Meme: Photography and Pokemon

Before I forget, I should wish Greg a very happy birthday. Yay birthday.

I’ll never forget my first trading card game and my first trade. Back in May 1999, I went with a friend (Jim) to a GameStop. He picked up some boosters and I bought a starter deck plus two booster packs of the Pokemon card game. Opening the packs yielded a holographic Raichu and a Clefairy Doll for the rares. (Of course, I had no idea about rarities at the time, since I had never touched or seen a trading card game before.) This was also at the same time as a Pokemon card game promotional thing or something, because I also had my picture taken with a giant Pikachu card (for me to take home on a floppy disc!).

Jim and I sat down at one of the provided tables to play a game, and I lamented about how I couldn’t play the Raichu because I didn’t have a Pikachu card to evolve it from. One of the younger kids playing nearby apparently overheard and offered to trade me one. He looked through my small stack of cards and asked for the Clefairy Doll. Upon Jim’s advice, I made the trade of my rare for a common. (“That thing only had 10 HP, and the Pikachu has 40 HP. You got a great deal.”)

Fortunately, several years later when we had both learned what rarities (and rarity symbols) were, he traded me a Clefairy Doll for a Pikachu, and all was well. Yay noobness.

But that’s not really what I want to talk about here. Continuing with meme topics from Jess (after quite a hiatus), we have photography.

Photography is one of those things I enjoy doing, and have periods off and on of wanting to do professionally (or, at least, with more dedication that I do now). My first digital camera was a Intel Pocket PC Camera (retailing for $199 at the time) when I was in middle school (late 2000).
My parents were redoing the front yard at the time (removing the palm trees and grass and replacing them with rocks and gravel), and promised me a digital camera if I helped. Of course, being the horrible child I was, I managed to get the camera first, and then proceeded to do nothing to help (except take photos of my parents working on the front yard, which are some of the first digital photos I ever took).

The camera took photos at an amazing 640×480 resolution, more than enough for anyone, and came with an option to switch to 320×240 resolution in case you needed to take more photos (since there weren’t memory card options).

This camera satisfied me only about a year. I got my next camera, a Olympus C3000, my first year of high school (2001). It took amazing (for the time) resolution photos, and had a flash, and was the best thing ever. I actually still have the camera, and it still works, even though the drivers no longer work in Windows XP (or 7) and there is no card reader that can read the SmartMedia cards it takes.

That camera lasted only a couple years (2003), when it started to have issues with exposure metering. (Photos were coming out completely black every so often.) It was quickly replaced with a Kodak Easyshare DX6490 with its amazing 10x optical zoom and even better resolution. Naive me referred to the three steps as a “casual” camera, a “semi-professional” camera, and a “professional” camera. Upon reflection now, it seems horribly stupid of me to think that a point-and-shoot that didn’t even have full manual control could be considered “professional” by any means.

In any case, the Kodak lasted until my Sophomore year of college (2006), when it proceeded to die in a series of unrecoverable errors (the last photos it took were at the fondue party at Wes’ house). It was replaced a week later with a Nikon D50 (with its kit 28-80mm lens) that I shot for the following 3 years (including a series of repairs by a horrible company that didn’t fix it right the first time).

The D50, in turn, was replaced by my current Nikon D90 (in February 2010) after it died in November 1999, which still seems to be in great condition. Overlapping the two is my Samsung SL30, which is a crappy $80 point-and-shoot I picked up just to have an “easy to carry” camera.

So I seem to be in the habit of going through cameras every 2-3 years. This, I suppose, is somewhat expected given how much I abuse and use them (my D50 had over 100,000 shutter releases when it died completely, via the mirror refusing to flip).
There’s a summary of my cameras, which is accurate minus the D90, here.

As for photography in general, I find it to be a good hobby, a good way to remember my life, and a good way to remove some level of awkwardness at large gatherings (using my camera as a shield, which I have previously written about). I don’t think I’m particularly good at it… I just take thousands of photos, which means I’m bound to get one or two good ones out. Most of my shooting is casual snapshots… I used to do more studio shooting when I had access, but in retrospect find the setting too boring and limiting.

I suppose the good thing about taking so many photos all the time is that I often manage to get candid shots of people that you wouldn’t otherwise get. People are so used to me having a camera all the time (and taking their picture all the time) that they’ve stopped noticing. As a photographer, that’s one of the best places to be.

Anyway, photo meme = moar photo. Here’s Chris with the awesome pillows I got from Thailand.

I don’t know what else to write about photography. If you have anything specific you’re curious about, feel free to ask.

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