An Avenue Awaits Every Photographer
Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON
A lot of bloggers have asked me for advice on buying the right camera. I really enjoy questions like this. Which camera is right for you? Well, there is only one way to find out. My advice is always the same - it's a bit like buying a car. First of all you have to decide what category you're looking for, otherwise the choice is simply overwhelming.
Allow me to repeat what I've privately told several bloggers. Which camera are you going to use the most? Macro? Digital point-and-click with multi functions? Digital SLR? Film-based SLR? Digital SLR with multi-function lens? Or a camera with several lenses?
The next part of my answer also addresses a specific question from a blogger who asked why I chose the Pentax K100D, which is a digital SLR (or single-lens reflex). I liked the feel of it, enjoyed the functionality, got a kick out of handling it, and so it became an extension of my soul. I have a single multi-function lens, a Sigma 18-125mm lens, which allows me a wide range of options.
If you want a camera that fits into a handbag or can slip into your pocket, you need a slimline digital and there is a stunning range of these available. If you want more control over what you do with a camera, then I guess you're looking at an SLR.
When it comes to buying a camera, you'll probably have more than a couple of options, even after you've decided what sort of camera you want. So why not rock up at your local camera store and ask if you can test three or four cameras in the store before you make your final choice.
Bear in mind that prices have dropped sharply in the past couple of years and you can get a bells-and-whistles camera for a lot less than you would have paid even eighteen months ago. And when it comes to memory cards - the lifeblood of a digital camera - their prices have fallen through the floor as well. Two years ago I was paying $200 for a one-gigabyte memory card, whereas a two-gigabyte card (depending on the brand) can now be found for $50.
I always have my Pentax slung over my shoulder - which probably enables me to get a couple of great shots every week that I would otherwise have missed. The shot at the top of this post was taken about three weeks ago. I was walking across the street to photograph a rooftop sign, when I had to negotiate this side street in Caulfield South. I looked right to check for traffic - and was gobsmacked by the beauty of the avenue.
I grew up on an avenue, with trees on either side that formed a welcoming archway. That is exactly what I saw in this street as well. The branches looked like a salute from a timber guard of honour, while the green canopy just swept upwards in endless profusion. I included the parked cars in the frame, as well as the grey surface of the street not just for points of reference, but also for contrast.