As I write this piece, amid a mini heatwave the outdoors the light is harsh and bright, not good for photography at all. Yet I do want to go out with my camera, I’ve got my new infra-red filter to test and this light is perfect for that. But it is so hot, way too hot, so I am taking time out, having a cold drink, and using the opportunity offered to me, to say hello to everyone.
Hi, I’m Dave Thomson, self-taught, nay, self-tutoring, amateur photographer. I joined ClickASnap (CS) about 6 years ago, because I want my photographs to be seen, and I want to gain criticism, advice, and solid tips to help me progress. I like CS because the membership boasts all levels of photographer, from total novice to seasoned professional, they /we come from all walks of life and from all corners of the globe. Such a vast pool of experience, knowledge, and opinion, when freely shared is, in my opinion, priceless.
I only began taking photography really seriously a couple of years before joining CS. Although I must admit, the seed was sown way back in the mists of time when, at seven years of age, I bought my first camera. An old 35mm purchased at a church jumble sale for a shilling (err., I mean 5p), someone gave me a film and, snap! Seed sown. Amazingly, three photographs from that first film still survive. I do believe the black & white shot of my uncle with ‘Prince’ (my first dog}, was the very first photograph I ever took.
That first period of photography sadly, only lasted a few months, the seed was dormant. Economics and life got in the way. Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland (both very photogenic places), I left school at sixteen and entered the shipyards as an apprentice. But three redundancies later, and with a wife and a young family to support, as suggested in that infamous government punch line, often attributed to Margaret Thatcher, I “got on my bike to look for work”. To cut a long story short, a few years, places, and jobs later, my family and I settled in the West Country.
Through those years, my interest in photography ebbed and flowed, finances restricting it to compact film cameras and family snaps. Then came the 21st century and with it, another birthday, and a gift to germinate that dormant seed, a digital compact camera. digital photography had arrived. With no films to buy, no processing to pay for, and no limit to the number of shots I could take, there was no stopping me taking pictures, literally.
I was hooked on digital, even bought a scanner to digitise our ‘old’ photos. Then I got a bridge camera, then another. I started reading and watching all things photographic. Soon I wanted to do more than my bridge cameras were capable of. So, in 2013 I bought a DSLR, a Nikon D5200. (Only afterwards did I discover there where two sensor sizes and what that meant), doh !
After a couple of happy “APSC” years I wanted a full frame camera and more lenses, but on a tight budget. Thank goodness for the used camera market. I constantly trawled eBay, went to camera fares, searched car boot sales and second hand shops, looked for sales and offers, and it really paid off; I nearly always broke even on stuff I traded up or sold and, on occasion, even made profit .
Since that D5200 I have owned a D500 (twice), a D610, D750, Z6 and Z7II, along with a good selection of lenses, all picked up at bargain prices. So, my tip to anyone starting out or on a budget is, buy good used gear that you can trade or re-sell.
But I have to confess, I broke my “only buy used gear” rule last year and gathered together all my Nikon ‘F’ glass, my D500 and my Z7II for a ‘once in a lifetime trade up’.
My brand new Nikon Z9 arrived on December 24th and I am still grinning.
I have yet to find my niche or genre. (I will photograph anything and everything, and I generally do). I don’t know that I will ever specialise, I tend to have phases. Right now, I ‘m just starting to get out and about again, having been forced to “shield” for the better part of the last two years. I have just bought an annual pass to Longleat Safari Park, so wildlife is going to be high on my list this year. Hopefully I’ll get a few paid views for my future animal uploads.
Talking of ‘paid views’, I think they’re great, because they are a great indicator that your images are being viewed and holding people’s attention. The money is a just little bonus, that infra-red filter I am about to try, my ‘paid views’ bought it, now it’s time to go test it out. Happy shooting everyone.