Rohit's Realm

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January 30, 2011

Say Hello to My Little Friend

PowerShot S95

As I have written on extensively in the past six months, one of my goals since emerging out of the graduate school bubble in which I was ensconced the past three years has been to rekindle many of my pre–law school hobbies. In that vein, I have resumed reading, gotten back into coding, and even started running regularly again—sort of. One of my hobbies that never quite died was photography: even in the darkest days of my law school life (and rest assured, there were many such days), I still brought along my trusty DSLR whenever I traveled, from New York to Mississippi to the United Kingdom to Japan to Montréal.

But even as my travel photography maintained a steady clip, my personal photography fell dramatically. Indeed, this past December, I had to struggle quite a bit to find pictures of myself for my annual holiday card—I simply hadn't taken any casual pictures at all in the past year. Once the guy who was never without a camera at any event and always the one shooting long-armed self-portraits (as those who knew me back in the day know well), my casual photography saw a precipitous decline during law school. Which, like many other law school–induced fall outs is really too bad: memories aren't just a function of travel, and without doubt, there were occasions in the past two years that could have and should have been captured. What happened?

At least three things happened. First, I grew weary of the endless stream of photos from parties, bars, and other such nighttime destinations that had marked much of my college and yuppie manifestations. With an increased focus on branding in the brave new Internet era, the existence of these sorts of photos quickly became a liability, and my solution was to simply stop taking them. Perhaps that was overkill—I could have taken but not posted them—but as I touched upon in this post, the era of carefree sharing had long since become the era of paranoid self-monitoring, and I wasn't taking any chances. And while I think that was probably the right sentiment, I can't help but regret my decision just a bit: my pictures from college and San Francisco are so nostalgic precisely because they capture my day-to-day life in all of its not-fit-for-public-consumption reality.

A second and related reason for the drop in photos was the tried and true one: I just didn't have time to keep up with all the demands of serious amateur photography. Between editing and cataloging, post-processing had become a massive effort with which I often could not be bothered. And so rather than add to my already crushing workload, I just stopped bringing my trusty point-and-shoot out with me when I went out.

A final reason was my equipment itself. After my dear old Olympus point-and-shoot died back in September 2005 (fittingly, at the 1524 housewarming party), I replaced it with a Canon PowerShot SD400. That camera was a valiant companion all throughout San Francisco, and even into my first year in Chicago. But by the summer of 2008, it had started to degrade and by spring of 2009, it was all but nonfunctional. (The last full album I shot with it was at my sister's college graduation in May 2009.) It died completely in April 2010 (RIP).

All that brings me to the present: I have decided I do see value in day-to-day photographs, and considering my life these days rarely involves brand devaluing activities (old age hits us all, I suppose), the concerns I noted above are somewhat alleviated. This past December, my mother asked me what I wanted for the holidays, and somewhat on a whim, I decided it was time to replace my old point-and-shoot. A quick trip to the electronic store, and voilà: I had a brand new Canon PowerShot S95. So far, I've been suitably impressed: the picture quality on this guy is topnotch, and it has definitely lived up to all the reviews I read before getting it.

Also in the spirit of rejuvenation, I have been taking my point-and-shoot out with me when I go places. As always, the results of this endeavor will be available in my gallery: I have created a new top-level album for this period in my life (aptly known as the deleveraging years) and posted some photos from Central Park, this winter, and (everyone's favorite) Albany, NY (where I spent a four days two weeks ago to get sworn into the NY State Bar).

For those in New York, drop a line if you want to go on a photo tour some weekend. My new theme: mounds of garbage piled high in the streets. Haul the trash, assholes! It's good to be back.


I've got the S90 (almost the same as the S95) and I love it. In fact I only had that camera for a month long trip to South America I took last year. I heartily recommend that little guy. Though I did splurge and get a grip for it after a while and do like the way it feels more now.

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