It Started With A Gift

Mar 15, 2019

I haven’t always had a camera in my hand. I do have memories of my Dad having a camera and showing us his photos from hunting trips via slideshow, but I didn’t start to express any interest in having a camera until junior high. I would buy disposable cameras and use them all up taking photos of myself and my friends, then beg my mom to get them developed. That was back in the days when film was your only option, of course.

I bought my first digital camera using my student loan in University. It wasn’t a very good camera by today’s standards. It was only a 10MP point-and-shoot, but I used it and was glad to have it. I found excuses to use it.

From there, I continued to upgrade my point-and-shoot and always found reasons to use my camera such as every vacation I went on.

I took my point-and-shoot with me to Hawaii on my first vacation where I caught the travel bug. I took 600 photos during my week long vacation. I was so grateful for that digital camera. If I had had disposable cameras, I may not have taken as many photos as I had. I wouldn’t have been able to document as much of the trip as I had been able to. Documenting that vacation was important to me. Not just for myself, but for my family, too. Those who may not be able to make that same trip themselves. My mother, in particular, who cannot get on a plane for fear of flying.

At some point, I started to wish I had what I referred to as a ‘fancy camera’ (a DSLR) but never considered shelling out the cash for it myself. I mean…$700 or more for a ‘fancy camera’? And what would I do with it that I couldn’t do with my point-and-shoot?? So I talked myself out of it every time I walked by them, but I still wished that one would magically appear in front of me.

Then it did.

My boyfriend in 2011 had watched me carry my point-and-shoot around, capturing photos, taking it with me on our vacations, and listened to me pine for a camera I didn’t want to pay for. So, for Christmas, he made my wish come true, and bought me a Canon Rebel T3i (and an air popcorn popper and a fancy calligraphy pen, but those aren’t important).

Overjoyed! I took the camera and the 18-55mm lens in to our spare room/office and read up on how to use it and started practicing on my cats.

And I was blown away by the results. So that’s how you get that fuzzy background?! That was something I couldn’t do with my point-and-shoot. Not to mention switching the lens out for something with more zoom or less zoom. I could change the color profiles and the focus point…it was blowing my mind!

I took that camera everywhere with me for some time. I went hiking and I took it with me. I went downtown and I took it with me. Hanging out at home? It was with me. Going on vacation? It definitely went with me.

I was still using the Auto Modes, though. I hadn’t learned how to use any of the manual modes. It wasn’t easy to use and I didn’t want to lose a moment just because I couldn’t figure out my settings quick enough. So I continued to use the auto modes. Someone at a retreat once tried to teach me how to use the manual settings, but it all seemed like mumbo jumbo and I quickly forgot what he had said.

The camera didn’t venture around with me quite as much as the little point-and-shoots did, merely due to the bulk of its body. I pulled it out on occasion throughout the years to take photos of the family, on vacation in Thailand (where I managed to get sand in the stock lens), or to attempt to capture a meteor shower (with very little success).

It probably would have stayed that way, if it weren’t for my good friend (who I refer to as my soul sister) asking if I would be interested in photographing her sister-in-laws wedding in 2018.



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