Photography Book

I believe this is some sort of record… 9 years to read one book. In my defense, it was lost for quite awhile, packed in a box in a storage unit. Extreme Digital Photography by Johnathan Chester. I still remember finding this book, not too long after I got my first digital camera. The book is about photography under harsh conditions such as weather, natural disasters and adventures in amazing places. I remember I was so excited, the pictures were magnificent, the stories fascinating and the information critical, or so I thought.

I started reading the book, and for reasons I can no longer recall, put it aside to put out all the fires that began cropping up in my life. Eventually we prepared for the move to the mountains by renting a storage unit and the book ended up in the aforementioned box which I then lost track of in the move. Years later I found the box and safeguarded it along with some boxes of important film and prints from the 90’s. Then of course came Tricia’s illness which allowed zero time for concentration on a book. Finally, after all these years, I am in the same place at the same time as the book with time to read it.

The book still feels good in my hands, the excitement to learn new things still smoldering and the pictures still magnificent. The information unfortunately is a bit dated. New cameras and chips are a good part of the discussion in the book, but at the time my Canon 10D was cutting edge. Two megabyte chips were out, but not all cameras could accommodate such awesome storage. Six megapixel cameras were the new standard, unless of course you were a real pro and could fork out the $7000 for the eleven megapixel pro model. Only one year earlier I had to pay $600.00 for a half a megabyte high speed chip.

Elk Herd
Elk Herd

Now of course very affordable DLSR cameras are in the twenty megapixel range. A thirty gigabyte high speed chip is only $30 or so and I just purchased a terabyte backup disk for only $40. It is breathtaking to consider how things have changed in a decade. The book recommends bringing along a film camera and one hundred rolls of film as a backup…  It might be difficult to even find one hundred rolls of film these days, who knows, I haven’t bought film in in a decade.

However, many subjects in the book are as relevant today as they were nine years ago. Electronics are still vulnerable to the elements as are our frail human bodies. Lenses still struggle in extreme temperatures as do batteries and backup equipment. The images captured by the writer are as awesome today as they were a decade ago, and I’m excited that I am finally getting the chance to read the book. Oh… one other thing… now in order to read the book I had to make a trip to the Dollar Store for some reading glasses so I could actually see the text…

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