A former co-worker and friend, Ejay Sta. Maria, introduced me to an online group called PhotoWorldCup2008 on ning.com. Sometime last year Ejay got himself a Canon EOS 400D and has become quite adept with it in the succeeding months. Since then we had not seen much of each other, but another former co-worker had mentioned to him that I was “kinda sorta” into photography, and Ejay told me to join Photoworldcup, even just to look at the other members’ work. It’s also the first time I’ve signed up for a ning.com account. I have since joined, and have received the customary welcome messages from the creators of the group and from Ejay himself.

The minute I saw the other members’ photos I realized that I was still a long way off from being even just their camera bag handler. Since my pictures weren’t anywhere near as good as anything else I’ve seen there I decided to write something on the ning blog instead. This is what I wrote.

What am I doing here?

Cameras have always fascinated me. Even from the time when I was a little girl and my aunt would make me dress up on a Saturday morning so she could take pictures of me in the garden, I learned to smile for her and her Canon. It would take a few weeks for her to use up all the film in her camera, usually 36 shots, and when it was time to get it developed we’d go to this camera store near my grandmother’s dress shop across the Philippine Women’s University on Taft Avenue. It would take another week before we could get the prints.

That was almost 40 years ago. These days cameras don’t have film, they have memory cards. People with cameras don’t have to worry about wasting shots “dahil sayang ang film”, and they see the the results right away, even print them out at home on photopaper. When I was growing up you went to Bob’s for blow-up prints, which you then picked up after a month, mounted or framed, to be hung on the wall in your room. These days you can have your pictures as wallpaper, both on your computer and your house.

Around 20 years ago my aunt, the same one who woke me up on Saturday mornings for pictures, gave me a used Minolta Hi-Matic AF2. The gift came at a time when I could afford to buy film for it, and I also had a friend who taught me how to hold it. I once spent an entire month’s pay on film and development, after having gone through four rolls of Kodak ASA 300 film and going to places like the Guadalupe shrine in Cebu (I was living in Cebu at the time) and various hills and valleys in the province. Most of the albums I amassed during that time are now lost, except for the time when I went to Iligan City the first time, in 1995.

I still have that camera.

These days I share a Kodak CX7330 with my husband. Together we post our pictures on Gaerlan St. Although limited in its capabilities, the CX7330 has served us well since mid-2004. Most of the time I keep it in my knapsack when I go to and from work. It has archived almost all of our family occasions, and has saved a bus driver and his conductor from a crooked suspicious motorcycle cop preying on vehicles at that dark corner of EDSA and Roxas Blvd., near the Toyota Showroom.

I have been dreaming of getting a Nikon D60, but unfortunately our current finances will not allow me to purchase one as of yet. Maybe one day things will get better and I may manage to get one. But until then I will be busy finding out everything I can about how to take good pictures. I also plan to have a lot of fun doing so.

Hello Ning

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