I don’t consider myself much of a technical photographer, I’m more of a snapper. I’ve little interest in things like depth of field effects, specialised lenses, studio photography and processing techniques. I do have an understanding of such technical concepts, but my primary interest has always been composition and image.
Back as a teen I shot and processed a lot of 35mm film and developed B&W photographs myself with varying results. Back then I shot with a Praktica SLR and used Kodax TMAX film. I shot a lot with the wide angle lens, magenta filters and sometimes a tripod and studio set-up. This was my first real introduction to photography, fed and nurtured by our school’s French teacher who brought the subject to life for us pupils as an aside to his regular job.
During the latter half of the 1990s, my SLR use declined, and I shot with an APC camera, having everything processed by various commercial developing services. Around 2002 I started using digital cameras, first through work where we had an early Sony Mavica that saved shots onto a 3.5inch Floppy Disk (2-3 images per disc) and then through my camera which had less than a megapixel resolution and no zoom. That was a Fujifilm camera which I bought on eBay for a bargain price at the time, and it served me well for a couple of years.
Eventually, I upgraded to a small point and click camera with a zoomable lens. I think that first one was a Mavica with around a 3MP resolution. I shot a lot with that little camera while it lasted. For me, one of the most significant issues with digital cameras is their longevity. I’ve been through a lot of different digital cameras over the years since that first one, by my estimate I would say roughly one per two years.
I’ve had small point-and-click cameras by Sony, Panasonic and Canon, as well as a Canon DSLR, which I didn’t use much preferring the simplicity of the smaller cameras. The last couple of years I’ve settled on Canon PowerShot camera (currently an SX710 HS) with a massive 30x optical zoom and a bit of wide-angle at the other end. I think it has the right balance of size, weight, quality and lens options for my money, but despite that, I don’t use it as much as my phone!
The last ten years or so, my primary camera has been an iPhone, right back to the 1st generation and up to my current iPhone 7. While the picture quality may not be as good as the dedicated camera, the convenience has meant that most of the times I snap stuff out on the wander, it’s with my phone. The quality has improved, and I really like the wider angle on my current iPhone, but as soon as you zoom, it becomes a bit hit and miss with the quality.
For my taste as a photographer, I’m interested in the overall visual image rather than technique and photographic effects. I love trying to capture dramatic lighting and have a real fondness for sharp electric lights and darkened skies. I do some post-processing in Photoshop when a photo needs it, and increasingly I use filters with the like of Nik Collection and Luminar. I’m a recent convert to Instagram, so you’ll see some of the filtered shots from my Instagram account repeated here.
That’s driven my use of Luminar and Nik Collection as I like the look you get using Instagram, but I am not smart enough to recreate those effects easily with Photoshop. Both Nik and Luminar have quick and easy controls to do that and create an exciting look for the finished photo.
I’ve taken lots of photos which are not necessarily well composed or exciting, but more for reference. I trained as a Fine Art painter in college, and one day intend to do some more of that work. As a result I often take lots of photos because there’s elements in them that I think will be useful composing pictures that I’ll probably never paint, or inspire me to do something.