When I started to learn photography, my high school teacher had us purchase a Pentax K1000 camera and a 50mm lens. Even though that trip to the local photography store was nearly 30 years ago, I still remember that day vividly.
I was so excited to finally have an SLR of my very own after many years of plastic compact point-and-shoot cameras. It was daunting to see all of the dials on that camera, but I was determined to figure out how to use them. I spent countless hours in the darkroom back then, also learning how to prepare chemical baths, use an enlarger and the finer points of dodging and burning.
So, it was with a similar feeling today that I unboxed my first 50mm lens since then. I’d long ago outgrown that K1000, and sadly I don’t even remember where that camera and lens ended up. At some point I was able to buy the next step up in my career with a Minolta X700. Back in 1981, it was the their top-of-the-line manual focus SLR, and I was over the moon to have such a camera.
This week I took advantage of the Nikon lens rebates and purchased their AFS Nikkor 50mm 1.4G lens. My nice UPS driver dropped it off today, and this photo of Peppermint is one of the first I took with it, and, wow, did it bring back fond memories.
Back in my high school days, this was the only lens I owned, and I spent years learning composition and filling yearbooks through this one viewpoint. I decided to return to my roots for a variety of reasons, including an upcoming Blueridge Photography Workshops expedition where this will be my sole lens for their Single Focal Workshop in Annapolis, Maryland.
I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my 50mm lens, and, in a strange coincidence, I found my high school yearbooks last week when I was cleaning the basement. After 30+ years, I decided to look for my high school photography teacher, and I sent her a friend request on Facebook. I’d love to be able to tell her how photography has impacted my life and career, and that her knowledge and inspiration still guide me even after three decades and many cameras and lenses.