Been a Crazy Week

Been a Crazy Week

by Charly

Well it sure has been a crazy week for me! I received my new camera and started class at University. Now where shall I begin? Let’s start with my camera. I opted for a refurbished Sony SLT – A65. First a bit of background; I bought my first DSLR camera back in 2010. When I went in to Fry’s Electronics, I intended to buy a Canon like my daughter’s. I knew nothing about cameras, but had used hers once and thought it pretty good. As the salesman was going over the camera, he surmised from my answers I was green. lol He asked if he could show me a different camera and I was fine with that.

He pulled out the Sony SLT – A33 and began telling me the differences between it and the Canon I was originally there to buy. He was a great guy! His patience and quickness to answer all my stupid questions was unusual to find in a super store of any kind. After about 1 hr. I decided on the Sony and fell in love with it once I figured out how to use it and more about photography.

When I purchased the Sony, I also got an extended warranty. After a couple of years, it started getting soft spots on images; randomly appearing. I took it in for repair more than a few times. Oh and with the warranty, I also got a loaner to use so I wasn’t without a camera! Fry’s is a great store! Too bad there aren’t more of them around the country. Anyway, the last time I took it in, they decided not to try and repair it. Per my extended warranty, I received a replacement at no cost to me. I was given a Sony SLT – A58, since Sony had discontinued it’s A37 model.


The A58 is a good camera, but I really wanted the A65. Unfortunately for me, the A65 was also discontinued and that is what I wanted. BooHoo! Being a good and long standing customer at my local Fry’s store, they offered me a refund check to buy the camera I wanted. You see usually they give a store credit to use on a different item. If I opted for the A77, it was going to cost me quite a bit more and it would take weeks to get. Well that really wasn’t an option for me, as I didn’t wish to go without a camera for that long…

So I went online to look around. Not really any luck, so I called Sony. The wonderful salesperson listened to my story and offered me some options. One being a refurbished A65 body at not much more than I received from my warranty. I have plenty of lenses, so I only needed a body. I told her that I had used an A65 once as a loaner and it was nothing but trouble for me; a lemon. After relaying all I went through, she said the refurbished A65 was under warranty with an extended available and if anything was wrong with it, I’d get my money back or a replacement. Ok now it was time to think on things…

With Sony, I don’t get a loaner if anything were to go wrong. That’s a draw back indeed! On the other hand, waiting perhaps up to 6 weeks for a camera from Fry’s to me was worse. The next day I called Sony back and ordered the A-65, which I received in 2 days! I opened up the box and through the battery on to charge. Later that afternoon, I put a lens on, put the battery in and shot about 10 quick images. No hang up, no pause, no shut down! Yeah the camera works as it should! Can’t wait to get out this weekend and do some shooting with it.


My Photography Class

1938 L.F. Deardorf & Sons 5" x 7" camera in beautiful condition and one I missed out on :(, 1938 L.F. Deardorf & Sons, View Camera, Large Format, Large Format Camera, Camera, 5x7, 5 x 7, 5
1938 L.F. Deardorf & Sons 5″ x 7″ camera in beautiful condition and one I missed out on that my Professor at University sold  :(

I’m really psyched about this semester! I will be using a Large Format 4 x 5 monorail camera and nothing else. Now how cool is that?!? Due to my being a bit more advanced at photography, I am allowed to work independently from the rest of the class to perfect my craft. My Prof Richard Doherty suggested Architecture as my course study, since it is something I enjoy and am pretty decent at, I’m very willing. The hardest part will be which type of Architecture to choose, since I love all types! What type of Architecture would you like to see me do for class?

Last semester was the first time I ever shot with a Large Format camera. Within a week, I was hooked! Some might say, “I don’t understand why anyone would revert back to film when digital is so much easier.”

Well there are a number of reasons:

1.  Digital cannot match what a Large Format can do

2.  Film definitely slows one down to concentrate on getting a spectacular shot. In other words, no 300 images in a day hoping 1 is good!

3.  There’s just something about taking an image, developing the film, then printing it yourself that is more fulfilling to me as a photographer

4.   You learn more about photography; the Exposure Triangle and although basically the same, it’s a bit different than with digital since the camera does a lot of the work.


With a Large Format, the photog has to really pay attention to every single detail to get a good image. Especially shooting Architecture, because you don’t want buildings that are falling in or back or leaning. With digital, some of that is easily fixed with software, yet it’s important to take the time with film to get it as correct as possible without any distortion. I shot some Architectural images last semester and took as much as an half an hour setting up the shot.

That’s definitely slowing one down right? Yet I probably took another 20 – 30 mins. just looking for the shot with the camera equipment still in the car. Not to mention how many I walked away from cuz I couldn’t see the shot like I wanted it. So that means I take about an hour, perhaps more, on each shot. Those who know more than I about Large Format may take less time, but I think one of the reasons a new photog can’t advance to be a better one is they just are in too big of a hurry. Snap, snap, snap, snapping without any forethought.


Then there’s developing the film, which isn’t that difficult at all. The toughest part for me is setting up the enlarger to print a wonderful image. Again it takes forethought and knowledge I still don’t have. Yet with time and dedication, I know it will come. Then again it has to! My plans are to buy both a 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 Large Format camera. Thanks to some wonderful photographers that see how committed I am to the craft, I’ve been given some great equipment to set up my own darkroom at home. I hope to have it designed and one room converted by the first of the year. It’s not that difficult to set up and having construction background, I’ll be doing it all myself. Definitely a plus to save on costs!

In the future, I will post more on Large Format and the progress of my darkroom with pictures of course. ;) But for now, it’s time to get some things done around the house and prepare for a weekend of shooting! I can’t wait and sure hope the rain doesn’t dampen my fun.


By Charly

A freelance photographer that spent a month driving around Italy


  1. Wishing you all the best of luck at the University and on your photography adventure … what an exciting time of life … enjoy every minute of it!!

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