Photography – a senior moment?

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As one gets older, the choices in pleasurable hobbies becomes less, unfortunately. Tennis and squash are too physical and demand sharp eyesight. Any football code requires a greater degree of general fitness than that held by octogenarians. The older one gets, the closer one gets to Tic-Tac-Toe. (Stop groaning!)

As one gets older, physical activity is important – just getting out of the house or condo is an enjoyment in itself. This is where photography is so good. Give yourself a small photo project and out you go and illustrate it.

Photography is actually an ideal pastime for seniors, because it is something that can be picked up and put down at will, it is not too physically demanding, and modern cameras can assist in the areas where age has taken some toll. And the end result is something that can give you great joy, be that award winning sunsets or just pictures of the grandchildren.

Seniors do need some basics, suitable to your physical health.

To play photography you need a camera. And by that I mean a ‘real’ camera, not a smarty-pants phone camera. My observation is that it is very difficult for seniors to handle a cellphone, point it in the right direction and push the right button. No, get a camera, a real camera.

There are many types of camera on the market with prices from less than 5,000 baht to 100,000 baht. DSLR’s are nice, but for this exercise, not 100 percent necessary. Point and shoot compact cameras are just fine (and a lot cheaper).

Get one with autofocus (AF), most do have this, but just check. There are many reasons for this, but since sharp focus is necessary for a good final print, let the camera do it for you, when sharpness in vision is something that becomes very problematical as you get older. Provided you can point the camera in the right direction, the camera will do the rest. (Eastman Kodak used to have “You push the button – we do the rest.” And that was 1888. This was because photography was too difficult in those days.)

A nice feature to have is a zoom type lens. Doesn’t need to be a 20-400 zoom. A ‘mini-zoom’ 24-55 is fine. Zoom lenses save you having to go the distance. Is it just too much of a hassle these days to walk up to distant objects to get close-up details? Then a zoom lens will do it for you. With a zoom lens it is no problem at all to get a close-up, a wide angle and a distant shot from the same camera position. Maybe an autofocus digital compact camera with an inbuilt zoom lens is just the camera for you. Just push a button to make the zoom bring the subject closer or farther away.

As we get older, we are also more prone to the shakes. (It’s not just you!) Today’s digital cameras can even compensate for the tremor, with anti-shake technology built in over the past couple of years. This makes photography for seniors even easier.

Today’s camera manufacturers have taken the fears out of flash too. Most new cameras have their own in-built flash which comes on when the light levels are too low, will set their own flash power and give you perfectly lit indoor night shots every time.

So there you have it, retirees. There are inexpensive cameras available now which can get you into photography! If you once had the ‘photographic eye’, then that ability is still there. All you have to do is get the equipment to let you use and enjoy it again. Look for suitable AF digital compacts with built in zoom, anti-shake technology and auto flash.

Pricewise you are looking at spending something over B. 5,000, though the range of cameras over B. 10,000 is greater. There are plenty of choices in the marketplace. Something from the major brands such as Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Samsung, Casio and Lumix for example. A hint to the family around birthday time should suffice.