The Confessions of a PhotoHOLIC

We all have heard of WORKOHOLICS, ALCHOLICS, and even CHOCOHOLICS, but I seem to be getting into a new form of addiction which is yet to be ‘Christened’ so I like to call it ‘PHOTOHOLISM’
You see, it wasn’t always this way for me. As most of you know, I not only love shooting wildlife and spending most of my weekends in the jungles, I also enjoy writing about photography, sharing ideas and experiences. It’s probably the most satisfying job in the world! The more time I spend making pictures or talking about photography with others, the more passionate I became about it. However, of late I’m a bit worried that I’m now a ‘Compulsive PHOTOHOLIC’. I get a feeling that I’m relating everything in life to PHOTOGRAPHY. Let me explain . . . .

I met my doc after ages at a party. After the usual pleasantries, he fired the dreaded salvo “I know you are keeping fit, but nearing 50, let’s get a complete medical checkup done”.  So, here I was, sitting in the clinic, a band around my elbow while the doc was feeling for my veins to draw blood samples for testing.

I knew that I loved seeing everything through an imaginary view finder, but when I saw the syringe slowly sucking in the blood and I started to adjust an imaginary shutter and aperture setting in my head to frame this awesome macro shot, I knew I was taking this a bit too far.

The stint with the Ophthalmologist confirmed my doubts. When he asked me to read out the alphabets on the vision chart which by the way was clear to the last line (as clear as a high speed autofocussing  IS L series lens - oops, here I go again) , my priorities were on constantly adjusting the angle of my line of vision for a more interesting composition. He then checked me for ‘Progressive vision’ with a set of lenses, and I was inadvertently rotating my head left and right to assess what impact the circular polarizing filter might have on a potential shot of the room. The last straw was when he asked me to look through an eye piece and blink a few times into the machine. While doing so, my worry was not what he saw at the other end, but was concerned that I could not calculate the shutter speed equivalent of my blink!!!!

This was beginning to show on my daily life as well. After owning the Civic for the last 5 years, we decided it was time to scout around for a new car. Off we went to the Audi showroom. The salesman was extremely pleasant (Who would not be . . . . in this time of recession) and took pains explaining the features of the vehicles. Finally, when he quoted the on road price, my mind immediately translated it into “Six 1DX’s, 5 of those 1000mm Prime lenses, 7 Kenyan Safari’s . . . . ..” I left the place in a hurry.

I’m no movie buff and had never been to the theater in decades, but when the family and some close friends decided to break this jinx and took me to the ‘Ghost Protocol’, I spent more time taking shots of the movie on my mobile camera than really enjoying the hair raising stunts from the world’s tallest building in Dubai by the iconic Tom Cruise.

My daughter constantly keeps chiding me on my wardrobe saying my clothes collection looks right out a FAB INDIA shelf. I probably have all of my clothes in the dull shades of Jungle Green, Khaki, Brown and Black. I actually rechecked it this weekend and found that I have more camaflogue wear (ranging from pants, shirts, jackets, caps and even shoes) than probably the average soldier does in the country. My footwear collection, which until a decade ago used to consist of at least a dozen sportswear and a few formal wear today, consists of at least a dozen trekking and outdoor shoes with hardly three sports shoes. My leech socks collection can put an outdoor shop to shame.
Packing my bags for a travel (even if it is just a weekend trip) these days has also gone through a huge transformation. My lowerpro / wildcraft camera bag, holding all my long lenses is a lot bigger and heavier than my travel bag which is nowadays confined to a small tote or a backpack. In fact, my cabin / hand baggage is a lot heavier than my check in luggage which is a complete turnaround to what it was a decade ago. I no longer carry my wallet or mobile phone on my pant pockets for it fits nicely into my camera bag slung over my shoulders.

Close friends and relatives take me for granted. I am their default photographer at small family functions. The other day, my niece Priya, returning from a 5 year stint in the USA was celebrating her daughter’s b’day and while inviting our family for it, casually told me “Mama, by the way, bring in your photo gear – I’ve not hired a professional photographer”.

There are quite a few other telltale signs of this addiction in real life. I’m so fixated about reading the operations manual of even insignificant gadgets – like a toaster or an induction stove or even the simple searchlight / laser torch. The all new camera body that my neighbor has bought is more comfortable in my hands from day one than the iPads that’s been around for a while.

The Last straw was at a restaurant. When the soup came in, there was a fly in it. In normal times, I would have brought the roof down, but to my horror, I was reaching for my camera!!!!!. I seem to be looking for options even in my morning coffee:
The world is a beautiful place and I want to see it all through my eyes, apart from through the viewfinder. Can any of you please help?

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