In 1958 I bought my first camera, an Agfa Silette in a Washington DC pawnshop. I had traveled with some fellow St. Edward’s High School, Austin, Texas students in a chartered Greyhound bus. The first roll I shot with that camera was with Kodak Tri-X. I soon was flummoxed by the camera’s limitations. The lens could not be removed.
I save up with odd jobs with Brother Hubert Koeppen and by 1959 I had a Pentacon-F Single Lens Reflex that I purchased for $100 from Olden Cameras in NY City. I remember that day when Brother Emmett, C.S.C. who ran the PX type shot at St. Ed’s indicated that there was a package for me. That was the day that I opened this glossy (very beautiful) box that contained that new-fangled SLR. In those days rangefinder cameras were the cameras to have.
Since that day sometime in 1959 I have had many cameras and I have kept juts about all of them. They are behind me on top of a couple of negative metal filing cabinets as I write this.
Just about a week ago it dawned me that my first digital camera (the only one I have ever had) my Fuji X-E1 is now 4 years old. As always my Rosemary was right when she insisted I modernize my ways back in 2013. This camera has been a Godsend.
With it I learned to shoot Arts Umbrella dancers with slow shutter speeds. I recently applied that technique with the circus/theatre performers of the New Zealand troupe The Dust Palace at the Cultch’s York Theatre.
But I have been frustrated in that the camera is unable to focus quickly in the dark situation of a theatre. Anybody who shoots movement knows that in a peak movement that movement is zero. When a baseball batter hits the ball movement is zero. A camera’s slow shutter speed will freeze that motion.
For me motion is best reflected in a combination of freeze and blur. I use shutter speeds that range between ¼ of a second to 1/30th. But it is almost impossible for me to anticipate peak movement (even when I do) m X-E1has a shutter lag as it attempts to focus in low light.
That problem will now be over as I have purchased (a black body in on order at Leo’s Camera on Granville) for the just out Fuji X-E3. Not only does this camera (which will use the two lenses I already have) focus more quickly it also has a silent (no click!) shutter.
As I wait for that phone call from Jeff Gin at Leo’s I am somehow feeling as if I am 17 in Austin, Texas and nagging Brother Emmett if my camera has arrived!
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.