532 Words on: The end of an era

Five and a half years ago my trusty and beloved Sony A77 SLT camera shot its first football game – Wanderers SC v WaiBOP United – at North Harbour Stadium. Last weekend, circa 400 games and something like 350,000 images later, it shot its last. Shutters on cameras like this are estimated to give out after between 100,000 and 150,000 shots. My previous camera died at about that point, after two years of blogging.

I didn’t win any awards for the images I shot with it (despite entering a few competitions), but I still got some great ‘captures’ I’m proud of and that will always be special to me whether they are technically good or not. From the last time I saw Francesco Totti play in the flesh to Paige Satchell rampaging down the wing and from Chatham Cup dressing rooms to bus trips with Glenfield Rovers and La Banda del Pipazzo, my A77 immortalised so many special football memories I will treasure forever.

It’s graduation day though. Just as Judas Iscariot sold Jesus up the river for thirty pieces of silver, I am betraying my very good but limited in some important areas Sony in favour of a pro level Canon.

Sony cameras made me the photographer I am today. You get better by overcoming the limitations of lesser equipment. A sprinter tows weights in training and feels the freedom of running without them in the big race. This weekend I too will experience walking on air in spite of the fact that if I tried the weight thing I’d go down like a sack of spuds after three strides either way.

Hopefully you’ll notice a difference, if not straight away. My shots should be sharper and crisper, there should be less noise and I should be capturing a lot more action shots in focus. There will also be no such thing as night anymore! My new f2.8 lens should be able to overcome trifling little inconveniences like absolute darkness, giving me the ability to stop being put off by Auckland’s notoriously pathetic ‘floodlights’. But most importantly I should get better at capturing atmosphere, which is what separates average photographers from good ones.

The downside of all this is that with pro level photos comes a pro level value to my images. The majority of them will be watermarked and available for purchase here. The era of ‘Enzo gives photos away to all and sundry with gay abandon’ is over. I’ve been a servant of the game for well over nine years now, taking almost nothing for myself. The time has come to see if I can recoup some of my costs and stop undermining the many wonderful pro snappers I meet on the sidelines.

If you’re a bit put out by this, remember that all the best photos of you or your son or daughter playing football were taken by a pro, probably from either Photosport or Phototek. If you want the likes of Shane Wenzlick and Andrew Cornaga to keep doing what they do you need to support them. If you don’t the underexposed out of focus rubbish you rip off Twitter will be the best you both get and deserve.