Sunday, August 14, 2005
Here's a sample picture to start off my photoblog, taken with a borrowed Pentax 67 medium format camera after a winter storm on Kitt Peak.
This is the first post in my photo blog. Before we get into any images, here's a bit of an introduction. My day (and night) job is as a Planetary Scientist, so a lot of my images revolve around observatories and telescopes. As a scientist, I have always been curious about the world (and Universe) around me. I love photographing landscapes as well as existing light scenes. Space is another fascination and watching Apollo moonlandings as a young boy influenced the path of my life ever since. I first picked up a camera about 30 years ago as a teenager, but it was a few years later before I started shooting pictures myself. As a Junior and Senior in High School, my folks had set up a darkroom and I started taking pictures and developing and printing them. I had a Canon EX Auto that my Dad gave me at that time and I used it until it was stolen when I was a Junior in college. I replaced it with a Pentax K1000 which taught me photography like only a manual camera can. I wore that camera out over the next 12 or 13 years. My friend David gave me a cheap Russian medium format TLR which gave me a taste of shooting medium format. I replaced that with a Yashicamat 124G medium format TLR. For snapshots, I shot a 35mm point and shoot camera. Using the Yashicamat taught me to take a lot more care in setting up and taking photographs given the limited number of images on each roll. I shot mostly transparency film with the Yashicamat and about the time I got my first digital point and shoot, the shutter on the Yashicamat broke. I've still got my folks darkroom equipment, but I haven't set it up and used it in probably about 10 years. I never had a really dark dark room in our current house and used changing bags and printed at night in a small bathroom that, thanks to a window, was never terribly dark. That and after hours of working in the tight space, it got hot and stuffy in the small room, even with the exhaust fan on.
My first digital camera was a Fuji Finepix 2650, a nice inexpensive point and shoot. I shot lots of pictures with it, but discovered its limitations far too quickly. It was slow, had limited shutter and aperture settings, and essentially no manual mode. In short, the camera controled me and the pictures I could take. After about 18 months with the camera, while out on a hike, I dropped the camera on the lens barrel, breaking it loose. I made due with the camera - holding the lens to the camera, but started looking seriously at its replacement. I really liked the higher end point and shoots like the Nikon 5400 and the Nikon 5700 and 8700s. I visited a Best Buy and compared the Nikon 8700 side by side with the Canon Powershot Pro1 and found I liked the feel of the Canon camera. I also visited a Ritz camera to examine the Nikon 8700 and the saleseman suggested I look at another camera that was close to the same price - he pulled a Canon Digital Rebel off the shelf. It took me a little while to warm to the idea and my budget was pushing me to cheaper cameras anyway, so in October 2004, I bought a Canon A75 which had 3.2 Megapixels and a manual exposure mode amongst other things. By the time I bought the A75, I had already found my dream camera - the Canon 20D, newly released in August 2004 by Canon. But alas, my budget was nowhere near that camera, so I was hoping maybe a Digital Rebel might somehow fit into my budget....
Finally in the spring of this year, we decided to refinance the house and pay off those lowsy credit cards and a few other things that were dragging us down, so I was able to pad the refinance amount a bit to include a budget for a digital SLR. I purchased a Canon 20D which arrived on May 12 of this year. I made sure to buy a 2 Gig Sandisk Ultra II CF memory card, an extra battery, a nice Bogen tripod and a pair of Sigma lenses. Needless to say, I've been really happy with this setup and as of today, just 3 months after receiving the camera, I've shot over 7400 images with it!