My Photo Story

I was introduced to photography in the mid-1970's as a way to get out of an extra study-hall in school. I had a good teacher and took to it pretty easily. Before long, I had my own black-and-white darkroom where I developed film and prints.

I purchased my film in bulk and rolled it into film canisters, making it far more economical than buying film by the roll in stores.

Although my life would take many twists and turns over the years, I always came back to my first-love: photography.

In 1989, I lost all my black-and-white negatives due to a flooded basement. Oh well, time to start over. In the 90's, I got into photo retail and used that as a means of sharing my love of this wonderful art form with others. 

I vividly remember the day the very first shipment of an affordable consumer-level digital camera arrived in our store. Several of us stood over the box, gazing at this new wonder (with a whopping 640x480 resolution) and someone actually said: "Well, here we go."

We all knew what he meant.

Up until then, digital cameras were insanely expensive, like any new technology. A digital SLR camera was easily in excess of $100,000. A few years later, it dropped by half to around $50,000 and would continue this downward trend.

Now, as we looked at this new little toy, little did we realize just how much digital cameras would completely obliterate the photo industry as we knew it, while at the same time giving everyone on the planet far greater access to photography.

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The film industry and local 1-hour film processing labs are just one small example of industries that could not survive the transition to digital technology. Film is making a comeback, but it will never be what it was.

We lost a lot of truly great films because of digital, but we have also gained tremendously in the process.

In 2004, I stepped into the digital arena when I purchased my first DSLR camera. It didn't take long to adjust to the digital world and adapted my darkroom post-processing techniques to this new realm.

All was well, until I got hit with consecutive injuries which completely sidelined me, even to the point that I was unable to pick up a camera for at least a year.

I decided to use this time wisely and treat it like going back to school.

I dived into anything that was photography and post-processing related and I kept LOTS of notes. I could only be at the computer for no more than 10 minutes at a time, and that was only with very long rest periods in between.

So I planned out these 10 minute sessions very carefully. I did test after test for each new technique I found. Over time, I yielded surprising results and it completely changed my workflow.

By the time I was healed enough that I could have longer computer-time, I applied some of these techniques to images I had previously worked on. I compared the results and instantly knew I had to start all over again. Just like before, sometimes you have to start fresh.

I had a few false starts as I refined my workflow, but soon things were going as smooth as glass, and I was very satisfied with the results.

Now, I turn my attention to what I shot on film from the period of 1990 until just after 2005, when my supply of film was finally depleted. I did keep one unused roll of my all-time favorite film, AGFA Ultra 50, for my bookshelf. For old times sake.

My photographs are taken from day-trips, long trips, camping trips (both together and solo) as well as things I would encounter in my everyday life. If it caught my attention and I had a camera, I photographed it. Looking back at all my photographs over the years, I easily see what I did right and what I did wrong.

I had a very good teacher and I always tried to be one to others. The Photo Basics area is just another way of doing just that.

It was not uncommon for me to talk with people if I felt they needed a tip or two, often to the surprise of my traveling companions. You meet people from all over the world and we photo buffs have to keep together and share what we know. Indeed, the best conversations I had were with people from other countries who were just astounded at the deep, rich colors our foliage season offered.

So, that's my story. Like many camera buffs of my time, I grew up developing my own black-and-white film and I was just another eye-witness to how digital would completely transform it.

I have always encouraged people who want to start their journey in photography by telling them to photograph what they love. It doesn't matter if it's scenery or their family, as long as they are enjoying themselves.

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