Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Entry 01: The Beginning

I want to say my Canon experience began on May 28, 2010. That’s when my Canon EOS Rebel XS DSLR arrived. I was a happy man that day. I carefully opened the box and laid out the items for examination – like I was still in the Army and my camera was standing inspection. I was tickled pink because I had wanted a DSLR Canon for a long time and finally got it. It was my first step to my ultimate goal of owning a Mark Series Canon and making my livelihood as a full time photographer. I couldn’t wait for the battery to charge so I could start taking photos of anything. And when it was ready, I took photos of anything just to try the camera out. That’s the beauty of digital (and its downfall); you can shoot forever and just delete the garbage (usually most of what you shoot when you shoot that way). Good thing I took a photography class the semester before that taught me to rein in my urge to lock the camera on auto fire and shoot away like I had squad automatic weapon (SAW) and bad guys were coming over the hill. But I stilled fired away (in semi automatic mode) just to “feel” what it was like using a Canon DSLR. Man! I was stoked about this camera. And I still am.

But my Rebel XS was not the beginning of my Canon journey

My Canon journey actually began with my Canon PowerShot A60 back in Dec 2003. I was in Iraq and bought the A60 in the Post Exchange (PX). I had a point and shoot 35mm film camera I had been using for a few years but it broke on me (the environment is a bit harsh) and I needed a new camera. The PX was out of film cameras so I decided to get a digital camera because I took a lot of pictures of everything. The conditions in country were such that Saddam Hussein had just been found and IEDs were getting worse. And I had just been reassigned from one company to another – my old company was due to rotate back to the US. I wasn’t leaving anytime soon.

I spent a lot of time on the road because of my job. I was a platoon sergeant of a mobile telecommunications platoon that was spread out across the country of Iraq in support of various commands. I brought them mail, changed out soldiers, changed out equipment, and managed their logistical needs as best I could due to being so dispersed. Because I had spent a lot of time in country already and had been on an extraordinary amount of convoys, I had the dubious distinction of knowing how to get to many locations (without incident in an incident plagued environment) off the top of my head. I was a perfect “guide”. I also became pretty good at “drive by” photography.
I still do it today.

Drive by photography is just as it sounds – you shoot pictures as you drive. Yes, it’s probably as dangerous as texting and driving but I’m a bit beyond the novice level. No excuses, don’t try this at home (or in your car). It is dangerous and I will probably get a ticket some day for doing it but I have gotten some pretty good photos doing it though. Keep in mind, I began my adventures with drive by photography with a film camera – no looking at a screen to see if you framed it well enough – you just have to get the angles right and hope that you got the shot until your pictures come back from being developed. For the shots that came out well you had to recall what you did to make it work. Along with that, you had a lot of other things to be cognizant of as you drove in the streets of Baghdad or on the highways connecting Iraq’s major cities. Did I mention that bad guys were trying to blow us up all of the time? Well, that’s where my Canon story begins, Iraq in December 2003.

Let me pause here and leave you with one of my favorite shots from my time in Iraq - the best pair of hummers in country at the time.

And one of my favorite Canon Rebel XS DSLR shots - my youngest fixed on Nick Jr.