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Categorized | Articles, Ethan Meleg

Out of Focus — Turning 40 (full story)

©Ethan Meleg Re-enacting scenes from the Karate Kid is an excellent way to kill time while waiting for the light to improve!

©Ethan Meleg
Re-enacting scenes from the Karate Kid is an excellent way to kill time while waiting for the light to improve!

Story and photography by Ethan Meleg

A few weeks after this issue of Outdoor Photography Canada hits the newsstands, I’ll be celebrating my 40th birthday. I have no plans to start acting like an adult just because I’ve reached this monumental age. To be completely honest, I never even thought I’d live this long. I’m just a teenager stuck in an older guy’s body.


Nevertheless, big birthdays cause you to reflect on things, so I should probably attempt to muster up a few words of wisdom to share with you. I’ve been shooting photos for 21 years since my parents gave me a hand-me-down SLR camera for my 19th birthday. Here are a few key things I’ve learned along my journey as a nature photographer…..

You’re statistically more likely to drop an expensive lens than a cheaper one.
I wish I didn’t have firsthand knowledge of this truth, but I’ve dropped lenses about 10 times over the years and in almost every case it was one of my faster, more expensive lenses. In a second, they went from being big glass, to pieces of glass!

Purchase good insurance for your camera gear.
If you’ve read my past columns, you already know I’ve had some remarkably bad luck making involuntary contributions to the underbelly of society. The only reason I’m still in business shooting photos and writing this column right now is because of a good insurance policy!

Backup, backup, backup!
It’s not a question if one of your hard drives will fail, it’s when! At latest count, I’ve had 3 hard drives crap out and I’m counting on it happening again. No big deal, I have them backed up in triplicate, with one copy safely stored offsite in my girlfriend’s underwear drawer.

Chipmunks bite harder than you would expect! 
Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way while trying to lure a chipmunk up onto my head with a peanut, as my friend waited with the camera ready to click a funny photo.  The chipmunk bit my earlobe and I screamed in pain!

Outdoor photography and wine aficionado are not complimentary passions.
Oh, why didn’t I become a coffee aficionado instead of wine?!?! I’m not prepared to give up photography or wine, so thank the camera gods for image stabilization!  And a huge thanks to whoever invented aspirin, too!

It’s MUCH easier to wake up in time for sunset than sunrise.
See previous point!

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