Thirteen Years

Cape Lookout 1997

I made the above photograph thirteen years ago on New Year’s Eve in 1997. It was the same day I got back into photography (after a fourteen year absence – something to do with college and medical school, blah blah , blah). That morning I had bought my first Nikon camera, a N90s, along with two lenses. I had learned about a new film, something called Velvia, to replace my old Kodachrome 64. This was my first roll of it. A roll of film went a long way back then. I’m not sure I used up the roll in half a day of shooting.

That started a tradition of going to the coast on New Year’s weekend. In 1997 I lived in Spokane so that was not a short jaunt. Now it is a 50 mile drive.

Cape Lookout 2011

As far as I can remember, which sometimes isn’t too far these days, yesterday was the first time I’ve been back to Cape Lookout since 1997. Surprisingly little has changed. The sunset was not as dramatic this time, but was enjoyed thoroughly, all the same.

There was some unexpected angst associated with my visit. I passed the picnic area where our family used to picnic here oh so many years ago. My parents would have been in their forties then. Now they are quite old, and the memory of them in their younger years was a bit sad.

Oregon Coast Waterfall

The new photographs were taken with altogether different equipment than in 1997, a Nikon D3 with a 24-70mm lens and Gitzo tripod. Scandisk compact flash card instead of film. One heck of a dusty sensor. Never had that problem with film, but we did have scratched film from the cavemen at the film processing place. I suppose we have made progress, but good images were made back when. That doesn’t change. It’s still about creativity.

Newport Sunset

I can throw in a Velvia shot from 2001 here and you wouldn’t have known the difference. I hope I am a better photographer now. I know I am a better enjoyer now. Maybe we can all work on making every day as joyous as a day at the beach.

I’ve decided that the best way to become successful in photography is to sell me a camera. A guy named Bryan Peterson sold me my first Pentax SLR in 1982 and went on to write some successful photography books that still sell well. He lived in France the last I heard. A very nice, spiky-haired woman named Laurie Excel sold me the Nikon N90s in 1997 and now runs her own photography tours, called Execellent Adventures and has a new photography book out this year. Her hair also became famous in Joe McNally’s occasional “Where is Laurie’s hair?” features on his blog.


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