The Photographic Journey
I discovered photography at a young age, raised by a father with an obsession with cameras, mainly Olympus OM variants, and surrounded by old copies of Amateur Photographer. He taught me all about the vagaries of film speed and the differences between film manufacturers, Ilford and Fuji being particular favorites. By the time I reached my fifteenth birthday I was desperate for a camera of my own. I rather lucked in at this point as I had chosen to study Combined Science as one of my C.S.E options. Along with the usual biology and chemistry elements it transpired that part of the syllabus covered photography, I imagine more to do with the chemicals required to develop and print film and images than as a basic photography course. After a period of intense lobbying and negotiation with Dad it was agreed that he would put up the money for my new camera and i would repay him the princely sum of £1 on a weekly basis from my paper round wages. The day arrived and we set off to Weymouth to peruse the camera shop eventually settling on a beautiful Fujika STX1 35mm.
I would carry this with me practically everywhere I went and i still own it to this day, albeit slightly more disheveled in its appearance!
Thoughts of becoming the next David Bailey after leaving school were soon put aside as the realities of finding paid work in mid 80's Britain soon took charge. Sadly the next thirty years disappeared in a blur of Apprenticeship, HM Prison Service, Managerial roles and Self Employment coupled with the occasional purchase of a small point and click digital camera used to merrily snap holidays, birthdays, Christmas etc. The best of these was a lovely little Canon IXUS II, another great gift from my Father. I still carry this great little camera in the car today and it has never let me down.
It was during a well earned coffee break in the middle of Christmas shopping in 2012 that I purchased a copy of Digital Camera magazine and was blown away by how much technology had moved on in the thirty odd years since I had my first SLR camera. I was instantly hooked and decided there and then that I would raise the funds for a new camera. Now those that know me well will tell you that once a decision has been made to buy a new toy I am something of a geek researching ad infinitum every last possible option for weeks on end. At the end of this process I finally settled on a shiny new Nikon D3100. This was to become a complete obsession over the next 18 months, moving on from shooting in full auto mode with JPEG output to re-learning all the nuances of Aperture or Shutter priority, ISO, Exposure Compensation, White Balance et al. Not to mention understanding RAW files and the processing there of!!
I have to give credit where it's due now and tip my hat to the easy going brilliance of Mr Mike Browne and his tutorial videos on YouTube and his website.
I learnt an incredible amount in a relatively short time thanks to Mike and his videos and his influence on my photography has been brilliant.
It was while watching one of Mike's films that I was introduced to another great influence on my photography, Monsieur Serge Ramelli, his wonderfully informative videos on all things Photoshop and Lightroom have raised my RAW processing skills to the giddy heights of being confident enough to display them on photography websites such as Flickr and 500px and receive some really lovely feedback and constructive advice.
The rather steep learning curve that was climbed during 2013 made me want to learn more and get better equipment to allow me to try new experiences and develop further. I made the decision in April of this year to upgrade my camera to the fantastic Nikon D7100 and to invest in different lens options.
I had discovered a very real love for landscape photography, trying to capture ever more dramatic skies so a dedicated wide angle lens was top of my research list, ebay was to be my saviour here and I took a leap of faith and bought a second hand Tokina 12-24mm that is in mint condition and certainly built to last, i can thoroughly recommend it.
My wonderful wife gave me a ballheaded tripod, dedicated flash gun and disk reflector for Christmas and thus my kit was "complete!" Well for now anyway!.