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My Camera #2

Ixora - Fuji Velvia

I bought a camera.
The idea just come with web page I planned to build for my company.
It became clear that I want to put some original images (not snatched from others) on my web page.
After browsing around web sites about camera and photos, I decided to buy Nikon FM2 - full manual.  Actually I wanted F2 or F3 but it is heavier and more expensive, above all it looks too much professional.
I have a rule; I don't possess the very best one for my hobby.
The first benefit is, I can blame the material when I cannot do very good.  
Then I checked around the place where I can buy good second-hand camera at reasonable price and found second-hand camera market at Yawarat (Chinatown).
You can find more than thousand cameras there.  All used.  All through the narrow side walk (barely 1 meter wide), more than 30 camera vendors jammed like you see at Namdaemoon market early in the morning.  You may not believe it.  I will take a picture of the place next time I visit there.
The body costed 10,000 Baht.  With Zoom lens (I have never owned zoom before) 35-105mm F3.5/4.5 Nikon at 7,000 Baht.
(1 Baht is around 30Korean won, 1 US$ can change 37Baht in this month).
My rule is Travel Light.  Thus I don't want to drag big camera bags everywhere.  I believe its a sort of stupid thing to carry so many equipment which you never use.
To make myself more prepared, I got a tripod - Slik 9000 (Baht 1700 - Brand NEW!)

I think there are two groups of amateur photographers.
One is (the bigger group) easy sales target of camera manufacturer.
These people just likes precise machine.  They love to own camera than use it.  Like many of audio mania who spends fortune to buy amplifier and speakers (which only suitable for music hall) and play music like "Dolawayo Busanhang ae" or "Tokjaemotleue" etc.
The other group is enjoys the result what the equipment and himself (herself) did with camera.  These guys at least enjoy the color of their work which occupies only 10% of the frame. 
If amateur make a great picture, its a rare luck.
Because, if you are not VERY rich, you cannot take picture as many as you like to.
Also, your family is watching the picture over your shoulder.
So you should show them you are not wasting too much money for trial and error.
I recommend stay not-married if you want have freedom to waste money doing stupid (and unproductive) things like photographs.

Pros works at there studio thus they have plenty of chances to hide away or destroy some embarrassing result they and their camera made.  They even charge the rubbishes to their customer.
Using slide film has great benefit for amateur like me.  You can hide it easily than negatives.  Also it makes nicer color.

Anyway, I was so proud of my new purchase.  The first try with the camera is on the trip to Petchaburi.  
Pictures comes quite nice (comparing to the ones from point & shoot camera) but it lacks some excitement like pictures on the magazine.
Thus I start to try slide film (Kodak Elitechrome 100) though the trip to Buriram.
Its great with deep saturation of colors.
Later I got Fuji Velvia (ISO50) and fell in love with it.  You can see pictures taken with the film at my tropical garden.

Then I found a nice article about approach to photographs with 35mm SLR camera.  It enlightened me of 50mm normal lens of its necessity.
I went to the place again and bought Nikon 50mm F1.4 at Bht 2000.
Its greatly useful with its brightness.  I felt like I can take picture anytime with the lens.   Soon, I left the zoom lens in my small camera bag most of the time.
The advantage of zoom is just some freedom in focal length.  But you have much more freedom with brighter lens with its capability handling lights.  It also gave freedom from Tripod too.

Weeks later, I stopped by camera shop (nicer one in downtown) to check the price of 20mm lens (to take some pictures of office).
And found Nikon 50mm F1.2 in perfect condition.
I bartered my two lens (zoom & normal F1.4) to this baby.
Like some precise stone, I just enjoy watching wide and deep glare of the lens.
Now I know why the group of amateur eagerly spend money for things like this.
So, my bag is lighter now.
I also learned no lens is perfect.  My lens also have vignette when its opened widest and I found tripod gives more freedom even though it takes away some physical freedom.

I am on my personal project - posting tropical flowers on my web pages as well as some writings about my trips.
The projects helps me to stay more oriented with my photos and give reason to wakeup early on Sunday morning.
I really want to take pictures like Henri Cartier-Bresson.  But after a few heart breaks with Black & White pictures printed by a shop nearby, I postponed the dream until I can make my own dark room at home.

Hope you get some idea about my way of photographs.
Any comment will be great help to me.
Thanks for reading.


"Manufactured or staged photography does not concern me. And if I make a judgment it can only be on a psychological or sociological level. There are those who take photographs arranged beforehand and those who go out to discover the image and seize it. For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which --- in visual terms --- questions and decides simultaneously. In order to give a meaning to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what he frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression. One must always take photos with the greatest respect for the subject and for oneself.
To take photographs is to hold one's breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.
To take photographs means to recognize - simultaneously and within a fraction of a second - both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one's head, one's eye and one's heart on the same axis.
As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one's own originality. It is a way of life."

- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Bamboo (Fuji Velvia)
Phamnom Rung - see Trip to Buriram
Statue at Jim Thompson Museum
Column at Phimai
Container on flatcar
Baby monk
Nagar at Phanom Rung

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