One of the things that makes photography so enjoyable is the challenge of the limitations of your equipment. It’s great when you take a picture that a lot of people like, using an old film camera that’s worth about €30, especially when they say “wow you must have used a really good camera to take that picture”. I don’t have any photos good enough to make this point but have a look at Ken Rockwell’s take on this, “The camera doesn’t matter”. A good photographer will take good pictures using a disposable camera, because it is all about finding a location and waiting for the light to be interesting not about the better the equipment the better the picture.
Some of my favourite photos on this blog were taken with a plastic wonder of camera, the Canon A570is, which you can buy now for less than €100 on line. Unfortunately I did a very silly thing with it. We were all heading out in the car and I put the camera inside its case on to the drivers seat while I secured the boys into their child seats. Somehow the camera fell out of the car onto the driveway. Once we were all in the car I reversed it out and felt a slight bump under the wheel – I thought it might be a toy digger or something until I reversed back some more only to see the camera bag complete with squashed camera inside! Amazingly it still worked, but I couldn’t access the menu to change any settings and the focus and the metering were off, which meant that basically it wasn’t much good any more. I persisted with it for a few frustrating weeks and eventually conceded that it had to be taken to its final resting place (the retired gadgets shelf in my study).
With a very limited budget I started trawling eBay for a second-hand replacement. For €130 I got a bargain. Yes the camera is several years old but it was owned by a very careful retired chap in Scotland – it doesn’t look like it’s ever been out of the box, not a mark or scratch anywhere. For those who are interested it’s a Panasonic LX1, which was replaced by the LX2 a couple of years ago and more recently the LX3, which today sells for over €500!
On the way back from visiting a parishioner yesterday I stopped at the place you see in the picture above, it had only just stopped raining, so you can still see a bit of menace in the sky!