A Change in Financial Perspective

Quarter Pounder Deluxe, McDonald's - Austin, Texas

Quarter Pounder Deluxe, McDonald’s – Austin, Texas

I’ve been frugal all my life. Sometimes, too much so, I suppose. But, I’ve had a change in financial perspective recently, both from life experience and a book I read. What does this have to do with photography? I’ll explain a little later.

My older son is half-way through his college experience (assuming he graduates in 4 years, which he better) and his education funds are secured. My younger son, who is a rising high school junior, will be making his college decision soon. We’ve also adequately budgeted his funds. Which leaves that last remaining major financial burden — retirement. I haven’t decided when I’m going to retire, but barring a financial apocalypse, I’m well on my way, according to the prediction of the financial planning algorithms.

Beyond my photography and blogging hobbies, I don’t spend much money on myself. My clothing is sturdy, non-trendy, and utilitarian. I don’t have a fancy car. I don’t go out often to eat or drink. I don’t have any other typical guy hobbies either. Heck, I don’t even watch sports or drink beer at home. Boring, huh.

What I do like is photography and buying cheap, old cameras. Yes, I do have over 50 mostly inexpensive cameras. But that’s what I like to do. And, I’m no longer going to feel guilty about buying more. Some will roll their eyes and mutter something about uncontrolled G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) but I no longer give them any credence. No need to order an intervention. With more than a half a century of fiscal responsibility, I’ve earned the right.

Modern McDonald's - Austin, Texas

Modern McDonald’s – Austin, Texas

The two colorful pictures are from McDonald’s, a most mundane and even vilified American fast food joint. I probably eat there an average of once every month or so. But, the images stand in as a proxy for how I live my life. While I like tasty food, simple everyday food makes me happy or happier than the fancy stuff. Chipotle is my favorite — healthy, inexpensive and non-fussy. Austin taco joints, Tex-Mex, the occasional barbecue and burgers, with a smattering of casual Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Indian round out my culinary excursions. Which means I rather have simple food and many cameras.

Several years ago, I’ve also stepped up the spending on family vacations. There is no going back in time and I want to make sure I spend time with my family as the kids grow up. Once they leave the house, I want to travel more with my wife. Part of the shift in thinking is experiences over things (except cameras). I’m also trying to do a better job meeting friends. It’s so easy to get busy with life and men, in particular, usually aren’t very good about enriching their circle of friends.

I’ve bought more cameras this year, then ever before — I think. Many of them are older and inexpensive but the addition of the Fujifilm system is a nontrivial financial commitment. I still believe the gear is in service to the images that I create. But, it’s fun to talk about cameras from time to time.

By the way, the pictures in today’s post are from the Olympus XZ-1 point and shoot, which I’ve talk a lot about recently. A 2011 camera with a CCD sensor producing a kinder, gentler and richer color.

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