Click!

I really don’t know when I started my fascination with cameras, or taking pictures for that matter. Maybe it started when I began to realize how beautiful it was to capture the colors of the clouds during a sunset I once saw when I was nine in America. Or maybe when I realized that my dad always brings his old SLR everytime we go somewhere, and patiently takes pictures of us. Or maybe it all started when I became accustomed to going to this specific camera shop at SM North because my dad always has his pictures developed there when we go to the mall. I really can’t remember…

But I do remember my very own camera. It was a 110mm point and shoot I bought in the US. Yes, I was 10 and I had $5 from my tita and the camera was pegged at $4.99, an irresistable offer I thought…so I bought it. I remember how it looked, it was black, rectangular, about an inch thick and 7 inches wide. It’s film was this odd looking 110 mm film (a predecessor of the much popular 35mm film we use today).

I remember the first pictures I took. It was of the Statue of Liberty while we were riding a ferry going there. I also had my dad take a picture of me and my sister Mela in that same ferry. I took pictures of my dad, mom, and ate mimi at the base of the Miss Liberty. I took pictures of the New York skyline during daytime. I took pictures of everything, the sea, the backyard of my tita’s house, the streets of New Jersey, my pillows…everything, until I eventually ran out of film.

In about 24 shots I took, only 12 would get developed. Hehe. Not bad for a beginner.

My first camera didn’t have a flash…nor did my second one. My second camera was still a point-and-shoot, but this time, it was a 35mm camera. My mom bought my brother and me each a camera. It had no zoom, just a lens, a view-finder. It was colored blue, with the Looney Tunes characters printed on the casing. It was simple, plain and just right for me. I used this camera for 3 years, with prestine, worth-remembering moments captured.

But of course, I wanted more. (who wouldn’t?)

When I joined the UP Cherubim and Seraphim, the official chidren’s choir of UP, we were still receiving annual honorariums from UP. When I first got my sweldo-like money, guess what I did? I bought my own camera. Yes. It was a Kodak KB10. I was in Grade 5. I didn’t even tell my parents that I was going to buy a camera. When I arrived home when we received the money, I went straight to the Koadak store near our house to buy the camera. Impulsive buying? Nope. I was planning to buy that camera for months until the honorarium came and alas…bliss.๐Ÿ˜€

Memories of my Grades 5 & 6 and the early years of my highschool were all recorded by my handy-dandy cam. Every fieldtrip, any event at school, or even simple musings by my classmates, all captured on film. My KB10 was my baby then, it was mine.

In highschool, my need for the clicks & flashes subsided. Maybe because of the hectic schedules I had, or the tiresome effort of bringing my camera to school, adding to the bulk of school stuff in my bag…and not using the camera because everyone’s too busy to pose (and I’m too busy to shoot).

And I, being a camera junkie for all my life…who’d always been volunteering to take the shots of my family using my dad’s SLR when there’s a family gettogether…me…always behind the camera, realized that I also wanted to be in front of the cam. I wanted my pictures taken, I wanted to smile often, pose and project. I was a camera person…and I am.

So I stopped bringing my over-used camera during fieldtrips and I started to depend of other souls who’re brave enought to be the official unofficial camera guy/girl of the fieldtrip. Lots and lots of pictures of me and my friends were then developed…and not a single one came from my own. I finally shelved my KB10…and it moved down and down and down, until it reached the drawer under my bed. It was broken anyways…

Time flew fast and Grade 10 (4th year HS) finally came. I started to notice that a classmate of mine always brings his digital cam to school and takes pictures of everyone and documents every event. He was a member of the school paper then and so I thought it was part of his job.

Well, it was, until I talked to him about his camera. We had a nice talk about taking pictures and stuff and his undying passion of taking pictures. Then suddenly I finally realized how I miss being a camera junkie after all. We talked about aperture, shutter speed, perspective, white balance, how to adjust the depth of field, developing pictures…it was like talking to my dad, him teaching me how to use his SLR once again. So I decided, yes. I’m re-pursuing my dream of being a photographer. (Yeah raytttt…)

Sembreak came and I was picked to be one of the UPIS representatives to CMLI, an inter-school convention at Baguio. There were contest there, and I was chosen to compete for the quiz bee type thing (trivial stuff yung mga tanong..ehehe…). It was a 7 day event, and my contest was scheduled on the early part of the convention. My partner and I actually won! Hehe. De…finalist lang, but still, we bested like 40 other schools and belonged to the top 10. (Sabit kami actually…hehe.) So there, my “event” was done even before the other events started.

Then, an announcement came, there was a phtography contest after all. When I heard it, I ran straight to our quarters and told our adviser that I would like to join…but I only have my point-and-shoot camera with me. Good thing one of our advisers brought his SLR! Yeah. So I signed up and I was set.

The contest rules were simple, you should first attend a photography workshop at the convention then shoot your heart away and submit your films for developing at a certain deadline. I had a whole roll of 24’s loaded in the cam of our adviser so I had to conserve the shots. This was my first ever contest…since I was a child. I never competed in my entire life…and never won a medal whatsoever. This was all new for me, and I didn’t know what to do.

When my other co-contestants were busy clicking on trees, flowers, bees, and sand…I chanced upon these two girls, about 2-years old. They were fighting, regular children fights. But after a while, the othe child held the hand of the other and brought her to a bush and motioned to the other girl to smell the yellow flower. The other girl complied and smelled, and the one who brought her there smiled and clapped. The bitter enemies moments ago were friends once again. And while these were all happening, I was meticulously clicking my heart out.

Click click click!

There were at least 10 photos of them, from their fight to the smelling of the flowers. What I submitted was the one where the girl was clapping whil the other one was smelling. And I won, first prize! Hehe.๐Ÿ˜€ That was my very first medal, my very first contest…and I didn’t even plan to join that contest. OK ba yun?

After that experience, I once again tried to regain my photography skills. I reread my photography books, I surfed the net for some tips…I cleaned my dad’s old SLR and re-learnt everything he taught me when I was a child. I even became the official photographer of my family. I brought the SLR to school hoping that I’d chance upon a photo-worthy moment. I was also asked to become the photographer of our school paper along with my classmate, but I guess my workloads too much so I declined the offer. I was chosen to represent my school again for the Division School PressCon for Filipino photography, but I lost. Hehe. Ok lang…I was just beginning noh.

I did produce some decent photographs, especially when I was in Baguio. The rest of the film contained the photographs of the two girls, some nature shit, and a whole lot of night shots (good thing no Baguio moomoo came out on the photographs…hehehe). When Graduation came, I was still being hard-headed about my photography frustration…I brought a camera in our graduation when it has been condemed to do so just to preserve the solemnity of the program. So I had to make do with flashless pics. But they came out good…just right for the yearbook (which I headed also).๐Ÿ™‚

It was not until Summer 2003 came when my dad bought us a digital cam. Alas, multitudes of pictures without ever thinking of running out of film. Camera whoring, picture stealing, everything. I became more flexible with my pictures when I used this cam, and I can also edit them on the pc!

But as college days became grueling, tiresome days…there were of course less time to pursue photography. So again, I quit. And made my ate pursue it na lang for me. She and her boyfriend bought a digital SLR, and now they’re real photographers! What I thought was only on me, also ran in the family. hehe. Even my brother took VisCom for his elective in highschool and my sister mela has yet to prove her prowess behind the camera.

I still take pictures once in a while, when I have time. Hopefull I’ll fin the time in med school. But in the immediate future, I still hope that my passion for photography wouldn’t fade. It’s one of the outlets of my artistic side (if there’s any) and one of my greatest achievements lie there. I love photography! I love the thrill of capturing the perfect moment — the photo-worthy fragment in time.

When I grow up, I promise that I’d buy my own digital SLR, like any other dad. I’d take pictures of my family outings, get-togethers, my wife, my children, my children’s school events. I’d take pictures of everyone and everything! Sigh…that would be very nice — and would be another good story about the camera and me.

ps. visit my newest phot gallery at http://rald.fotopic.net

thanks!