How I got into photography / by Marcus Burtenshaw

I still have the first camera I ever used,  a Praktica L,  with a Prinzflex 35mm f2.8 lens. My father gave it to me when I started university. That camera is as about as old as i am and just like me it's seen better days, but it still holds a special place in my heart.  

IIt usually sits in pride of place on a shelf above my monitor, looking down at me as I clumsily type away, just as it did in my dorm at university and everywhere else that I have ever lived.

This miniature single lens reflex, manual everything, film camera taught me the importance of shutter speeds and aperture, but I'd be lying if I said I knew what I was doing back when I first had it. The shutter jammed back a way, and since I rediscovered photography just recently, what better time to get old faithful fixed. Parts for these cameras are hard to come by, so it won't be perfect, and there's still a less than even chance that they'll be able to fix it at all, but I really do hope that they can!

Looking back I have always enjoyed photography, and back then I even occasionally took a photo that doesn't make me cringe today, but on reflection whilst they weren't exactly accidents, I probably didn't exactly know what made them pleasing to my eye, but I always tried to take the time to compose a shot I liked.

But it wasn't really until  last year, 2014, that I decided to actually put some real effort into photography.

I had been fishing with friends on the Srinakarin dam in Kanchanaburi and had had a pretty slow day. Luckily I brought along my Olympus Pen EP1 (a digital m4/3rds camera that I had bought soon after the birth of my son), and soon found myself intrigued by the shapes cast by a submerged forest against the horizon of the jungle covered mountains that surround the reservoir. I took a lot of photos those few days, including the one at the start of this post, I got some great feedback but my feelings of pride in that shot are somewhat marred by the fact that it was shot... ehem... on auto mode, a mode I have not used since.

To me getting off auto mode, is when photography evolved into something more than just recording a memory, into more than just a hobby, but a creative release, such as I have never experienced and would not want to imagine my life without.