My photographic journey

My first camera

From a very early age, I have always loved taking photos. My aunty Margaret gave me my first camera for my ninth or tenth birthday. From that time on I was hooked.

I don’t remember what brand of camera it was, some cheap kid-proof one I guess, but it didn’t matter, I was able to capture a moment in time and preserve it forever, and I loved it!

I still have an album full of my first grainy pics. Looking at them now you realize how far photography (and technology) has come since then. But again, it didn’t matter too much, although I do remember thinking (even back then) that I wish they were clearer.

Remember, we’re going back a while now when camera and film quality wasn’t very good, not at the bottom end of the market anyway.

From as far back as I can remember I always had a camera close by, nothing flash though, just little Instamatics and the like. They were cheap and very portable.

The most expensive part of owning a camera back then was buying and developing film. But having your film developed was also the most exciting part of it all.

Waiting with anticipation to see how your pics turned out was usually a long waiting game (days sometimes), and in most instances (unfortunately for me) with pretty poor results.

Film processing

I remember as a kid, taking my films to the local pharmacy to be developed (yes the pharmacy (the chemist in Australia and the drugstore in the U.S)) This was before the days of the 1hour processing labs -and wow, what a revolutionary idea that was at the time. You didn’t have to wait for days anymore, only a few hours even if they were really busy.

It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties and living in Hong Kong that I could finally afford an SLR camera. That's still a film camera we’re talking about here, but I was so excited.

I remember playing with it for weeks, I felt like a kid again at Christmas time.

Now I could actually change the lenses on my camera! I was fascinated by that and intrigued by the zoom lenses themselves. 

Hong Kong was a great place to own a good camera too, there were fantastic photos to be taken around every corner. That’s when I started using better quality films too and having them processed in proper professional labs, that provided things like “proof sheets” (if you wanted them).

I wasn’t a pro photographer, of course, I was working in Hong Kong as a chef. But most of my spare time was spent with my camera in hand.

I did think about becoming a professional photographer a couple of times, but circumstances never seemed to allow for it. I also studied photography for a while back in the late '90s but couldn’t finish the course due to my work commitments. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

I did, however, work semi-professionally from time to time, shooting a number of weddings and Christenings. Most of that was still in the days of film. Once everything became digital though I got a bit lost with all the technical stuff for a long while and still have trouble getting around things like “photoshop” and histograms.

My first SLR

The Minolta Maxxum 7000 film camera

My first SLR camera was a Minolta 7000, and I used Minolta cameras right up till Minolta stopped making SLR’s. This was not that long after the digital revolution had begun, but for some reason, Minolta decided at the time, that they weren’t going to produce digital SLRs.

They did, however, merge with Konica in 2003 to form Konica Minolta and then later, in 2006, merged with Sony, producing a number of digital cameras at that time.

I didn’t like digital cameras at all when they first came out, so I stuck to my film photography for as long as I could. It wasn’t until it became too expensive and more difficult to find good processing labs, that I finally decided it was time to go digital.

The picture quality and technology by then had improved considerably, so I finally took the plunge (after much research) and purchased my first D-SLR camera, which was in 2009.

I decided to go with Nikon in the end and now have two Nikon cameras. The first was the Nikon D300, and the second was the Nikon D7200, which was basically the replacement to the D300 with a few added features like HD video recording – cool!

Both are great cameras, with great picture quality. The D7200 has a 24-megapixel sensor and can shoot a rapid 6 frames per second (fps). They are built well with ergonomic and intuitive control dials.

My Nikon, Tamron, Sigma and old Minolta lenses

At last count, I had over 10,000 images stored on my computer (now downloaded to an external hard drive) and probably many hundreds of photos stored in boxes packed away in cupboards somewhere.

My biggest dilemma of course is – what do we do with all these photos?? And I really don’t have an answer to that question yet. Perhaps I will create a website that allows others to use them, at least that way they’ll get used for something.

I’ve also got many boxes of old film negatives that I’m pretty sure will never get used again either, but I can’t bring myself to throw any of them out either.

Luckily a few of my favorite pics from over the years made it into frames and get hung on the walls from time to time, but there again, most of those are prints from film, funny about that.

We really don’t print nearly as many photos these days as we used to. As for the rest, I guess I’ll just have to find a way to share them.

Avalon Air Show Victoria

I love taking photos of just about anything. Every different event or scenario always has its own set of challenges, and I love working out how I’m going to get around those challenges to get the shot that I want.

Sometimes it works out and sometimes it just doesn’t. Wheather and certain circumstances can be very cruel sometimes, especially if you’ve only got one shot at it.

I once printed a photo book (from digital pics) that I shot at the Avalon Air Show in Victoria. What a wonderful event. It's held at the Avalon Airport near Geelong every second year.

 

I also have a love for car racing, particularly the Supercars series held every year throughout Australia. They are particularly difficult to shoot though because of all the fencing and barriers around the track and the fact that you tend to be a fair distance away from the cars themselves.

I find Sandown (an outer suburb of Melbourne) a little easier to grab a decent shot though as there are a few spots where you are on an incline and have a free line of sight over the fencing.

It’s still quite a challenge though as the cars move very quickly …practice your panning techniques before you go!


I remember wishing that it was me!
Pit lane tension

There's always a great buzz in pit-lane during a race. The whole atmosphere around the track is infectious and with the roar of all those V8 engines roaring past you all day long you can’t help but have a great day out. If you’ve never been, give it a go some time.

So whatever your next adventure is – don’t forget to take your camera!

Happy snapping everyone.

If you're interested in getting your hands on great cameras and equipment click the links below.

Nikon cameras

Nikon lenses

Canon cameras

Canon lenses

Sigma lenses

Tamron lenses