Ever changing tools for the art of photography

One of my main passions is digital photography. I travel as widely as possible and photograph flora and fauna, still life and landscapes. I try to avoid flash photography and feel that it is well worth getting up early or going home late to catch the best “golden hour” natural light.

I sell digital photographic art  through Photo4me who can make them available as prints of all sizes, canvas or acrylic wall art or on a wide variety of items such as mugs, calendars and key rings. You can see my portfolio here.

I can’t remember when I first got into the wonderful art of photography. As a child of the sixties I guess I was being subliminally bombarded with the images that were appearing at the time, many of which have now become ingrained in the world’s memory and have been endlessly mimicked and copied ever since.

First steps in the art of photography

It wasn’t until high school however that I started getting into photography in a serious way.  One of the school’s science teachers – the amazingly named Dr Barnacca was a keen amateur and started a photography club, which I joined. I had bought my first SLR with earnings from part time jobs – A Russian Zenith model to which I had added an enormous 300mm telephoto lens so I had developed a keen interest from somewhere or other.

Image of Zenit Camera

My first SLR – Industrial strength Russian mechanics !

Through the good Doc B I learned how to develop 35mm black and white films in the school darkroom and I got hooked on all that fiddling about with Ilford paper and Paterson developing tanks. I do remember constantly stinking of developing and fixing fluids and cutting myself trying to open film canisters with scissors in the dark. I was into everything being big at that point – Big lens, big magnification big, prints. Don’t ask me why – I might have had a spy fixation because I liked doing candid shots of people from a distance.

The most memorable of my photographic results with the old Zenith are of being at Wimbledon centre court on my dad’s shoulders taking shots of McEnroe and  Connors on centre court – yes I am being serious! Don’t know how the old man managed to avoid a hernia from the combined weight of me and that heavy-duty fully mechanical camera and lens.

After a year or so I upgraded to a Practika, which I still have to this day though it’s gathering dust now, as I can’t get a battery for it. It served me well for a few years though and actually both cameras taught me a lot about light metering, composition and depth of field.

image of Praktica BNS camera

Slightly more sophisticated

Eventually I was won over by digital photography

 

I was quite resistant to digital photography for some time after they appeared. Got one with my first ever PC as part of the entertainment package that it came with and it was pretty crap. I was sceptical about digital camera’s ever producing results that could compare to 35mm film – although – no more costly colour film processing. …hmmmm.

You can’t argue with progress for long so I dipped my toe in the digital waters with a bridge camera – The Fujifilm Finepix. These are great little cameras that are designed to appeal to the serious amateur. They look like an SLR but actually use an advanced viewfinder set up combined with a digital zoom function. I got some good results and would recommend it as a good starting point if you are on a tight budget – or just want to take good quality pictures for fun.

The Finepix got me hooked though and I was soon looking (online of course) for a digital SLR. I feel for the camera stores that haven’t survived the digital revolution but really they can’t compete with Internet prices and at the end of the day I’m an Internet entrepreneur.

So next up came the Olympus E420. I upgraded to this great little entry level DSLR that I bought as a package with 2 lenses: – a wide to mid range zoom and a 200mm telephoto. It proved to be a fabulous camera for the money and I sold a number of images taken with it as large canvas prints. The Olympus was a very user friendly and adaptable camera – they always have been since the days when David Bailey was the Olympus poster boy back in the day.

As always with photography (or any other passion) you want more, bigger, better! I decided the time was right for me to go for a real big-boy’s camera and after selling the Olympus, I moved up to the camera I have now – The brilliant Canon EOS 7D.

This is a semi-pro outfit – although it is favoured by a lot of pro photographers, as it is lighter than the big, full format 5D. It’s still a bit of a handful though especially with a big lens on it. It has put me over the Ryanair weight limit more than a few times and is quite noticeable on a long walk or hill climb. The 7D is also a full HD movie camera and is used widely for filming in the professional and semi pro arena.

I use a couple of lenses with the Canon and a number of filters. I am never without my trusty polarizing filter and for serious photography with a commercial intent – I always pack my Manfrotto tripod. Other filters I use constantly are a Neutral density (ND), a gradient ND, an adjustable ND and a UV. I also have a remote control shutter release.