My first experience of photography was in the mid 1960s using point and shoot film cameras to capture ‘pics’ of holidays, family events etc. In 1969 I went on a work assignment to Ghana to install a computer payroll system for a Gold Mine. When I discovered that the mine was located in a remote inland town I decided that I should buy a better camera (a Praktica SLR) hopefully to capture ‘once in a lifetime’ images. This experience encouraged me to be more committed with my photography and subsequently to upgrade to a Canon AE1 camera. I even dabbled a little with producing my own monochrome prints. This enthusiasm was not to last ….
The next major photographic event (some years later) was triggered by my teenage son’s interest in birding and his wish to capture images of ‘rarities’. We decided to buy him an early Nikon compact digital camera which could be attached to his telescope for ‘digiscoping’. I was amazed to find how quickly he became very skilled at taking and editing his photos. By having instant access to his digital images he was able, using trial and error, to learn quite sophisticated photographic techniques and to produce high quality images that were bought by a number of bird magazines. This also led me to rekindle my interest in photography.
I started my digital photography with ‘bridge cameras’ from Olympus and Panasonic offering 10x and 12x optical zooms. Whilst they gave me some good early experience of digital techniques, the image quality was nowhere near that of my son’s photos taken on his Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras with good quality prime lenses (check out ‘Marc Read’ on Flickr). I eventually moved on to Pentax DSLRs – initially an *ist DS, then a K-r and now a K-5 attached to ‘pre-owned’ zoom lenses (10-24mm Tamron, 18-250mm Tamron and 170-500mm Sigma). Although these lenses cover most of my photographic requirements I feel that now I have got the camera body that I want, I should now really be looking to upgrading my lenses. Let’s hope for a lottery win soon!
If you could photograph anything, what would it be and why?
I would like to travel to Hong Kong and take candid shots of the markets and the boat people. Why? – because I really enjoyed the recent competition which featured “Street and Candid” Photography.
Since joining the camera club what have you learned that you didn't know before?
Since joining the club in 2012 I have learnt so much from both other members and the Judges – in particular how best to crop an image to optimise the composition. Also, at an early club meeting I learnt about the benefits of the Adobe Lightroom editing software and have been using it ever since. Just having the requirement to put together a set of competitive images for each of the club competitions has given me the motivation to strive for better composition, subject choice and image processing.
What is it you like about taking photographs?
As I have no skill at all with a paint brush or pencil I like to use a camera (and my computer for post-processing) to attempt to express some creativity.