Fotoeins Fotopress

One photo at a time – one journey to last a lifetime

Posts from the ‘Camera Gear’ category

The 75000 most important clicks with my camera

The setup

For the seventh time, I’ve “flipped” or “rolled over” the four-digit image-counter on my camera. I’ve made over 70-thousand exposures, which is a great accomplishment for both camera and me. Unfortunately, exposure number 75000 will prove to be a bad omen.

I own a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi), an entry-level digital crop-sensor camera which was introduced to the consumer market in the first-quarter of 2008.

The camera has no weather-proofing, poor to average low-light capability, and a small burst-rate, but the camera is affordable, portable, and easy to use. The kit-lens doesn’t have great build-quality, but the lens is lightweight with a decent range in focal lengths for my kind of photography.

The camera is dead! Long live the camera!

It’s early August 2013, and I’m in the Czech capital city of Prague. I’m standing in front of the Television Tower in the Zizkov neighbourhood.

I’m wearing a confused frown, because the photos are coming out vignetted. I realize quickly the metal leaves which make up the shutter have gone loose, and aren’t opening and closing properly: something like this.

The dreaded error message “Err 99″ pops up on the camera display. I turn the power off and on, and press the shutter button. “Err 99″ persists, and there’s a new grinding “whirring” noise inside the camera.

Just a couple of days ago, I’ve reached the milestone of exposure number 75000. But apparently, I’ve now reached the end: after 5 years and 2 months, my camera has stopped working.

Why so many clicks? What’s the point?

Some have asked: “Why did you take so many exposures? If you took fewer photos, your camera could’ve lasted longer!”

These questions miss the point of owning a camera.

Making so many exposures is how I got used to the camera. I wouldn’t have to think about what to do, or to figure out what button was where. After frequent use and learning the “manual” functions of my camera, shooting became almost “automatic.” When the moment came, it took a few quick movements to fiddle with the camera settings with “finger-memory” to make the shot.

How does one become good with their camera?

Go out and make lots of photos. Learn, use, and memorize the camera functions. Work on small projects to photograph to get better: explore, screw up and fail spectacularly. Learn, improve, repeat.

Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more, so that getting the shot is first nature, and making the shot is second nature.

That’s also what David duChemin describes in “Towards Mastery. Again”, about becoming proficient with your own camera gear, whatever gear you might have.

Exit stage right …

The broken shutter assembly needs replacing, and judging by what I’ve read online, the cost of parts and labour is equivalent to a significant fraction of the price for a new camera or a new piece of glass. The shutter isn’t worth replacing.

So, what’s next? I have no intention on going back to a crop-sensor, so future conversations will involve the phrases “full-frame” and “better low-light performance.”

Goodbye, 450D: you’ve been a trusty servant and guide on my photographic journey.

To celebrate and mourn its passing, here are the first and last photos I made with the 450D.

Waikoloa Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

One of the first photos: Waikoloa Beach, Big Island – Hawaii, 19 May 2008.

Zizkov TV Tower, Prague, Czech Republic

One of the last: Žižkov TV Tower with “Miminka” (“Babies”, by David Černý) – Prague, 4 Aug 2013.
What are some experiences with your camera? What did you do when your camera broke? Please leave your impressions and (sob-) stories below!

PostScript: The autofocus ring on the “original” EF-S 18-55mm IS kit-lens failed while I was about to visit New Zealand’s Milford Sound. I purchased a replacement EF-S 18-55mm IS II lens weeks later in Sydney, Australia. This type of lens cannot be used on a full-frame camera. Fortunately, that latter lens now has a warm and loving home with fellow Canadian and traveler Kate Clarke.

This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

75000th photo in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

3 August 2013.

With the weeklong travel-writing course in Prague completed, my new friends and I embark on a daytrip from the Czech capital city to Kutná Hora, some 70 kilometres to the southeast; here’s how we planned and made the trip by train.

I’m pleased and relieved my five-year old Canon EOS450D (XSi) camera continues to “hang on” during my return visit to the Czech Republic. I keep “flipping” or “rolling over” the four-digit image number counter; I’m in the tens of thousands, undoubtedly a big number for camera exposures or shots.

The “kostnice” or Ossuary, also known as the “Bone Church”, in Kutná Hora is all at once a surreal, unsettling, and fascinating experience. With ossuary defined as “a container, space, or room into which bones of dead people are placed where available burial space is scarce”, bone heaps from an estimated 40,000 skeletons were put into methodical use as ornaments inside the church. The decorative arrangement of bones began in the 16th-century, and what appears now has been in place since the end of the 19th-century. Moreover, a document from their information office states:

” … it (this place) is not a celebration of death, but it symbolizes the equality of people in front of the throne of God.”

While the following photographs mark an impressive milestone of the 75000th exposure on a single camera, I have to think the images are an ominous prediction about how little time my camera has left.

Kostnice, kostnice Sedlec, Ossuary, Beinhaus, Bone Church, Kutna Hora

Kostnice, kostnice Sedlec, Ossuary, Beinhaus, Bone Church, Kutna Hora

Previous rollovers :

•   15000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Berlin, Germany
•   25000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Vancouver, Canada
•   50000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Berlin, Germany
•   60000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Vancouver, Canada
•   70000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Sydney, Australia

I made the photos above on 3 August 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

70000th photo (part 2), Sydney Opera House

Yes, you read that correctly … part 2.

I made a mistake.

I wrote previously about “flipping” or resetting the image-number counter on my camera for the 7th time as I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

I was wrong and I’d been too hasty when I began writing. I’d read the image numbers incorrectly, and I’d overlooked the image numbers (67000!).

But it wasn’t long until zeroes were back on the camera display and the actual 70000th exposure was made on the Canon 450D/XSi.

For a few evenings after opening night, I’d visited and photographed various displays at the VIVID Sydney festival of lights around Sydney Cove, Walsh Bay, and Darling Harbour. Midweek is a good time with fewer people around for plenty of space at the best spots to photograph the sights. I chose a Wednesday evening to focus on the Opera House. The photos below form a part of the sequence called “PLAY” by the Spinifex Group who have additional projections at the festival.

MIRROR by The Spinifex Group, Opera House, VIVID Sydney, AustraliaMIRROR by The Spinifex Group, Opera House, VIVID Sydney, Australia

 
 

Previous rollovers :

•   15000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Berlin, Germany
•   25000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Vancouver, Canada
•   50000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Berlin, Germany
•   60000th photo with the 450D/XSi, in Vancouver, Canada

I made the photos above on 29 May 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

70000th photo, at the MCA in Sydney

I’m making good progress with my five-year old Canon EOS450D camera.

As I continue to click away, I’m aware of the grind on both camera and lens(es). But with some luck and care, I’ve flipped the “number counter” on my camera a seventh time with over 70000 exposures to date.

I headed out to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Australia in Sydney to visit the “JEFF WALL Photographs” exhibition. Jeff Wall is also from my hometown of Vancouver, Canada, and while I was in Vancouver earlier this year, I’d seen a number of his photos on display in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s collection. With the exhibition in Sydney, the opportunity arose for a coherent perspective of his work.

The following is one of my favourite Jeff Wall pieces, called “A sudden gust of wind (after Hokusai)”, which is on loan from the Tate London for the MCA exhibition. Wall’s work is based on a Japanese woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai, Ejiri in Suruga Province (Sunshû Ejiri), AC 1830-33, housed at the British Museum.

Jeff Wall: Photographs exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney

Photo of a photo: “A sudden gust of wind (after Hokusai)”, by Jeff Wall, 1993.

Beautifully constructed and a wonderful homage to Hokusai’s original, Wall’s photograph is presently mounted in one of the last rooms of the exhibition; so, there’s plenty of room for people to wander into the space and to admire the scale and movement of the photograph. With that in mind, I stood towards the back of the room, and I began photographing people standing in front of the photograph. It didn’t take long to find two people standing in the right place and leaning towards each other in conversation, the visitors providing complementary well-timed superposition with the photograph.

Jeff Wall: Photographs exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney

Quiet discourse by visitors, and quietly, my 70000th exposure. At least his hat’s still on …

The “JEFF WALL Photographs” exhibition is free of charge at the MCA Australia from 1 May to 28 July 2013. The MCA Australia can be reached with CityRail to Circular Quay station or with Sydney Ferries to Circular Quay Ferry Wharf.

PostScript: after posting, I realized I made a dumb mistake with counting; what’s discussed above is the 67000th click. The actual “rollover” occurred a few weeks later with the following set of photographs at the VIVID Sydney festival.

Previous rollovers :
•   15000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Berlin, Germany
•   25000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Vancouver, Canada
•   50000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Berlin, Germany
•   60000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Vancouver, Canada

I made the photos above on 5 May 2013 with the 450D along with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

Toppling 60000 photos at home in Vancouver

Throughout 2012, I traveled around the world (RTW), where I managed to make the 25000th exposure here in Vancouver in January, and 50000th exposure in Berlin, Germany in October. Thankfully, my 5-year old entry-level digital-SLR camera survived the trip, and is still delivering decent photographs.

Given the number of photos I continued to make, I knew I’d flip the “number counter” once again when I completed my RTW and returned to Vancouver. Sure enough, I turned the counter over for the 6th time in under 5 years.

I returned to the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), world famous for their collection and archive of cultural art, sculptures, and monuments from First Nations’ peoples along the Canadian west coast. With my previous visit to the MOA taking place over 20 years ago, my return was a happy one. The visit itself will be the subject of another post, as I highlight here the 60,000th photo, one of the “Haida House exhibit”.

Haida House exhibit, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

The accompanying caption reads:

The two Haida houses reconstructed here on the grounds of the museum were probably the first of their kind to be built in the 20th century. The larger house represents a family dwelling and the smaller one a mortuary chamber. Both demonstrate the traditional Haida post-and-beam architecture.

These houses were designed by John Smyly and constructed by John Barnes of the University’s (UBC) Physical Plant, under the direction of Haida artist Bill Reid. The work took 3.5 years, from late 1958 to early 1962. The houses and poles were first installed at Totem Park on the west end of the University campus, and were relocated to the grounds of the Museum of Anthropology in 1978. The big house is equiped with a fire pit and lighting so that it can be used for workshops, receptions, and theatrical performances.

The house poles and three of the four free standing Haida poles were carved between 1958 and 1962 by Bill Reid with the assistance of Douglas Crammer, of the Nimpkish Kwakwak’wakw (Kwagiutl) band of Alert Bay. The fourth free standing pole, a copy of the Masset house frontal pole, was carved by Jim M. Hart, a Masset Haida, under Reid’s guidance. It was completed and ceremonially installed in 1962.

Previous rollovers :
•   15000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Berlin, Germany
•   25000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Vancouver, Canada
•   50000th photo with the 450D/XSi in Berlin, Germany

… I might be wrong, but there seems to be a distinct pattern … or?

I made the photo above on 30 January 2013, and this post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

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