I've Always Been This Way

I was thinking about something I said on the last podcast. When I was talking about mirrorless cameras, it dawned on me that many of us have loved this form factor for a long time.

Even when I was a kid, I wanted to travel light. At 17 years old I had the opportunity to play basketball in Europe for team U.S.A. It was a junior Olympic tour. We don't really have that sort of thing here, but other countries do. So we put together teams and go play. I was a backup forward.

We stayed at military bases, presumedly to keep costs down. This was quite an experience for a 17 year old high school senior. I mean, those guys were tough. More than once I had the law laid down to me by a resident soldier.

One of the benefits, however, was having access to the PX on each base. We could buy anything we wanted as the lowest price listed. My parents gave me money to buy a camera. Mine had just been stolen from my oxidized blue 1961 VW bug.

I spent days pondering my investment. So many beautiful cameras on display in glass cases. I settled on a black Yashica Electro 35 rangefinder. It was stunning. It had a fast f/1.7 45mm lens that I operated in aperture priority mode. I loved it. And I immediately explored the cobbled streets of Heidelberg with it.

When I returned home to show off my prize, many were surprised that I didn't purchase a Nikon or Canon DSLR. "What a missed opportunity!" they exclaimed. "You could buy any camera that you wanted, and you brought home this?"

At first these remarks bothered me. But then, I'd grab the Yashica, find an old alley, and go take pictures. Those criticisms instantly melted away.

A few years later, some awful person stole that camera from my dorm room while I was attending college. They didn't deserve it. For them, it was just a few dollars from a pawn shop.

For me, it was an awakening, the start of something wonderful that continues to this day.