The Vancouver Camera Club Swap Meet and Sale is scheduled to return to Vancouver the end of August. (John Enman photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Vancouver Camera Swap Meet and Sale returning

The fires are getting closer and with the thick smoke I am not in the least interested in being outside with my camera. That said, there is a lot of my camera gear stacked in my front room ready for a quick getaway if there is an evacuation notice. My cats are happy about that, they have a new place to crawl over and jump on each other from, but I just trip over it a lot.

I just received an invite to a used camera meet in Vancouver at the end of August, and if everything goes well I will attend. I have already made reservations for my pal Jo and I at a small hotel next to the harbour.

I expect, even with the uncomfortable restriction of wearing a mask all day, it will be a fun event. People have been holding off doing much for over a year now and are ready to get out and excitedly mingle with others. Thinking about how much fun that event will be, and because I haven’t done or thought much regarding photography this week, I am posting an article I wrote in May of 2019 of memories of a good time when there was no pandemic and there were no fires.

My friends Jo, Laurie, Habiba and I made the trek to Vancouver for the spring used camera equipment sale, and we couldn’t have asked for a more pleasant day.

The sky was clear and the rain that usually had us rushing equipment to the building was uncharacteristically, for this time of year, missing.

Last October Laurie and I had decided we needed help at our tables so Laurie somehow convinced his wife, Habiba, to come and I couldn’t have kept Jo away with a stick. She had wanted to come ever since reading my articles about the great time I always have.

I warned Jo and Habiba that our day would start early. We had a quick 6 a.m. breakfast at our hotel and jumped into Laurie’s equipment packed truck to drive to the show by 7:30 a.m. Then rushed to unpack and have our tables ready before the Vancouver Camera Swap Meet and Sale opened the doors at 9 a.m.

Laurie and I always go through the guessing game of “what will sell?” Last time anything from the 1970s was popular and digital equipment was totally ignored, so we packed our tables with film cameras and old manual lenses.

I did bring several modern autofocus lenses, but the younger crowd showed little interest in them opting instead to look at the kind of cameras that I had used before most of them were born.

Personally, I am relieved not to be using film anymore. I got my first DSLR back in 2001 and haven’t looked back since. However, I will admit talking with young photographers excited with film is fun. I don’t know how long this craze will last, but I understand there are lots of people searching for and listening to records these days and like that ‘retro’ trend and I expect film will be popular for some time to come. So I will continue to search out and sell cameras from the 1960s and 1970s.

As usual the camera sale was packed and I saw friends from years past and, as always, made new friends. Talking with other photographers is, as I said, so much fun.

This was Jo’s first camera sale. I had talked about what we’d be doing and what the sale would be like, but I knew she had no idea of the all-day frenzy.

The Vancouver Camera Swap Meet is non-stop fun from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. And although Jo is a great photographer and quick study, the cameras that filled the table were not what she had ever used. But a camera is a camera, and she dove in head first talking with and showing cameras to the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. Way to go Jo.

In my last article about the camera sale I mentioned that I was asked what keeps me coming back year after year? The answer is “The people, of course”.

This camera event has antique, vintage, digital, and everything else for photography, new and used. And looking at, touching and discussing some precious piece of camera equipment with someone you just met is darn fun. Gosh, almost as much fun as making pictures.

That fun time was over a year ago. Now Jo, Laurie and I are talking about the fun we will have in less than a month from now.

Here is the quote I used at the end of that 2019 article by the famous Canadian singer Celine Dion.

“I don’t know if the camera likes me, but I do like the camera”.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week.

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