art, culture, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 133: “My Photography Journey”

This week, it’s fun to participate in The Lens-Artists Photo challenge. Amy is our host is week.

MY photographic journey started early. Very early. I guess I was in the second year of secondary school (6th year of schooling. So, I might have been 11). The funfair came to our town, as usual, each year in June. My grandfather, my father, and I went to the funfair (I can’t remember if my brother was also with us. He’s 5 years younger than me). In one of the raffle ticket booths, they had a camera as a prize. My grandfather was often very lucky with buying fortunes. So, I got my first camera. My father bought me a 6×6 roll film. I guess, there was room for 12 images. When the film came back from the lab, we noticed, the body wasn’t lightproof. Sometime later, I got a Kodak 126. This camera is still anywhere.

When I finished school, I went to Bavaria for a few weeks to visit my uncle and his family. A friend of mine lent me his Rollei 35. When I earned my own money a few months later, I researched for buying my first SLR. Finally, I got a Minolta X-500 with a manual 35-70mm lens. It already had a lightmeter build in, but no AF. It was already invented but with very poor performance. For the next years, I changed lenses as well as camera bodies. A good friend of my father was a professional photographer with his own studio and lab. So, I got an introduction on how to work in the lab one evening. Buying a used enlarger, the necessary tools, and chemicals, and my own lab was ready to run. In the meantime, I also got an 80-200 tele-zoom and a 60mm macro. The introduction to laboratory work was the final step to prepare me for bringing final drawings of i.e. logos from paper to serigraphy for a small advertising company.

In 1999 I got lent a digital point-and-click camera. Very expensive, bad results, and very high consumption of battery power. 5 AA batteries lasted for only 3-4 images. So, I went with a cable drum and the power adapter attached through the garden for taking photographs. About 2 years later, I bought a cheap digital point-and-click, which was replaced by a better one another 3 years later when I got it in a sale for a reduced price. And in 2008 I finally went digital with my SLR.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with that camera: APS-C + 18-55 and 55-200. Way too slow and I didn’t get used to the focal lengths. Changing the camera body, replacing the wide-angel zoom to 18-105 after only a few months were the right steps ahead.

In fall 2012 I went full-frame. Finally not only the bigger sensor but also faster lenses.  Especially the wild-angel lenses are very slow for APS-C sensor cameras. I still have an APS-C camera, but only for my wildlife photography. Over the decades, I guess, I did nearly all possible kinds of photography except microscope and underwater photography. Landscape, nature, bird, and travel photography started already when I had my Kodak, people photography with my first SLR. My first astrophoto was in 1985. I learned much by trying or from books and magazines. At that time, there was no Youtube or browsing the internet. Go to a library and find the necessary information.

But I have to admit, the results became faster better after switching to digital. The learning was much slower with the film. You had to write down the settings and compare it with the results when the developed film came back from the lab and there was no possibility to improve the result. Only when doing the development in your own lab, you were able to take action for improving the results.

In the gallery below, I tried to include a bit of many different kinds and tried to show images from many different years. Below each image, I show you the year when it was created. In the second last row, you can find a scan of a print taken with my old film SLR and developed in my own lab. I guess it was an Ilford HP5 film because that was my preferred film in those days for everyday monochrome images. Unfortunately, I don’t know any further details like shutter speed, lightning, f-stop, or paper.