the more I learnt from them.
4. I enrolled for a photography course. It lasted half a year with meetings taking place every week and each lasting a few hours, there were lectures, films, practice, exercises in a darkroom, even a photo weekend away.
I kept making progress, fast at first as I really got into it, slower later on as I was a bit too lazy. For many years taking photos on my holidays with a DSLR camera was an indispensable part of my travel experience.
It all changed last year when, to my own amazement, I realised that I was too tired of carrying my gear around, too lazy to take the camera out of my bag, too afraid of spoiling moments I saw in front of my eyes (which I would certainly have done by showing off with a serious camera with a long lens). It turned out that most of my favourite moments of my month long stay in Ethiopia I recorded with my phone. A month later I went for my city breaks in Brussels and Amsterdam leaving my camera at home and as it was a great experience I came to the conclusion that what I want is a small camera that fits in my pocket.
So… It’s time to start travelling with a small mirrorless camera Sony a6000. It’s small, it’s light, it’s handy, it’s simply cute I’ve read the manual, I’m starting to learn again.
I was in Bieszczady mountains, playing with my new toy, taking hundreds of snaps to feel it out, when somewhere up the route a man came up to me. He was carrying a Canon DSLR in his hand. He asked if I could take a photo of him and his girlfriend. He passed his camera to me. “You need to look here and press this small button here,” he explained with a condescending tone of some photographers who look down on anybody who’s got a smaller camera than they do.