Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Follow-up: When a camera dies June 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Three of the cameras from a vintage collection of cameras once used by my parents and me.

Three of the cameras from my collection of cameras once used by my parents and/or me.

IF PHOTOGRAPHERS never embraced change, they would still shoot with an old Brownie or a Polaroid or some other camera long ago obsolete.

That said, here’s how I handled the recent death of my Canon EOS 20D. I wrote about the unexpected demise of my DSLR in a late February post. That story generated great discussion and input, some of you encouraging me to challenge myself with a much-upgraded camera. Others suggested I stick with what I knew.

In the end, after trying a Canon 7D and much stress and agonizing over its operation, I purchased a Canon 20D from my friend Lee. It’s exactly like my old one except for the telephoto lens that came with this used camera. Lee was happy to get his unused 20D out of basement storage, thus solving my problem.

I can almost hear the uproar, the outcry, the “Oh, she could take much better photos with a better camera.” True? Perhaps from a technically perfect perspective.

Too much camera for me. For now.

Too much camera for me. For now.

But the bottom line is this: Focusing on the operations of the camera—worrying about f-stops and ISO and shutter speeds—stressed me and took the joy out of my photography. I lost my passion and artistry. Rather, I thought mostly about settings that would assure I had enough light or correct depth of field, or whatever I needed to even take a decent photo. I admire photographers who can handle all of that without flinching.

I suppose in time, I would have learned. You can argue that. I already had the basics down from my days of shooting with film. Just trying to operate the newer 7D, I learned more about the manual options on my 20D. That is the good that came out of this.

I used this camera as a teenage.

I used this camera as a teenage.

But the single thing that this Death of a Camera reinforced for me is that it’s not always about the camera. It’s about how you take photos (perspectives and angles and composition, etc.) and the subjects of your photography and lighting that create memorable images.

Like a writer, a photographer has a voice.

What is my voice? It is, like my writing, down-to-earth detailed and about a sense of place. Rural and small town Minnesota (mostly). Close-up. From a distance. The people who live in this place. I strive to photograph that which others pass but don’t truly see. I strive to connect you, via my photos, to this place I love. To the ordinary, which is often the extraordinary.

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© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
My photos are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. If you are interested in purchasing rights to use my images, please check my “About” page for contact information. I am grateful to the individuals, ad agencies, authors, charities, magazines and others who have found value in my photos and purchased rights to use selected images that meet their needs. 

Most of all, I am grateful to you, my readers, for appreciating my photography.

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22 Responses to “Follow-up: When a camera dies”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    Well said. It reminds me of the old tale of the fiddle and the auctioneer. It was just an old beat up instrument that came up for bid and the silence was ‘deafening’………until, from the floor, came a gentleman who picked up the dusty piece and created the most beautiful music ever heard! A person may be able to purchase the absolute “best” (camera, sewing/quilting machine, etc) and be lacking in the skill and artistry to use that tool to its highest capacity. You, my dear friend, are the gifted artist whose talent takes your chosen instrument(s) to the next level and blesses us with true ‘art’. Thank you……………..and hugs……..

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    You are finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary every single day—just like me. 🙂

  3. I don’t blame you at all in your choice of “new” camera. I have so many bad shots because I don’t know how to properly use my good camera. And I love your camera collection!

  4. You have found what works for you, what presents the images you have in your head, and that’s what matters. Everyone uses creative tools in their own way and with their own threshold for technology, so good for you for knowing what works. What everyone else thinks is irrelevant in this situation. When we thrash around trying to use tools because we think we’re supposed to instead of honoring our more intuitive artist side, that’s a formula for frustration.

  5. Jackie Says:

    I totally support you decision to stay with what you know. I always chuckle when people are admiring a photo I took and say, “oh my, what kind of camera do you use”. I’m my head I’m thinking, “actually it’s not just the camera.. I really do have something to do with how the photo turn out” (you get that right, Audrey) Ha! I’m so glad you were able to find and stick with a camera that you love!!!

  6. Photography, in my humble opinion, is more about the photographer than the camera. We have all seen remarkable photos taken with the old box type cameras with their glass plates and negative exposures, and the like. So therefore, it is not the tool but the craftsman. If you are comfortable with the camera Audrey you’ll take great pictures. Guaranteed.

  7. Sue Ready Says:

    As always I am mesmermized by your gift of writing. These words of yours below simply said covey so much meaning.
    Like a writer, a photographer has a voice.
    What is my voice? It is, like my writing, down-to-earth detailed and about a sense of place. Rural and small town Minnesota (mostly). Close-up. From a distance. The people who live in this place. I strive to photograph that which others pass but don’t truly see. I strive to connect you, via my photos, to this place I love. To the ordinary, which is often the extraordinary.

    Audrey, your photography effectively captures a moment in time that makes the reader feel like they are also experiencing the same moment!

  8. I am happy that you went with a camera that works best for you – enjoy 🙂 Happy Weekend – Enjoy!


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