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.