Practical Photography

From much of the research I have done concerning photographic techniques and photographic equipment, I have found much inaccurate information and also people expounding positions that they cannot support with fact.  There are a few exceptions such as Thom Hogan, who is a true professional and he knows how to use and test his equipment. 

My point is that photography really is about the creative process, not about equipment.  The best example of this is Chase Jarvis’ book and website, The Best Camera is the one you have with you.  This book may be the best example that great photos are not equipment dependent.  This work really humbled me, and inspired me at the same time.  The great Marc Silber interview with Chase Jarvis can be seen here

Photography for me began when I purchased a used Nikon FE (Manual Focus) in good condition from a friend (20 years ago), then I had it rebuilt, and found that many lenses could be found cheap because auto focus lenses were just becoming popular.  It was happy days to find mint condition Nikkor 135 F2.5 AIS lens or the 105 f2 AIS lens for $50 at the local camera shop, and I splurged on a Tokina 70-210 f3.5 used for $75.  A year or so later, I picked up a first production Canon Rebel, with auto focus.  I had the Canon 50 1.8 AF and the 70-300 f4.5-5.6 lens.  For some reason the images taken with the Nikon always were sharper than the Canon, though the Canon got rave reviews in the press.  I ended up shelving the Canon and used my Nikon equipment for years for good effect.

The Nikon FE and assorted lenses wrapped in a towel traveled the country with me in a suede Jansport backpack to numerous Greatful Dead shows and also through the mountains of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, among other places.  The Nikon equipment still works perfectly today, and the Jansport backpack is still my camera bag of choice when traveling with a lot of gear.

As an early adopter of digital photography (and computers), I’ve seen the changes from the early 3 mega pixel consumer cameras to what is available today. My first digital camera Coolpix 995(?) to the Coolpix 5700, a D70s and now my current camera is a D90.  These are the best consumer grade Digital Nikon’s available in their day.  Until the D70s, I really would have been better off image wise with the Nikon FE film camera, but the hassles and cost of processing film and scanning them into computers for use back in the late ’90’s and early 2000’s really pushed me into digital photography. 

For those of us that want to create great images on a reasonable budget, I will try to impart my experience here to help make reasonable decisions about camera equipment and technique.  This is not intended for the Pros, as their needs and budgets are much greater than most of us ‘hobbyists’.  Please take my observations with a grain of salt!

~ Dark

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