From a young kid onwards I have always been interested in photography. This was strongly influenced by my father who also had a vivid interest in photography and film. I remember making my first B/W prints together with him in a darkroom that he had created in a large cupboard under the stairs. A red light on the outside prevented other family members to walk in unexpectedly whilst we were working so prevented ruining the prints, or even worse a whole package of photo paper.
Years later I joined a photo club, and not much later I was printing countless B/W prints in my own dark room, that was now an integral part of the guest room of the two apartments where I lived during that time. At the club we worked on several projects and visited exhibitions, it certainly was an eye opener.
The whole experience helped me to raise my pictures from simple snapshots to well considered photographs with a feel for composition, depth of field and lightning. I had a long way to go and my trips abroad were always a welcome excuse to broaden my experience in an exotic setting. Traveling is another great passion of mine and I never leave the country without my camera kit, for me an essential way to document the trip and secure great memories.
Those were the analog days where 35mm films were transported, safely secured in a leaden bag to protect them from damaging x-rays at airports. Obviously, the number of photo-rolls I could take with me was limited, hence the number of pictures taken. As a consequence of that one had to be far more careful with the composition and execution of each shot. It had to be right the very first time or an impression was lost. As I was making slides from my travel photography there was no possibility to edit or crop the pictures afterwards, I believe that because of this limitation I trained my eyes to lay focus on the composition and adjust the settings of the camera in such a way that it would deliver the picture I envisioned in the first place.
In 2006 Paul and I made a journey to Australia and this was the first time I would be using a digital camera. A friend of mine was so kind to lend me his Canon kit and after a test run at the Gaia Zoo I was ready to document our adventure with new techniques. We returned with almost 1500 pictures, way more than I would have been able to make with an analogue camera. Once home I was introduced to a part of photography I had never done before, editing the pictures…
I still had to get used to the countless possibilities of digital photography and although I was extremely pleased with the result of my editing, a number of years later I decided to re-edit the pictures from Australia as by now I had better software and more experience then when I started in 2006. Initially I used Adobe Photoshop on a Windows based PC but as I got frustrated by the complexity of photoshop, the lack of a proper workflow and additionally the lack of a quality HD slideshow software on a Windows platform I decided to migrate to an iMac, a decision I never regretted.
Not much later after our return from Australia I decided to say farewell to analog photography and bought my first digital camera myself, a Sony Alpha 100. Previously I had been shooting with Minolta equipment. After the uprise of digital camera’s the Minolta Camera brand was sold to Sony who successfully continued the development. With my choice for Sony I avoided I had to start from scratch as I could still use my old lenses and peripherals.
The next couple of years my photo library constantly grew with new memories. I realized however that my old slides were missing from this collection and so I started to look for a way to include them to my digital library. I bought the Plustek 7600i photo scanner and that is when the painstaking process started of scanning all the pictures. Each picture was scanned 4 times. Normal exposure, overexposed (In order to catch the detail in the darker areas of the picture), underexposed (to catch the detail in the brighter areas of the picture) and finally an Infrared scan in order to eliminate dust and scratches. After that was completed the four pictures were rendered into one and saved to disk, 5 minutes after I initiated the scan… What was left was the final editing.
Needless to say this took me a couple of years in which my photo library grew to a staggering 2.2 Terabyte but now I am extremely pleased to have all my pictures from 1985 onwards in a digital library. I spent countless hours behind my Mac in order to edit pictures, create a slideshow with a great storyboard and a matching soundtrack. For those of you who are interested here’s an overview of the software I use.
Aperture 3 (Photo Editing + Photo Books)
iMovie 10.1.5 (Slideshow Storyboard & Special Effects)
FotoMagico 5.4.2 Pro (Photo Sequences for Slideshow)
Amadeus Pro 1.4.5 (Soundtrack)
iDVD 7.1.2 (DVD Authoring)
MAMP 5,3, WordPress 5.2, Yummie FTP 1.11.14 Pro (Website)
A couple of years later I swapped my first digital camera for a Sony Alpha 550. More pixels, more possibilities and better pictures at high ISO values.
For several years I was very pleased with that camera but during my trip to Sri Lanka in 2016 I noticed I was running into limitations once again so I upgraded to the Sony Alpha 77 II. It was also time to extend the glasswork so I bought some additional lenses, wide angle, ultra zoom and finally a macro lens. I now feel my kit is complete, at least for the next couple of years when new technology will be undoubtedly available again and I will feel once more restricted by the current setup… But right now I am extremely pleased and am still in the middle of the process of learning the extensive features of my camera.
For the techies amongst you I have placed an overview of my kit I will most likely be be using for the next couple of years.
Sony ALPHA 77 II
Sony HVL-F36AM External Flash Unit
Tamron 10-24/3,5-4,5 DI II LD
Tamron 17-50/2,8 SP XR DI II LD
Tamron 70-200/2,8 VC USD
Tamron 150-600/5-6.3 VC USD
Tamron 90/2,8 Di VC USD Macro
Rollei C5I Carbon Tripod
LowePro ProTactic 350AW Camerabag
MPortable II SSD Storage
Basically I always carry my complete kit with the exemption of the 150-600 lens and the tripod, I only take those along when the situation requires so.
With being retired by now I revived my interest in photography and decided to bring it to a higher level. I plan to make many more field trips in the area.
I have also opened a virtual exhibition on flickr, where I present a selection of my best work from the moment I migrated to digital photography in 2006. Working on this exhibition also inspired me to go back to my roots and convert some of my work back to black and white.
Although I can see improvement of my work over the years I feel I have not reached my top yet. I need to work on improving my macro photography, something I have just started on, but also on other areas there is still plenty to learn. For sure a guarantee for many hours of pleasure. In the near future I intend to place more albums on my virtual exhibition so watch that space…