Technology has made a huge difference to photography as a hobby. Today anyone can claim to be a photographer. You not only can capture interesting moments in your life on your mobiles but also instantly share the same with your near & dear ones spread across the world through `Whats App` : the latest fad being taking `selfies` on mobiles.
My mind goes back to the time when I would click black & white pictures using a `Gevabox` camera presented to me by my uncle. I shot these pictures on 120 mm square format. The film rolls had 12 exposures. After clicking every picture I had to move the film forward using a lever provided in the camera. When the roll got fully exposed , I had to remove it from the camera and load a new roll to carry on shooting. It was not unusual to find the film getting stuck in the camera and I had to use force to pull it out damaging the roll and some shots. I would have no idea of how the shots had come out until the rolls were` `developed`: first as negatives and later as prints from negatives.
I was a regular customer of Harish at Zenith Photo Studio in Matunga, Mumbai, who always developed & printed the pictures taken by me. Waiting for Harish to tell me the results of my efforts was like waiting for the news of the birth of a baby outside a labour room in a hospital.
Once I started earning, I took up photography as a serious hobby. From black & white to colour, from 120mm to 35mm film rolls, from colour prints to 35mm colour slides, from simple `aim & shoot` cameras to sophisticated SLR cameras- I went through all the phases that any photographer went through those days.
Shooting pictures on 35mm slides and using them in my presentations to clients became a regular feature of my life. I also used my talent to produce scores of A.V presentations promoting the projects of several Round Tables in the country which helped the Clubs raise crores of Rupees as donations for their projects.
I have had some interesting and some nerve racking moments shooting pictures. Like the time I was taking a shot of an `Open Heart surgery` being performed on a 17 years old girl by doctors at the Railway Hospital in Perambur, Chennai. Wearing the mandatory blue uniform and mask and standing on a stool next to the operating table I had to take the action shot. I was scared of falling off the stool. Two room boys were physically holding me in order to prevent me from falling. On another occasion my camera caught the dying moment of a baby girl as doctors were trying to make last ditch efforts to keep her alive. It was a very disturbing experience.
On the lighter side there were many occasions when after shooting a roll of film I would find that the numbers on the counter in the camera had moved forward without the film itself moving. Resulting in an unexposed roll at the end of a painstaking shooting session. Similarly , a fully exposed film roll revealing no pictures when developed was also a possibility!
I stopped indulging in this hobby 10 years ago. I am not complaining because I spend the same time ` writing` which I find equally creative & interesting without being physically taxing.