After taking her first high school photography course, and subsequently being accepted into an advanced course, my daughter came to the conclusion that she needed a better camera. To be honest, the old D60 she was using was a bit tired so I had to agree with her. The need for a better camera allowed me to introduce Kiera to one of the favorite parts of my professional life: visiting a local camera shop.
So, mid-afternoon on a Saturday morning I took her to Bergen County Camera in Westwood, NJ. Having grown up near Westwood, I can remember first seeing the shop when I was around my daughter’s age. The shop has been a mainstay in the town’s shopping district since 1980. I’ve been visiting the shop professionally for many years and developed a good relationship with the Gramegna brothers and Paul Carretta, the Manager of the shop.
If you visit your local photo shop on a regular basis, you know the scene that greeted my daughter when she walked in. A combination of beginners and serious photography enthusiasts were paired up with members of the BCC sales staff. Topics ranged from simple “I need a memory card” type questions to serious debates on the differences between various lenses sitting on the counter. The expert staff at the shop shared their expertise. At times it felt more like a local bar, with people sharing stories and, experiences, than a retail shop.
Andy Bisdale approached us regarding our need for a new camera. He discussed what type of photography my daughter was working on. To get the best camera for our money it was decided to look at some used camera’s in the store’s inventory. We needed a model so we could use existing glass, yet needed something with much better low light photography. Andy could not have been more patient in explaining the features and benefits of several used Nikon cameras.
In the end, Kiera walked out with a used Nikon D7000. More importantly, she kept commenting on how awesome it was in the store. Since she loves photography, she understood that a store like Bergen County Camera was a perfect place for her. It provides a place where beginner can start their journey into photography. It also offers a place for photographers of any level to come and learn. Although my daughter loves Flickr as a way of sharing her photography, she understood just how cool it was to hang-out with fellow photographers at the shop.
I’d like to send a special thanks out to Andy Bisdale and Bob Gramegna for their infinite patience in helping a 15 year-old, with a limited budget, pick out the perfect camera. If you live in Northern NJ, stop by Bergen County Camera. Regardless of where you live, remember to support your local camera shop. They are an important part of your photo community and offer so much that just can’t be found online.