I started doing photography in my fifties in 2001 (approximately). I had moved in with my
mother, who later became senile, to take care of her. Feeling more and more
"housebound," I wanted a hobby that would get me out of doors in the natural world and
moving around. I
had always been lousy at photography, having used several film Point & Shoot
over the years. So I decided to try a class and see if I could get half-way
decent at it.
I bought a film, all-manual camera, the Pentax K1000, and took a beginning photography class. (This was before DSLRs had really taken off.) While I found a lot of things frustrating, to my amazement I improved tremendously. Having interchangeable lenses and more control over exposure (f-stops, shutter speed, etc.) gave me a sense of how a good photograph could be produced. I was very proud of my first "successful" efforts, although I look at them now and think they were just passable. :-)
After that first class with Stephanie Williamson, I went on to take intermediate and advanced classes with Bill Helsel. He ends his advanced photography class with a little “show” (mainly seen by family and friends). Having taken the class three times, my focus has shifted more and more from just shooting what is out there to shooting what is in my head (a theme). Thanks, Bill.
I have also taken several Photoshop classes at a local city arts program, a studio portrait class with Jerry Ott, a landscape photography class with Christopher Foster, and attended two seminars: one given by John Shaw, and one by George Lepp. Each photographer/teacher has had something to offer and I've learned a lot from each. While none of them has been in the field with me helping me with my camera (I wish), each has had some unique expertise, that shared, enlightened me.
Somewhere in my photographic journey, I evolved the idea of combining photography and art work and am still working toward that end. I started out life as an artist and once oil painted (but got sidetracked by computer science, i.e. programming). The idea of merging the two, the technical and the artistic, excites me.
However, the users of PDML (Pentax Discussion Mailing List), tend to prefer their photography "straight," so most of the photographs you will see here are fairly unmanipulated. About six months into my photographic exploration I discovered the PDML email list online, and sharing my photos with its supportive and highly experienced members has been invaluable. So you will see many references to PDML, PESOs (Picture Every So Often), and GESOs (Gallery Every So Often), on these pages.
Equipment-wise, I migrated from the Pentax K-1000 to the Pentax ZX-5n, then to the Canon Elan, Canon Digital Rebel, Pentax K-100D, Canon XT, Canon XSi, and now the Canon Ti4. Most of my equipment I have bought used, except for two cameras and two lenses. When something no longer feels comfortable, when it feels like it is starting to limit me, I sell it on ebay and use the proceeds to partially defray the cost of another camera and/or lens. Thankfully, PDML members still welcome me, although I am a 100% Canon person now.
When I have a camera in my hands I look at the world differently -- appreciating everything more. Exploring an area and/or subject, moving around to get the best angle and framing, can be almost a contemplative process. But my photographic journey is far from complete, as I move closer and closer to merging it with art work.
Note that there are very few comments in these web pages, except for the four shows. So, although not a professional or great photographer, to help newbies, I decided to add some tips. Those below are culled from the classes I've taken and my personal experience.
All my photographs are copyrighted and none may be used without my permission (in any form).
Seven steps to becoming a better photographer:
Note: I am very flattered that when I sent Bill Helsel a link to this page, he
came and looked at my seven steps and decided to use them in his photography
class. Maybe he's not still using them, but he used them at least once. So
there, Rockwell! Heh. My photography web page is quoted too! (This will be
completely understandable to PDMLers.)
This web page was last updated 7/2/2017. Collage photos of me were shot in my twenties through my fifties.
59 Photographers, 16 Countries, 1 Book
Preview the inside of book and/or order online
"The Online Photographer's" comments about the book
Editor, Mark Robert's, web page about the book
Steve Cottrel, Cotty's, generous review of the book
(It's almost as good as he says it is.)
|I have photographs in both of these PDML Photo Annuals and one more. They have continued up to the present day. Currently the last one is the 2017 edition. But since I became a 100% Canon person, I have not had photographs in them since 2014.|