The Very Beginning; A Good Place to Start

June 28, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

 

I started my love affair with photography in the spring of 1983, when I got my hands on a viewfinder fixed focal length 35mm. The years have blurred my recollection of the brand, but it did what what a camera needs to do: protect the film from unwanted light and let in the light I wanted, shaped how I wanted. Not that I had any idea what I was doing when I started, this camera permitted me to control aperture and shutter speed. The only thing I knew about film speed was that faster film was better for low light situations and sports AND that it would result in more pronounced grain (directly analogous to what we see as "noise" in digital photography).
 
My parents indulged my passion and, that Christmas, gave me a camera I still own and use, on occasion, today--a Minolta X-700 with 50mm lens and a Minolta programmable flash. Much like today's cameras, it's built-in light meter could calculate a proper exposure, but it relied on manual aperture and focus adjustment. Still, this was a big deal in those days, considering the cost of film, processing and enlargements associated with each exposure. Next came more lenses, a Toyo Optics zoom and a wide angle. Working with the X-700 allowed me to start with long exposure photography (star and vehicle head/taillight trails).
 
I decided to persue a degree in photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology, but succumbed to my Mother's urging to start college with some general education studies at Messiah College, a small, private liberal arts college in Grantham, Pennsylvania. I started off my first semester with Photography 101 as an elective, but soon found out that my credits wouldn't transfer and decided to see my education through at Messiah. I gained interest in other fine art courses and declared my major as Fine Art (concentration in sculpture), but I took several graphic arts courses along the way.
 
After completing my bachelor's degree (where I had also taken a variety of computer courses), I was offered a job with a large printing company, where I would establish their first Electronic Prepress department. While the I didn't use my knowledge of photography to any great extent here, the company owner/President showed great faith in me and provided me ample opportunities to grow my skills in computers graphics as well as general computing. After ten years with that company, I couldn't go any further and moved on focus on computer and information security. Again, not much use for photography, except for instances where a photograph was the best way to document a physical security problem. Jump ahead another job and now I'm traveling internationally and need a way to document my travels. Enter the Sony DCS-W80, a fine pocket camera. It didn't allow an over abundance of control, but it was compact and, with its underwater housing, allowed me to follow in the foot (or should I saw flipper) steps of Jacques Cousteau to photograph aquatic sealife, while snorkeling along my travels, often on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
 
After my job took me to Germany for a three-year tour, I invested in a Nikon D7000 DSR to document my family's time in Europe and as a way to spend some quality time with my oldest daughter, before she heads off to college, where she is planning to study graphic design and photography. (She's also a Nikon shooter, having received a D90 from her mother and me for her 16th birthday.) Given her school and social schedule, the time together piece didn't work out how I had hoped, but I've had a great time documenting our travels, my kids' sporting events and photographing the amazing sites throughout Europe, Africa and Asia.
 
Who knows where this journey will lead me, but I'm using this blog to share it with anyone interested. I can also be found on Facebook and as one of the administrators of the Facebook group "US Photographers in Europe" (USPE).

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