How it all started...

November 13, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Welcome back … today’s blog is a little departure from my previous posts. As I constantly look for ways to keep the blog fresh and interesting, I’m aware that some of you may want different types of photographic content other than image reviews.

When I first started in photography (MANY moons ago) it was film and slides … no digital. My first camera was a Vivitar 815 110 cartridge film point & shoot.  Remember those?  It had a slide switch that would give you a 24mm and a “zoom” 48mm lens option, such high tech!  Back then, I lived in England and I was a huge motorcycle racing fan. I spent most weekends at various race tracks watching riders such as Sheene, Haslam, Hailwood, Parrish etc, capturing images with my trusty 110.


Vivitar 815 Tele Lens 110 Film Point & Shoot Camera circa 1970's/80's. (Image Supplied)


After one particular weekend in 1980 spent watching Sheene and Mamola, I returned from the local film processing shop and eagerly flipped through the shots I’d taken.  As you’d expect, with a fixed lens point & shoot, the images weren’t going to set the world on fire. I’d learned about panning and with the limitations of the camera and film speed (ISO/ASA), I managed to get acceptable results. As I flipped to the next photograph … WOW!  I’d captured Randy Mamola speeding away from the hairpin at Mallory Park on his RG500 Suzuki perfectly. I remember at that moment thinking If I can get that kind of result with a point & shoot, what could I do with a proper camera?!

So, the next afternoon, keenness and bravado saw me walking into the local Dixons electronics store (kind of a Best Buy of its day) and walking out some while later armed and ready with my first “proper” camera, a 50mm prime and 75-150 zoom lens.


Chinon CM4 Manual 35mm Film SLR Camera (Image Supplied)


The camera was a Chinon CM4. A bare bones, fully manual, Single Lens Reflex … no auto exposure modes ... just manual — a real camera!  I remember it had a really basic but very intuitive exposure display set into the left side of the viewfinder housing. It had a three vertical light metering confirmation system. Top light was red (indicating overexposed), middle was green (indicating correct exposure) and the bottom light was red (indicating under exposed). It was a very simple system that I quickly came to love and it helped me learn more about exposure and how changes to the aperture setting on the lens and/or shutter speeds affected the exposure values.


The exposure display lights can be clearly seen on the left side of the viewfinder window (Image Supplied)


A little while later, I added the newer version of the Chinon camera line to my camera bag … the new semi auto version CE4s, along with a battery grip. This brought on a newer learning curve with aperture/shutter priority modes and a new (to me) visual metering display.

With this new equipment, my photography came on leaps and bounds, with assignments alongside some seasoned pros and a greater emphasis on learning, not just taking pictures. Remember, this is way before YouTube and Wikipedia.  Tips and advice were always welcome and put to good use. I assisted in a wedding and was soon shooting 20-30 weddings per year, all without any advertising.


Chinon CE-4s Semi Automatic 35mm Film SLR camera (Image Supplied)


A chance opportunity to sample a Canon Autofocus SLR film camera had me scrambling to switch out my camera kit. I upgraded to a Canon EOS 650 camera body along with a 50mm, 35-70mm and 75-150mm lens. 


Canon EOS 650 Semi Automatic, Autofocus 35mm Film SLR Camera (Image Supplied)


In 1990, I started freelancing motorsport coverage for two local newspapers. On an assignment to cover a local driver, I was asked by the race team owner to “get some shots for us?  I have some gear with me, you can use it if you want,” he added. I recollect wondering what “gear” he actually had. I remember thinking, “nothing decent I bet.”  Boy was I wrong !!!


In the next edition of the Bourne Images Blog……..

"How it all started...Part 2"......How a great afternoon turned things up a notch in my photography career and the switch to digital photography.



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