THE ONLY THINGS I OWN WHICH ARE STILL WORTH WHAT THEY HAVE COST ME ARE THE MEMORIES OF MY TRAVELS AND THE PHOTOS I TOOK.
If someone asks me what my passions are, it won’t take me a second to answer; travel and photography!
I didn’t actually start traveling nor taking photos much before I went to college in Boston, USA. Uncle Henk, my “American father” was an avid photographer and a camera collector addict. He must have had more than a hundred cameras of various models, shapes and sizes, old and new, stacked with some sort of order on a shelf in a room where I slept. During the summer he always took me along for antique camera shopping in flea markets across New England.
My mentor during my first job as a civil engineering student, whom I regretfully forget his name, was a professional photographer. He often took me to some of his projects, lent me his camera and showed me how to take decent photos. Under his advice and after several paychecks I finally bought my first camera, a Nikkormat. It was the cheapest Nikon SLR at that time.
I still didn’t travel much then. I didn’t have a car (nor money) so I only visited places when Uncle Henk and his wife Thainy took me or friends tagged me along when they went home for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
After graduating, believe it or not, I received some money from the IRS for overpaid taxes enough to buy a used Toyota Corolla. Entering graduate school in Pennsylvania I received an assistantship job at the university and earned just enough money to maintain the car and traveled every weekend to places reachable within a weekend. I went to farther places for long weekends. Always carried my Nikkormat with me.
My first job in Indonesia after finishing graduate school required me to travel extensively; from Aceh to Papua, from the Middle East to Australia. My second job was the same. So was my third and last. I became addicted to travel. I could no longer work and sit still at my desk in the office for more than a month. I had to go somewhere. A field assignment or a holiday somewhere.
With the invention of the digital camera I became totally hooked. My first DSLR was another Nikon, the D100 which after two years I bought it a friend accidentally dropped, with him attached to it, into the sea.
I never really counted them but by now I must have taken thousands of pictures, hundreds of sunsets, hundreds of sunrises, people, cultural events, mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, jungles, beaches, flowers, animals. I love them all. Not so much the pictures but the experiences of taking them; the travels and the journeys I have to make to take me to those places. To me taking photos and traveling go hand in hand.
Still, I am an amateur. I take pictures purely as a hobby. Yes, I have entered (very) few contests but never won and never sold a single picture. A few of my photos have been published in magazines but I posted a lot in the facebook for my friends to enjoy them.
With a help from a friend, I finally have a blog on my own where I can post more pictures so I can share with people what I see through the lens, and which can provide me with an opportunity to practice writing about my experiences and journeys and my fantasies around the places I visit, the objects I see and the people I meet.