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I’m a hobbyist photographer, computer geek, husband and father of two.  Most of my time is devoted to work and family, but I try to get in photography when I can. This is my first attempt at blogging.

I’ve jumped into the blogging world for two reasons: 1) I’m hoping it will push me to be a better photographer, by getting me to spend more time practicing and learning.  I do a lot of photography on family trips and activities, and while the constraints during those are a learning experience, I don’t find them the best experience.  I need time to focus on just the photography.  2) The geek side of me wants to learn how to blog – tools, terms, etc.  I’ve been taking pictures since before the days of the personal computer, but from a skills perspective, I’m a geek first and a photographer second.  I’m an engineer by degree and an Information Technology professional by trade, both of which play to my left-brained strength.  I’m not artistic or creative by nature, and that really challenges my photographic ability.  It is one thing to understand ISO and aperture and shutter speed and focal length – it is a whole different thing to see a good shot and apply them appropriately.

My dad got me into photography.  He wasn’t really passionate about it, but liked to take pictures on family trips and he taught me everything I knew up until a few years ago.  He would buy used bodies and lenses as he could find them in the local shop.  He gave me my first camera – a 126mm.  I think it was a Keystone.  It was an easy first camera to use, and my first roll of film was B&W, shot during a second grade field trip.  Those were prints, but I followed my dad and started shooting slide film right after that.  He upgraded to to my first 35mm – a Fujica ST-701.  It was on that all-manual camera that I learned all the basics of photography. When he let me, I treasured using his Konica rangefinder.  It wouldn’t take lenses, but it took beautiful pictures and was semi-automatic.  He found me a used Yashica rangefinder that became my standard for a number of years.  He then started buying me filters, including the square ones that mounted in a holder attached to the lens.  It was a beautiful setup and it allowed you to stack filters.  I had quite a collection of them.  Unfortunately, that was about the same time as high school, friends, college, etc.  I started to drift away from photography, relying more on the lightweight, easy to use rangefinder.  I never really appreciated using those filters.

Before long, I was engaged and my dad passed away.  I had further drifted away from photography, and in one of the bigger regrets of my life, I basically gave away all the equipment away. The bodies and lenses were already out of date – being the old screw-on mounts. But I gave up probably half a dozen bodies and another half dozen lenses.  I gave up all the filters and even some basic stuff like ND and UV filters.

In a very short time, my first child was born and I made a transition into video. For 12+ years, I pretty much shot video exclusively.  I don’t really regret it – it is a great medium for capturing your kids growing up- and I had a lot of fun with it.  It wasn’t until my kids started getting older that the fun of video started to wear off.  I felt the longing to go back to still photography and started with a Canon SD800IS.  It was a simple digital Point-and-Shoot, but I did (and still) love that camera.  I’ve carried it everywhere and dropped it a few times and it continues to take great photos.

From that camera, the geek side of me started to want to learn digital photo editing, and that is when I got into Photoshop Elements.  A couple of classes at the local community college got me started, and then the Photoshop Elements Technique magazine and the related Elements Village forum really helped me learn the software (remember that left-brain thing?  learning how to use software comes easy to me – doesn’t mean I can creating amazing things with it.  I know how to use a hammer and nails – but don’t ask me to make a cabinet). In 2010, I finally went back to the SLR world with my first DSLR – a Nikon D90.  I realized as soon as I started shooting how much I missed the feel of an SLR and lens.  I started with a Nikon AF-S 18-200 mm lens, and since added a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D-AF lens for occasions where I want the smaller size and weight.  I moved from the Elements Organizer and shooting jpg to Lightroom and shooting RAW.  I’ve also grown the like the Topaz suite of products.

And that is my journey so far.  I’m hoping that through this blog and following others, I can improve my right-brained-ness.  I appreciate all of those who helped me along the way and continue to help me.

  1. bobmielke permalink

    I’ve looked through a few pages of your blog and immediately like your style of photography. It doesn’t take me long to size up the talents of the shooter.

    I’ve been a photographer for 42 years and a computer and electronic tech since 1970. My first computer was the original IBM PC with 2 51/4″ floppy drives, 256K of RAM and no hard drive. The computer had an 8088 processor clocked at 4.77.

    I was a film photographer until 2006 when I moved to Oregon for work as a computer technician for Intel Corp in Hillsboro, OR. I made computer chips and repaired the tools that made them.

    I’ve marked your blog as a favorite so I can check back on your progress. I am now one of your followers. – Bob


    • Thanks Bob! You take some great shots- I’ve been following you for awhile. My first computer experience was the Radio Shack TRS-80 (or “trash-80” by its detractors). I didn’t really like computers until I met the original Apple devices.


      • bobmielke permalink

        Well familiar with the “trash 80” and the Sinclair 1000 and the Vic 20, an over clocked 8088. I’m a recent convert to Apple. Good luck and I’ll see you on the blog-o-sphere. 🙂


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