On a visit to Hongkong in the late 70’s , I chose not to buy a camera .Those where the days of restricted imports , protectionism and if I may add, the days of socialism in India, and hence any one who visited a haven for electronics goods ,such as Hongkong ,brought back as many goodies as he possibly could . I didnt think I needed a camera ,so didnt make any effort for one . A few years later my daughter was at an interesting playful age ,and now I felt the need for a camera and the urge to capture those moments in her life . I eventually bought an Agfa Click 3 , that path breaking entry level box camera of those days ,that made photoghraphy so easy for the uninitiated . I did take tons of black and white photos and treasure some of them to this day .Colour roll film was less freely available and much more expensive in those days, never the less black and white photography had a charm of it’s own .
It was in the early 80’s that a colleague and I were deputed to Kenya for a month long project , which included visits to the neighbouring countries of Zimbabwe , then Rhodesia, Nigeria & Sudan . A visit to the famous game sancturies of Africa was a must and I looked forward to it well in advance of the trip .By now my urge to own a more sophisticated camera was quite high and I commenced a carefull study of all the available SLR cameras, featured in photography magazines of that time .Easy access to the web was not available in those days, so a quick internet search and browsing through well documented reviews of competing models was not possible .I however, decided on Canon AV1 , an aperture priority SLR , which turned out to be an excellant buy and a camera I still have with me . I nearly disposed off it on a visit to the US , when the camera took a few hard knocks during a ride down a water slide and the film handling mechanism broke rendering the poor camera inoperable .But stong sentiment prevailed and I chose to bring the camera back to India with a view to give it a decent burial!!! As it turned out , a friend got it repair for a few hundred rupees at Daryajung and the AV1 lives on with me ,albiet a trifle frail and inactive .
Our routing on the Africa visit was such that we had a transit halt at Dubai on the way back from Khartoum. It was only natural that I chose to forego the camera during the eye popping safaries and buy it on our way back considering the huge diffence in prices at the duty free shops at the Dubai airport..We visited a couple of game sanctuaries ,the best of which was at the foot hills of Mount Kilimanjaro , the snow clad mountains on the equator . This game santuary was an extention of what was considered in those days, the best game santuary in the world , the Serengatti Plains in Tanzania. The experience we had at the Kilimanjaro Game Santuary was mind boggling and an experience that has stayed in my head and heart ever since .Sadly there would be no photographs of that terrific experience.
As luck would have it , the flight from Khartoum to Dubai was cancelled and we had to return to India via of all places , Nairobi !! It was disappointing but I had made up my mind to buy the AV1 , so finally bought it from the Nairobi Airport .Some thing I could have done on our way in and would have had the joy of trying out the camera at those unforgetable game santuaries we visited. Such I guess is life !!
In recent times , it has been difficult to find time for serious photography , so I switched over to the more casual digital compact cameras . But my hunger for the more serious variety was always just below the surface ,and on a recent visit to Scotland , saw an attractively priced Canon D-SLR , the 1000D with a 18-250mm Tamaron lens included ,at a transit halt at Amsterdam airport.Again I chose not to rush in to the purchase and went on to Scotland with my trusty Sony H7 , which was great for the photo ops that we had of the scenic beauty of Gleneagles .On my return , I couldnt get the thought of the Canon 1000D out of my head and eventually purchased it ,along with the standard lens of 18-50mm and an additional lens of 55-250mm . Now all that remains is to squeeze out the time on long week ends to go out into the hills or game santuaries for some serious photography !!
Life I guess carries with it a bag of missed opportunities .On reflection though , it behoves each one of us to make the most of every moment of our lives and to enjoy each moment to the fullest and with a sense of gratitude .Greater are the missed opportunities we face when we let lifes joyous moments pass by with out living them to the fullest.