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Prasad Saya
Prasad Saya

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Revisiting Photography after a long (, long...) time

Couple of months back I had ideas about shooting some photos for fun and hobby. Hence, I started looking for information about the current state of photography.

I occasionally use my Android phone camera, but that is still a phone for me. A camera means you have reason to take time off or go out and do something more purposeful - photography. For me photography was (still is) technique and involving light, colors, things, nature, people, aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and exposure. Being out on your own sometimes at odd times, odd places and a satisfaction (somewhat akin to that of being on a golf course driving range on your own practicing) irrespective of the outcome.

I learnt photography long time back when I was in college, around year 1980. I was studying my Mechanical Engineering degree and I had enrolled into the college photography club. Naturally, I came to know experts in the field and I was interested.

I learnt by reading photography books, trying, taking help, and doing together with a friend. I had a camera (a rangefinder camera with built in light meter) and some borrowed equipment (a tripod, and a TLR camera). Armed with these and some trying I was able to get the best photographer prize at the annual college competition in 1982. My photos were mostly black & white, shot in the dark, and not the usual sceneries, sunsets, flowers, etc. I had enjoyed the action and learnt the basics well. It is not easy compared to today’s equipment and their capabilities.

After that I did some photography once in a while. Back in year 2001 got my own Nikon SLR camera with a 24-120mm zoom lens. That was still using photographic film, not the digital photography. The interest did not last long.

The title picture is a selfie in a mirror. It was one of first photos I shot with my recent and new camera.


Couple of months back, I started noting the digital cameras and their capabilities. After few weeks, I knew that photography technique and basics are mostly the same, but it’s the equipment, technologies, convenience, etc., are different.

I did get a book to revisit my knowledge about photography. The book is "Understanding Exposure" fourth edition, by Bryan Peterson. The book is about photography and technique (irrespective of equipment). It suited me well and I liked it, as it had the right knowledge I needed to relearn.

I also avoided any books and knowledge involving equipment about digital photography. I felt that a distraction and excitement. Though I browsed a few online videos for relevant information.

Once I was convinced that this is something I need to try, I looked for a camera with changeable lenses - a SLR or nowadays a DSLR. It needed to be a beginner level, and also interesting to me.

I found this camera - Nikon ZFC. It is a mirrorless DSLR (mirrorless DSLRs are light weight, smaller and newer tech). It can capture 21 Mega pixel digital photos. I opted for a normal 50mm f1.8 lens to go with it. It can also shoot decent videos. I got this couple of weeks back. And, a tripod earlier this week.

Initially, the new camera was a bit overwhelming. It had a user manual of 600+ pages. An array of displays, menus, submenus, settings, technology and more terminology. My camera also had manual controls for ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation like in older film cameras giving it a unique and retro look (which I like).

I have to learn this new technology of digital photography. I know there is a good learning curve. I am learning by myself.

Picture of my Nikon ZFC Camera

Initial try

Back in January 2023, I had written a post on this site Books I had read in the past decade or so.... I needed a picture with books to go with the article’s title. It was a borrowed one. I wanted to replace that photo with a real one and with the real books I had listed in the article. So, I started to get a decent picture using the new camera. I tried various shots and finally got the photo and updated on the post.

It was not easy with my new equipment. I used my study lamps for lighting. Tried various positions, settings on the camera and lighting. After a few photos I settled for one. This was little exciting too. I did not know which was the best picture of the few. The urge to post it online immediately was there.

So, on November 13th I edited the article to have the new picture. It was satisfying. The experience was good and encouraging.

The photo from initial shooting:

Picture of a stack of books

This one is from a tree as shot from my bedroom window (I wanted to make the background out of focus from the target):

Picture of a bunch of leaves with blurred background

It is not about equipment

Few weeks back I was in my kitchen putting together my breakfast. Fresh fruit is part of my diet. I get Papayas often and they are available plenty. As I cut this one, I noted a familiar shape. This was unexpected. This from the nature.

Here is a shot with my Android phone.

Picture of papaya cut half has a heart shaped section

What next?

The weather had been cloudy and it’s been raining often lately. This is making it difficult to get out and try the camera outdoors. So is the city traffic. I am waiting to find time and opportunities to get out and experience the photography.

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