Photography

The first camera I ever got my hands on was a Box Brownie my family used when I was an infant. I still have one image that I know of that was taken with that camera, of myself aged 4 covered in chocolate cake, but once I was a little older my siblings and I used to have fun snapping naive pictures of our lives growing up on the River Thames at Hammersmith and on holidays.

The first "proper" camera I ever owned was a 35mm Kodak Retina folding camera I acquired about fifth-hand from someone. It was a rickety old thing, but I was fascinated by the degree of control I suddenly had over exposure and focus (compared to anything I'd used previously) and had great fun in my late teens going out at night and taking long exposures of light trails on the A4 and experimenting, particularly with light. I had little idea about composition in those days, though, and was still pretty inexpert. Lots of the enprints went straight in the bin, but I still have some of them!

Greece

When I spent 18 months working in Greece as a rep for the Aegina Club, I took that folding 35mm camera with me. As a record of that period of my life, I still enjoy looking through the albums of enprints I have of those days, but, although I understood f-stops and the relationship between shutter-speed, aperture and the ASA rating of the film, I still had little idea about composition and those images are little more than faded snapshots.

I suppose everyone who ends up becoming a reasonably proficient photographer goes through that sort of a stage, especially now. It's more tempting to be snap-happy in this digital age, when you can instantly see the result of what you've taken. Back in the 1970's, before digital cameras arrived on the scene there was no such instant gratification and very often the opportunity was gone if it turned out you had got the exposure wrong.

Olympus OM2n

In 1974 I came back from Greece and started my time at Manchester University. I was frustrated by the lack of scope of that old folding camera and in 1977 after I joined the Police I splashed out on an Olympus OM2n and started to acquire some different lenses. Over the next 20 years I ended up a good selection of OM-fit lenses and by now had acquired a bit more expertise in using them to good effect.

After I joined Greater Manchester Police in 1977 I started going to the local Camera Club in Bury. That taught me a lot, seeing other people's work, discussing techniques and tips, and learning from enthusiasts who were much more proficient and experienced than me.

Latter-day 35mm Years

In 1990 I met my future wife, Naomi, and over the next few years we acquired a Minolta Dynax 7000i. I enjoyed using that as well as my aging OM2n, but was so busy with my Police career that I was finding increasingly less time for serious photography. Additionally the cost of developing and processing film and then traipsing down to PCL in Salford or Didsbury Colour Labs to get enlargements done.

In time, though, digital cameras arrived on the scene and the longest-lived we had was a Nikon Coolpix E995. The cheapness of digital was quite a factor and although the sensor size was tiny in those days, I gradually abandoned (and eventually sold) my OM2n and the Dynax and, for a while, stopped doing any serious photography.

Nikon D100

In 2004 we were on holiday in Tenerife and dawdling around Las Americas and decided to get back into SLRs. I couldn't afford a Nikon D1, but my budget at the time would stretch to a couple of D100 bodies, a 17-35mm wide-angle zoom and an 80-200mm telephoto zoom for me, and a 28-100mm general purpose zoom for Naomi. This acquisition spurred me back into serious photography.

Although I'll take pictures of almost anything I see that interests me, landscape photography has always been my first love and that and subsequent holidays in Tenerife, Spain, Portugal and Greece gave me ample opportunity to reacquire lost skills and learn new ones. Over time I acquired a 12-24mm extreme wide-angle lens and that kit did me proud up till 2014.

Nikon D2X & Sony RX100

By 2014 the D100's 6 megapixel sensor wasn't cutting it.

Then my D100 body's innards packed up so I invested a massive 300 in a second-hand D2X body, and also acquired a couple of other lenses to add to my collection, the 105mm MicroNikkor telephoto and the awesome 18-300mm general purpose zoom.

Naomi always found the D100 a bit bulky for her purposes and we got her a little Sony RX100 Mk2 (which I occasionally use, too), which is a fully-featured little 20 megapixel cameras she could easily slip into her pocket.

Current Kit

My current setup consists of:

  • Nikon D2X &
    Nikon D100 (for emergencies LOL)
  • Nikkor AF 50mm f1.4
  • Nikkor AF-S 17-35mm f2.8
  • Nikkor AF-S 80-200mm f2.8
  • Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f1.4
  • Micro-Nikkor AF-S 105mm f2.8
  • Nikkor AF-S 18-300mm f3.5
  • Nikon SB-910 Speedlight with
    Nikon R1 Wireless Commander Kit (2 x SB-R200)
  • Nikon ML-3 Infrared Remote Release
  • Giottos Tripod
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