I started this blog approximately 7 years ago (about 89 months, or 2718 days ago specifically). There are 18 pages and 22 posts. All the posts contain approximately 16,207 words and 52 photos. Unfortunately, I only post updates to this blog every 0.01 days on average. But enough about statistics. I’m guessing you came here to read about me, or ended up here after a web search.
Growing up, my parents always had some kind of camera around for capturing moments. I remember 126 cameras, 110 cameras, a Polaroid, and even one of those crazy Kodak Disc cameras . I would often take family pictures with the parents’ camera, even borrowed one of their older 110 cameras for a school field trip to Gettysburg. But I never owned my own.
That all changed when I was a teenager of about 14 or 15 and got my very own instant camera — a Kodak Colorburst 250 — for Christmas. That same Christmas, my Mom got an SLR, but I was more fascinated with her camera than some silly Polaroid wannabe.
I don’t remember exactly which model she received, but I seem to recall it was an Olympus OM-10 , but I could be wrong. I know it was an Olympus camera, though. I do remember she had lenses including a zoom, a tripod, and even the Cokin filter system and filters waaaay back in the early 1980s.
To further her hobby, my mother was buying photography magazines. One publication I recall (thanks to some Google searching) was a weekly import called “The PHOTO” by Marshall Cavendish Publications. She was collecting and saving these in seven silvery gray binders . I was reading them, too, and getting interested in the art of photography. So much so, that I got myself a Nikon FG-20 . I don’t remember if the FG-20 was a birthday or Christmas present, but I loved that camera and it cemented my adoration of Nikons to this day.
When I attended high school, I took two elective art classes for photography. I took a lot of art classes throughout high school; commercial art, mechanical drawing, ceramics, painting, ad nauseam… but photography was by far my favorite.
It was in high school that I learned how to make photographs, not just snap pictures. I remember the school provided Ilford PAN F, FP4 and HP5 black and white film, and my school was lucky enough to have a darkroom — complete with about 8 or 9 enlargers — for developing film and printing photographs. I enjoyed those photo classes and thrived at the “hobby.” I spent all my free time in the photo lab.
After graduating high school, I decided to continue my education and enrolled at the Art Institute of Philadelphia to study photography (a mistake that would take nearly 30 years to pay off, but that’s not a story for this site).
One of the first things I did before I started classes was sell my little Nikon FG-20 at a camera shop in Philadelphia. I don’t remember what I got for it, but it was not nearly enough to cover the camera I bought to replace it. With some monetary help from my grandfather , my new camera was the acclaimed Nikon F3 High Point , arguably the best manual-focus, professional 35mm SLR camera ever made (at the time). I also had the MD-4 motor drive.
My F3 was awesome! I loved that camera. I babied my gear like it was made of glass, even though Nikon has a renowned reputation as being the most rugged professional gear in the world. I was only 19 years old, and it was the most expensive thing I ever owned at the time; seven hundred 1985 dollars for the camera body, drive and 50mm lens.
In photography school, I learned much about photography; composition, color, lighting, design, location, studio work, etc. I really enjoyed the classes and thought I was getting half-way decent at being a photographer.
However, life and finance has a tendency of getting in the way of goals and dreams. After two years in school, I realized the photography industry doesn’t offer many career opportunities, and I was drowning in student loan debt. Discouraged, one thing led to another, and it wasn’t long before I left Pennsylvania and moved to Washington State. To fund my relocation in 1990, I sold my beloved Nikon F3 gear — a decision I still regret to this day.
Archived School Images
The images below represent all that I was able to save from my photography education. These photographs were printed on Ilford or Kodak photographic paper over 30 years ago, then scanned on a consumer-grade HP flatbed scanner. IQ may not be the greatest. For a larger view in a pop-up Lightbox window, click on a one of the eight frames below.
In Washington State, I’ve held jobs in desktop publishing before focusing on a career in the Internet Technology industry. I’ve owned a couple digital point-and-shoot cameras over the years, including a Fujifilm MX-1700 and a Canon Powershot S10 , but never replaced my SLR.
In early 2009, I got a decent tax refund, and finally decided to buy a real camera. A digital SLR! I spent an entire Friday night and Saturday morning researching Nikons before settling on the Nikon D90 . Since I bought my F3 from B&H , I decided to pull the trigger at B&H again, coming full circle, twenty five years later. Of course, as anyone who has ever bought from B&H knows, I had to wait until Shabbat ended on Saturday night to place my order, then wait for the delivery.
After much hemming and hawing, I decided to “upgrade” from the Nikon D90 to the Nikon D7000 . Then in the summer of 2014 I really upgraded from the D7000 to the Nikon D810 — which also required new glass. And since it’s a royal pain in the ass to drag out professional gear for simple pictures on social media and whatnot, a Nikon 1 J4 found it’s way into my camera bags.
Shooting with a new camera is like learning all over again. Capturing images digitally is a lot different than on black and white film. I’m still figuring out how to shoot with my Nikon D810 . There’s a lot more going on in the camera than there was in my old F3. I’m not a big fan of changing images in post-production, but I have all the Adobe tools, and I’m not afraid to do so.
I still live on Whidbey Island , and enjoy shooting landscapes and nature for the time being. I’ve been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Pulmonary Hypertension which makes it a challenge to go out and shoot. I try not to let it stop me, but it does.
Just in case you didn’t click any of the camera link on this page, I’ve created a matrix of the cameras I’ve owned since the early 1980s. As with the film strip above, simply click each frame for a larger view in Lightbox.