“It’s like riding a bicycle!”
What’s that mean? You ought to be able to ride a bicycle even after a long time of not riding one, muscle-memory and all that. Right? I’ll buy it. Our bodies usually do a good job of riding a bicycle once we begin the activity again.
But a camera is not a bicycle.
I learned that the hard way this afternoon when I used a new camera after many years of not doing any serious photography. The camera’s similar to my old one – the one I could use with next to no conscious thought because I’d done it sooooo many times for sooooo many years – but just different enough to make my “muscle memory” choke. If I’d been riding that bicycle I’d’ve toppled over. Very quickly, I realized that my mind wasn’t engaged. I wasn’t thinking at all about ISO or f-stops or even which button to press to change from auto-focus to manual. Every shot I took was bad. They got worse, too, as I went forward. All those years ago what I did was practiced enough that unless something was weird or truly unexpected I could just do it. Autopilot.
Now? I’m scrambling to recall how to perform the simplest photography tasks. Fortunately, the information’s still filed away in my brain and it’s all flooding back to me faster and faster with each lens I pick up and each setting I adjust. ::whew:: Big relief! But I can tell that getting to the place I was before will take a little more time than I thought it would.
And you know what? I’m enjoying every second of it. I missed playing with light!