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Today is Camera Day.

Invented nearly 200 years ago in France, the first still image took nearly half an hour to expose. Fast forward to the modern digital camera, with instant results!

First sold in Japan 32 years ago, a commercial DSLR (digital single lens reflex is a camera with interchangeable lens) sold for $13,000 with 1.3 megapixel (source). Compare that to today’s 12MP iPhone 11.

I first discovered my love of photography at 16. I had a little Kodak 110 instamatic camera that I took to NYC. After the trip, I took my film cartridges to the drug store to be developed, and waited the week for them to come back. There was something magical about that waiting period (if you could stand the impatience).

The joy of reliving the trip.

The thrill of seeing the image.

Later that year I signed up for my grade 11 classes, with an option for Cooperative Education in photography. I got my first real camera, a used Canon AE-1, and  began a new love affair with the darkroom. Developer. Stop Bath,  (if you are nodding then your nose is probably burning too!) and the dreaded reticulation effect.

Out of high school I started my first real job was a photographer with (not in) the Air Force. By this time my dad had been posted overseas and after graduation I was hired at the Base Photo Unit in Lahr, Germany. This was the best learning experience ever. It defined my photo journalistic style.  I bought my first new camera, a Minolta 7000, while I was trained on Nikon and Hasselblad. Any given day I was

  • on the tarmac for a General’s inspection
  • getting called out in the middle of the night by first responders
  • along the boards at a unit hockey game
  • once I was even on the wing of a Herc
  • and every day I was in the darkroom

I returned to Canada for college – Photo Tech.

After returning to Germany, getting married, and being posted to Manitoba, now as an army wife, I worked in photo studios. One doing portraits, the other as a darkroom tech for a wedding studio.

Posted again to Alberta, now with 3 young children, I stayed home for a few years and ran a dayhome. Slowly I started to cultivate a home based photography business focusing on Weddings & Family Moments. At this point the industry was shifting to digital, but I was holding strong to film.

I remember buying my first flip phone, completely based on its 2MP camera.

Then the parenting shift occurred.

Suddenly I was volunteering for the preschool board, the soccer board and the gymnastics board.

Was I crazy?

Best thing I did. Some of those connections are still my best friends today.

This is also where I started the shift to digital, and began the ground work for where I am today!

Volunteering always involved photography. Then I was asked to do newsletters. Then Facebook appeared. I bought a digital camera. Already having a small collection of lens, I stuck with Minolta, buying a Maxxum 7D.

Digital was a whole new beast.

  • SD cards instead of film.
  • Instant replay on the back screen.
  • New light meter.
  • White balance.
  • Histogram (digital meter measuring exposure and colour).
  • No more darkroom.

I went back to school and learned Photoshop and Digital Imaging. The path was laid.

Back in the workforce, jobs were based on shooting community events and posting stories. The local radio station, Chamber of Commerce, and an event services company.

By this time I had a Sony A850 with a beautiful 1.8 135mm Karl Zeiss lens. As any photographer will tell you, good glass is the most expensive part of our kit bag. As cameras evolved, upgrading the body was practical. Sony had taken over Minolta so all my lenses, even the old film ones, had the same bayonet to fit all 3 bodies.

As the kids got older and jobs started to build my network in the community, the photography business shifted away from weddings and into corporate work. A grant allowed me to upgrade my entire DSLR kit. I wanted higher resolution, less noise (grain). Coming full circle, I bought a Nikon D810.

Now posted to Nova Scotia, and my first full time Entrepreneurship.

So today I pause. I reflect on my love affair with my cameras.

The stories they have told.

The family archivist.

The vacation companion.

The carry-on luggage.

The tool of the trade.

Other than my coffee pot, it is the single most used item I own.

The beauty of Camera Day is we can all participate. Get out and shoot. No matter if it is on Manual in the RAW, or with an old iPhone 6s, shoot, shoot shoot!

Pro Tip: Today is Camera Day, but tomorrow is Social Media Day, so be stategic and plan accordingly!