WHAT AM I DOING PHOTOGRAPHICALLY?
I'm a fortunate amateur photographer - my family indulge and encourage my interest. Fortunate also to combine photographic practice with holiday travel. I try other subjects opportunistically and aspire to quality natural history work.
I've toyed with cameras since my teens. Later, in the mid 1970's, I learned the mechanics of photography and for a while developed and printed my own B&W work.
As an ICT specialist the potential of digital cameras was obvious and I got my first in 1999. Image quality was unsatisfactory and I continued with film, mostly. Improved price/performance brought DSLRs within my reach in 2003. I bought Canon to compliment my film equipment.
Since retiring from work, I've invested more time trying to improve my photography. Having enjoyed some success at my local camera club, I tried for more formal recognition. I achieved CPAGB in November 2011.
WHAT’S IN THE BAG?
Digital SLR, three zoom lenses (16-35, 28-70, 70-200) and a 2x extender. I use Canon L Series zooms for their relatively wide aperture and decent image quality.
The kit’s downsides are:
(a) Cost. But I bought two of the three lenses second hand. Still not cheap but they are very durable and will hold their value. This astute move will benefit my estate.
(b) Weight. Tourist class flights give me 5kgs of cabin baggage. The camera bag consumes that and more. There’s no such thing a gentle stroll when carrying the full kit.
(c) Obtrusive bulk. The camera does not fit in my wife’s evening bag on social events or my anorak pocket during rainy walks. We have a small Canon “sidearm” camera for such occasions. It has an sub-aqua housing too - ideal for beach holidays and British weather.
I've also added some prime lenses (50mm, 100mm macro, 200mm & 300mm) and find their image quality even better than the zooms. That said, the 28mm-70mm zoom is the lens I use most.
I have a cheap & cheerful tripod that gets little use. Hand held or wall-supported works most of the time. My wife is conveniently shorter than me. Given a thick woollen hat, she becomes a very acceptable bipod. We’re inseparable, despite all her efforts.
On the SLR, I shoot raw format for the additional latitude it provides. Few shots are truly repeatable so I want the fullest possible record.
I now use Photoshop CS for image processing, after 3 years of PS Elements. PS proper does much more than I need but Elements v3 constrained 16 bit image processing.
I used a Canon A3 colour printer for a while but found it too expensive. For any serious work, I now use specialist printing firms.