KEN AND HIS CAMERA

A bit over a year ago, as I approached the age of 80, I started thinking that maybe the 35 or 40 pounds of photographic equipment that I was carrying in my back-pack on each trip was getting to be a serious burden.  A few years earlier I had evolved from a medium format camera user to become a large format photographer, which meant that I carried a 4 x 5 Chamonix field camera, an assortment of five lenses each in a cloth bag, a dark cloth, spot meter, loupe magnifier, a quantity of loaded film holders, an assortment of filters, a lens blower and my carbon fiber tripod.  Three or four miles of hiking with this full backpack was becoming my limit for a photography hike.

On longer trips I've enjoyed hiring a "sherpa" to carry my pack.  One of my favorite sherpas was a member of the Zuni Tribe named Zachary.  After a day or two of hiking in the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico, Zach knew which lens to hand me as well as which filter I needed.  I guess by now you figured out that I am a film photographer.

I've noticed in the last few years that it is no longer possible to find a photography work-shop exclusively for film photographers.  Years ago, John Sexton did film based work-shops.  I enrolled in several of his.  Now,all of his workshops are for both film and digital photographers.  Recently, I attended a workshop on the Oregon coast with Don Kirby and Stu Levy.  It blew my mind that even Don Kirby is photographing with a digital camera and he is touting the benefits of digital.

So I bought a digital camera, and after a month or so I ended up giving it away to my daughter.  I'll stick with film, thank you very much.  I made a decision that I am a film photographer and if I have to hire more sherpas or take shorter trips, so be it.

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