BORING PAGE ON MY
EQUIPMENT & HOW
I GOT INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY
(anorak mode engaged!!)
MAIN CURRENT EQUIPMENT
NIKON D3s & D200 digital SLR
Sigma, Tamron & Nikon
Lenses from 10mm to 500mm
1.4x & 1.7x teleconvertors : Macro extension tubes & Vivitar 'macro-ring flash'
Nikon SB, Metz, Sunpak, Starblitz
Multiblitz Portable studio flash units
HISTORY (so far!)
I started taking photos while still at
school (Carrickfergus Secondary boo!), In the early 70's a friend's uncle took us both to the
Ulster Grand Prix, my first ever bike race, I was instantly hooked, the speed,
smell and excitement was like nothing I had experienced before.
I started going to more
motorcycle races and wanted to get some shots to keep, got a free camera with a
promotion on Corn Flakes or something like that!, an unbranded 110 film compact.
Very disappointing results, read Amateur Photographer magazine and learned that
I needed better gear. While saving up my pocket money for a 35mm SLR I used a
126 film compact. Bought my first 'proper' camera in 1976, a Zenith E 35mm SLR
and a couple of cheap 'screw fit' lenses. Phenomenal difference in image quality
immediately!!, fully manual camera, it was a great learning tool, teaching me
about shutter speed/lens aperture relationships to get both the correct exposure
as well as affecting the final image. I find that even now with auto
program & focusing etc. I still set the camera using manual for many of my
shots, I feel this can give me more consistency in my results (although I may be
wrong but I still don't fully trust the camera to pick the settings I want! ...
unless there is now a telepathy setting!!).
When I got my first job & wage packet I bought an Olympus OM10 (with manual
adapter!!) and a zoom lens, this along with an autowinder meant I was soon using
up film (and money!!) by the lorry load. Joined my local camera club
(Carrickfergus Camera Club) and learned much from the more experienced members
of the club. Started developing (pun) an interest in doing my own Monochrome
printing, found it very satisfying to be involved in the whole image producing
process from start to finish.
Over the next few years I upgraded my equipment, staying with the Olympus gear
as I found it to be small, light (even with motordrives attached) and very
reliable (Only once did I have to send a camera for repair when the shutter
jammed on my OM2N). The size was very important to me as I was increasingly
carrying more and more gear with me on my motorcycle to the different races etc.
For scenic and 'still' shots I got some 120 roll film gear (Bronica ETRS) and was astounded by
the smoothness and clarity, especially in monochrome, available with this
format. After buying my first house in 1986 I converted one of the bedrooms into
a darkroom and was able to work 'til the 'wee' hours printing my results from
that days shooting. As my job has always involved shift working the disruption
to my sleep pattern seemed normal to me!.
I found the local camera club to be of great help as entering the monthly
competitions challenges you to look at different aspects and subjects of
photography, outside your normal interests. For the next 10 years or so I was
fortunate enough to be asked to other clubs etc to give talks on both sports
photography as well as basic darkroom techniques, meeting many other people with
the same interests always results in ideas and tips. The fact that I live in a
country with many natural, historic and photogenic subjects helps immensely!
During the late 80's a friends son started racing in the junior moto-x locally
and I went along to help and get a few photos, soon most of the other mums and
dads wanted photos of their kids and I was able to supply many of them with what
small profit being used to buy my friend's son the occasional tyre or moto-x
shirt etc. Getting to know the event organizers, and being the only
'regular' photographer at the meetings I was able to get into many of the
restricted areas to get the best shot (occasional 'near miss' but never got
crashed into, luckily!!). Often my photos were used in local and national papers
& magazines promoting or reporting on the events.
Around this time I purchased a scanner (hand held) for my Atari ST computer and
started scanning some photos and manipulating them on screen, results were
absolutely dreadful!!, the resolutions available for both screen and basic
printers would resemble a picture made with 'Lego' blocks!, it was 10 years too
soon to get any useable results, but a good learning experience nonetheless.
During the 90's many things happened to take up my time, marriage, kids, playing
in a band and working part time in a recording studio as well as my full time
job. Very little time for 'serious' photography, just snaps of the kids etc.
(not to put family snaps down, in the long run they will be the most important
shots you will probably take!!) with the occasional serious job (usually an
album cover shoot or publicity shots connected with the music recording studio).
In 1999 I went back to school (evening classes) and took up a photography class
to rekindle my interest in 'serious' photography.
My interest in computing led me to try the world of digital photography and I
purchased a Kodak compact digital camera, the quality was surprisingly good and
with a good quality printer I was able to produce results to compete with my
35mm gear (in colour anyway). The biggest difference was the expense, no more
film & processing costs!! which at the height of my interest in the 80's I
had been using between 10-15 films at a motorcycle race!. Now I can take photos,
do any manipulation on the PC and print out just the best work at minimal cost.
The computer also has the benefit of allowing me to restore old photos very
conveniently, It's great for retouching and repairing images, often very old
Black & White, which people would bring to see if I can 'clean' them up or
provide extra prints of. With time and patience even the worst scored or ripped
photo can usually be made the best of.
I found that as my interest increased the limitations of a small zoom compact
camera became more and more apparent and I purchased a Fuji
digital SLR with a 6x optical zoom (equivalent to 35-210mm focal length), with
supplementary lenses available to increase (or decrease) the focal length as
required. With spot and multi zone metering as well as programmed, aperture
priority, shutter priority and manual settings as well as a host of other 'user'
settings. I then purchased a Nikon D70 digital SLR with
interchangeable lens, a few Nikon Lenses, a 50mm 'prime' lens (Mainly
for low light, Macro with ext. rings & portraits), an 18-70mm, 70-300,
80-200mm f2.8 & Nikkor 300mm
( also a 1.7x teleconverter, 'crop' factor of 1.5 on digital sensor gives an equivalent 35mm image size
range of approx 27-630mm )
From 2004 until 2011 I supplied photographs for some local,
National & International motorsports magazines (Irish
Racer, Dirt MX, Acceller8, Dirt Bike Rider, plus a couple of Italian
& Spanish magazines used some of my Road Racing pics in articles) & Organisations (2&4
wheel steering group, Motorcycle Racing Association, Northern Ireland Motorcycle
tours & many m/cycle clubs), mainly (but not exclusively!) youth moto-X
& Supermoto (I was DirtMX Magazine's youth MX & Supermoto photographer as well as
one of the pool of photographers which supplied Irish Racer magazine) .
From 2012, for various
reasons, I will be greatly reducing my media work and branching into more varied
( TOLD YOU IT WAS A BORING