Ten years ago, almost to the day, I was on a riverboat sailing down the Mekong in Vietnam, having just crossed from Cambodia.
It was a great trip and I was reminded of it recently when I saw another set of photos taken in Cambodia. Strangely, in view of the subject, they were in black and white.
Now I am no longer a black and white enthusiast. Don’t get me wrong — monochrome has its place, but to my mind, that place is now very small.
I’m no stranger to monochrome since, for the first 40 years of my photographic life, I shot, processed and printed predominantly in black and white. So I can claim the medal for taking upwards of 50,000 shades of grey. I’m no stranger to the nuances of back and white, in other words.
The big switch
While I always enjoyed working in the darkroom, it was economics that dictated my long embrace of black and white. Colour film was expensive and slow. As soon as digital offered a means of shooting acceptable colour, I switched over and I have stuck with it almost exclusively for the past 15 years.
The photos I took ten years ago in Cambodia were, of course, in colour. A far as I am concerned, Indochina is such a stunning region that not to use colour is to miss recording an essential part of the culture.
In this article you can see some of the images resulting from my trip a decade ago. All were taken with my then camera of choice — a little Canon G7. The G7 and its replacement, the G9 (there was no G8), were superb cameras in their day.
They have metal bodies, a very good zoom lens, straightforward menus and controls and an integrated optical viewfinder. The G7 took only JPEG files but that shortcoming was corrected in the G9 with the introduction of RAW.
By today’s standards, the low-light performance of the small sensor in the G7 and G9 was poor, but for most of the time, this was not an issue. The early G-series cameras from G7 to G12 are still exceptional photographic tools.
As I type this, my old G9 is currently on active service in Morocco in the hands of my son-in-law while my daughter has taken along her personal G9.
The good news is that you can still find a low-mileage G9 on eBay for as little as A$100 ($70, £50, €60). What a bargain!