Before maybe 1998, I was not a photographer per se. I counted on other people to take pictures if I needed them for articles.
But in 1999, when Goldmine magazine tapped me to write a brand new record collector's guide, I needed to get a camera and learn how to use it - and fast. For this book, I would be required to come up with images for at least 600 rare and unique LP's and 45's. I could dodge the 45's issue by putting them on flatbed scanners and scanning them; 12-inch LP's, however, would not fit on commercial flatbed scanners, so they needed to be photographed.
So I scraped together my pennies and purchased my first camera - a Nikon CoolPix 800 - at the Ritz Camera kiosk at my local Boscov's store.
This is what a Nikon CoolPix 800 looks like (photo courtesy dpreview.com).
I used this camera to shoot images of album covers; whether they were from my own personal collection or if I had to travel somewhere and photograph someone's collection. Once the book came out, I used the camera to chronicle what I called my "world tour," which was a 35-city autograph tour once the book came out.
It was a good little camera, and eventually I added a screw-on telephoto lens to get long-distance shots (that lens was also the first purchase I made from B&H Photo, New York's camera superstore). I also used the CoolPix 800 to capture three separate Vocal Group Hall of Fame inductions, as well as concert photographs for several of my other Goldmine-related articles.
But in 2005, when the Albany Patroons returned to the Continental Basketball Association, I tried to use the CoolPix to shoot some early basketball practices before the season started. Not a great idea. This camera was ill-equipped to photograph anything that moved faster than a stalactite, and most of my shots had motion blur upon them.
The final blow came when Dianne Coyne, wife of the team's general manager, saw the photos and said to me, "Chuck, you really should get a better camera if you're going to do this, these photos are not that good."
So once again, I scraped together my pennies and purchased what would be my second camera, a Nikon D70 digital SLR. More on that in another post.
So whatever happened to the CoolPix 800?
Around the time that I purchased my second camera, a friend informed me that an animal shelter in New Hampshire had recently been burglarized - among the things taken was the animal shelter's camera, which was used by the shelter to document animal cruelty cases, and to photograph possible animal adoption candidates.
I acquired the animal shelter's address. Within 24 hours, the CoolPix 800, along with some CompactFlash cards and some peripherals, were in the post office, bound for New Hampshire. No questions asked.
I had a great time with the CoolPix 800; it did what it had to do, and in the end, that's all that matters. In fact, here's a small slideshow of some of the pictures I took with the CoolPix over the time it was in my possession. Enjoy!