Take a moment and introduce yourself

Introduce yourself to fellow forum members. Plus, the rules of the road (forum guidelines).
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AdminPTF
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Take a moment and introduce yourself

Post by AdminPTF » Sun Jun 01, 2014 5:30 pm

First off, I want to thank everyone for registering. I hope that you help me create an active community of photography enthusiasts.

Most of us are part of the group of folks who followed Craig Nelson when he broke from photo.net a number of years ago. I don't recall the reasons back then, but I had my own things that I wanted to do, so I gladly followed him to nelsonfoto.

My own background: I first became interested in photography at the young age of about 12. I checked out books from our local Carnegie Library, which was just two blocks away, and read as much as I could about photography.

My first camera was give to me by my mother - a Spartus folding camera that took VP127 film. I haven't used it in years, and there are some major chips to its bakelite body. But it still works. Later, I was given an Kodak Instamatic X15, which I might have used once or twice. I really lusted after an SLR, and so with my Christmas tips from my paper route, I bought a brand new Cosmorex SE, which was a rebadged Zenit.

A few years later, while in the Air Force (I think Larry D and I are pretty close in our enlistment time), I bought a Konica C35 Automatic, which I traded along with a pellet gun and a small telescope. From my buddy in K-9, I got six or seven albums including "Dark Side of the Moon" and something by Elvis Costello and another by The Boomtown Rats. I think he should also have given me his Saab, but I didn't have a license.

From there, I bought a Pentax MX, which I sold to my brother. I then got shipped off to Germany, where I immediately picked up a Rollei 35 T and a couple of months later two Nikons - an FE and then an F2A. I still have both.

After I got out of the service, I bought a Rolleiflex Automat with a Schneider Xenar and a Rollei 35 S. And those were my only cameras (lost the Rollei 35 T about 1993) until 2000, when I began my journey into classic cameras. My mom talked me out of buying a Rolleiflex 2.8F for $300 and a Leica M4 with three lenses for $400 - "Why do you need all of those cameras?" - still shaking my head about that.

I did get an Omega D3 enlarger, although I had to add the variable condenser head, some negative carriers and an El-Nikkor lens for 35mm. I made hundreds of prints with that enlarger. A real workhorse.

In 2000, I bought a new Cosina Voigtlander Bessa-R, which renewed my interest in photography and particularly classic cameras. First came a Voigtlander Vito B and then a Kodak Retina IIIc (small c). But things really took off when I bought a little folding Zeiss Ikon Contina II. Even though it had a Novar, I was impressed by its operation and its build. A large number of cameras followed of all shapes, sizes and formats.

Several hundred cameras later, I've had a great deal of fun and have shot with many, many different cameras and film. And yes, I'm getting close to paring down the collection, paying down some debt and with any luck, get it down to my favorite 150 to 200.

I was an early adopter of digital. My first was the Epson Photo PC 500, which had 0.3MP resolution and a separate LCD for viewing what you shot. Next up was the Nikon Coolpix 700, which I think was and still is an excellent camera, despite being just 2.1MP. Later, I picked up a Sony CD500 and then a Sony DSC F828 (disappointing) and then a Pentax K10D, which currently is on loan to a friend's daughter who is in France on a college study program for the summer.

These days, I shoot most digital with the Olympus Pen E-PL1, although I still use a 5MP Sony point and shoot for most photos of cameras. I don't need a 16MP file for some things.

Sorry this is so long, but I'm compacting 40+ years into a few paragraphs.

-Mike Elek

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Re: Take a moment and introduce yourself

Post by PFMcFarland » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:23 am

PF McFarland

My own 40+ years

I started in photography when my high school printing instructor handed me one of the school cameras, and told me to shoot a roll one weekend. I was hooked. My first personal camera was a Polaroid Swinger, which I grew tired of quickly, as it had no way of making extra prints without a lot of trouble. So I saved up, and bought an SLR system from Sears, which was a re-badged Ricoh Singlex.

That sufficed for a few years, until the meter broke, and I got tired of screw lenses. I couldn't afford much on a low ranked sailors pay, so I wound up trading it on a Voigtlander Vitessa L, which I had for about a year. Great camera for slides, but I was itching for an SLR again, so it got traded in on a Nikon Nikkormat FTN. That got me through my time left in the military, then I sold it to an old high school buddy when I got in a funk, and wasn't doing anything with it.

A couple years later, I once again took up a Polaroid, this time an SX-70. That got me going again, and I later bought a Nikon FM and some Series E lenses. Then there was a bunch of cameras, everything from a Minolta 16 to a Graphic Special with the Schneider lens. And I also had a complete darkroom set-up, but never the space to use it. Eventually, I purchased another Nikon, the N90s, with a Tamron 28-200 and 200-400 zooms. I still have that outfit, as all the others (with the exception of my Dad's Argus CC, and my Yashica Electro 35 GTN) being sold at auction when I was going through my disability process.

Before that happened though, I opened a studio in Columbus, OH. I didn't do much with it as I also had a full time job to keep the bills paid, which interfered with getting photo work. So the studio was shut down after eight months, lesson learned.

In recent years, I have been once again accumulating cameras, as not only was there a cheap supply of P&S models in the local thrift shops, but I was also able to get some cameras that I had always wanted to try, but never could afford until digital started to bring the prices down. And folks have given me cameras too. One of my brothers is always combing the junk stores and flea markets, and picks one up for me every once in a while.

I got into repairing cameras because I had so many of them that needed work, and I couldn't see spending money on that all the time. It's kept me busy when I couldn't do any photography, and it was good to be able to bring some of my purchases back to life, as broken cameras are much cheaper to buy.

But I'm going to have to pare things down a bit, and start selling off all the extraneous gear so I can concentrate on actually using my favorites of the group.

I too came over from NelsonFoto, and am in the process of trying to have our membership gain control of the domain. I joined NFf because of a friend of mine, and was glad to meet a swell group of folks who are more into enjoying photography, and the camaraderie, and to find them all over here too. Nothing worse than someone denigrating your gear or style.

PF
Waiting for the light

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Re: Take a moment and introduce yourself

Post by Megan1996 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:28 pm

I am not a good photographer.

Mike Elek was my first real boss when I arrived at a newspaper job with my journalism degree and a chip on my shoulder (almost 20 years ago now). I joined this forum because I was interested in Mike's "Camera Around the World" project. I'm hoping to learn a few things about how not to take crappy photos, and I'd like to take some pictures with film again.

A couple of years ago, my mother-in-law was unrolling film for her 35mm camera in front of her teenage grandkids, and they stared at her and said "WHAT is THAT?" They had no memories of film. I want my daughter to see it and to know what it is, and how it works. That will be a fringe benefit of the project.

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Re: Take a moment and introduce yourself

Post by jamesmck » Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:57 pm

My earliest memory of anything photographic took place sometime in the late forties or early fifties when my father came home with a contact printer (with a small light bulb inside) and some chemicals. I remember being very excited to see those little contact prints “come up” in the developer and I can still smell those addictive chemicals. I guess I used an assortment of box cameras that were in the family up until I was presented with a Kodak Brownie Flash as a gift on the occasion of my graduation from grammar school in 1952.

Nothing much photographic came up again for some years. Fast forward to the late sixties when some unknown force rekindled interest and I picked up a used Argus C-4 (which I still have), a cheapo Durst enlarger, and all the other basic darkroom supplies. Tri-X and D-76 1:1 all the way! I later graduated to a Nikon F Photomic (later stolen), a Pentax K1000 (also stolen) and Pentax MX (still have). I didn't have much of a camera “collection” back then. I maintained a basic darkroom until maybe the late seventies.

Another fast forward to about 1996, when I started what I now see as my “gear acquisition” phase, pigging out on countless SLRs (Konica, Pentax, Olympus), rangefinders (Olympus, Leica, Canon, Zorki, Cosina-Voigtlander, Contax, and more), medium format (Mamiya, Zeiss, Moskva), and even a 4x5. I am chagrined to admit that I still have most of these cameras..

Though I used several snapshot-type digital cameras, my first serious digital camera was a Pentax K100D DSLR, which I used a lot until I was smitten by the small and capable Micro 4/3 cameras made by Olympus and Panasonic. I have several of the first generation Panasonic models (G1 and GF1) which I no longer use much, and two more “mature” Olympus bodies (E-M5 and E-PL5) which are my mainstays. Up until about 2013, I shot a mixture of film and digital, but, sadly, for most of 2013 and to the present it has all been digital.

Personal background includes some time in the U.S. Navy (1956-59), a career in basic biological research (until 1992) and science administration (retiring in 2007).
--- James
James McKearney
Washington, DC

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Philip
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Re: Take a moment and introduce yourself

Post by Philip » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:12 pm

I was fascinated by cameras and photography in general from early childhood -- probably my mother's use of a 620 Brownie for decades (from before I was born until the 1990s, when I bought her a 35mm camera) got me interested. I was too poor in my teens and early twenties to get into photography to the extent that I wanted. I owned a 35mm VFR fixed-lens camera in the late 1970s, bought third-hand from a friend when he graduated to an SLR. I found real paying work at the end of the 1970s, and one of the first things I bought was a Zenit-E SLR. But I wanted better and a few years later got a Minolta X370. Then I became obsessed with bigger negatives and *that* got me into buying older cameras. I was almost exclusively shooting 120 film in an old Voigtlander Bessa (6x9 cm) for a few years in the 1980s and 1990s. In turn, that led me down that path of acquiring all sorts of gear. The largest negative I ever used was a Voigtlander 9x12 cm folder, though I was also in love with the Kodak 3A cameras, too. I used to develop that film by hand, doing dip&dunk. Eventually, though, my love of big negatives died away and I became enamoured with half-frame. For the past ten or twelve years, most of my film images have been on half-frame, and my favourite camera has been the Olympus Pen D3.

I also got an Olympus Pen FT, plus a few lenses for it, five or six years ago, and that led me to buying the new "digital Pen" camera, the E-P2. I started using the old Pen lenses on it. But, after getting used to that camera, I realised I didn't like it. Nonetheless, I realised I needed a digital camera for some things. When the Fujifilm X100 was released, it seemed up my alley and it has recently become my main camera.

In the 1980s sometime, I realised I had thousands of pictures but didn't know where they were. So, putting my archival skills to use (I was an archivist back then), I spent all my free time for many months in organising them, assigning numbers to every roll, and thus to every negative. I still use that system today and it means I can fairly easily put my hands on any of my tens of thousands of negatives. I am glad I did it. I have carried the same numbering system over to my digital files.

In organising my negatives I realised how disappointed I was with the vast majority of pictures I had taken: the pictures I valued the most were pictures of people, but only about 5% of my pictures at that time were of people. That realisation was a big break-through for me -- I started forcing myself to take pictures of people I knew, and carrying my camera everywhere I went. I still do that, 25 years later, and I am much more comfortable with it now! :)

I take pictures every day, and I very rarely attend a social event without taking some pictures. I take pictures of lots of other things, too, but I love my people pictures best.
My Flickrs: http://www.flickr.com/flipflik (recent postings), or
- http://www.flickriver.com/photos/flipfl ... teresting/ (Flickr's calculation of my "most interesting" pics);
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/flipflik/s ... 879115542/ (what I like best).

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Re: Take a moment and introduce yourself

Post by Hoosier Rich » Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:29 am

I guess in a way I too followed CE from PNet, just not as part of the core group. I lurked there a bit and never quite felt comfortable with it. As PF said, it seemed a bit "elitist". Until one day I looked up NFF after seeing someone mention it and found a place I felt I belonged.

My first camera? I was maybe 9 or 10 and found a 127 of some sort at a yard sale. I thought it was the coolest thing and spent many an hour framing up a fabulous shot (or so my young mind thought) and dry firing. My mom would humor me and get me film now and then to use for important events and I would get them developed with my allowance. My teen years were spent taking a Kodak 110 most everywhere I went. That thing took a lot of abuse, scout camps and two mountain ranges before I moved on to bigger and better things. Meaning hijacking my oldest brothers Yashica SLR kit that was just collecting dust by that time. It was my first manual and "real" camera and I loved it. Even with the screw mount and stop down metering. Hell, I didn't know any better!

Eventually married life, work and kids kept me to busy for much other than the usual family shots with the handy P/S, but it just never seemed the same. Anyway, after my divorce I wanted back in, and the one thing I knew I wanted was a Nikon. I don't know, blame Paul Simon or Nat Geo. Who knows but I knew that they were good and that is what I wanted! I finally settled for a N75 which was all I could afford new and haven't looked back since. I've had a lot of cameras come and go along with the GAS flare ups, but I think I've started to settle into a comfortable group of cameras that do most of what I need done. There is of course the occasional one that just has to be tried out and considered for the stable. Even after all this time my main squeeze, other than the wife, is still a Nikon F100. No, not just because I already had the glass either. :) I just like it, it is comfortable to me and we work well together.
Rich Sanders

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/20941345@N03/

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Re: Take a moment and introduce yourself

Post by Brazile » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:26 am

As many others did, I came here from NFF. I wasn't one of the originals there -- I discovered it when doing web searches about repairing cameras -- and I think I missed its hey-day in terms of participation, but I definitely enjoyed the discussion I found there and look forward to continuing it here.

My introduction to photography, now that I think about it, was via a Polaroid Zip I received for Christmas. Really enjoyed playing with it, but only seemed to be able to get B&W film packs for it, they were expensive and quickly used up, and the quality of the photos was not great, so eventually got bored with it.

Later on, I started using my dad's old Miranda about the time I graduated from high school. I don't remember why: I went from paying no attention to photography at all, to just picking it up one day, figuring out the needle-match meter, buying some film and getting started. Got quickly hooked. Dad noticed, so for Christmas that year, he bought me an Olympus OM-10 (with the "FC" module that allowed you to set the shutter speed and not just use the aperture-priority default of the base model) that I used constantly for a few years, probably five or so. I bought an extra lens or two, tried doing long-exposure shots of downtown Dallas from the Trinity River levees -- with slide film, what did I know? -- and shots of backroads old buildings around North Texas. Lusted after nicer cameras, MF, etc., but had no money for them. Graduated from college, got married, had a kid, took early shots of the wife and kid...then got distracted by life and put it aside for other pursuits.

In the mid-2000s, I started getting the itch again, and had considerably more disposable income than I did as a student. The digital wave had started, so I thought I'd pick up a P&S to see if I was serious enough to justify buying something good. I was traveling a lot on business then, and ended up shooting a lot while on the road, so I decided I'd stick with it, and set out to buy a DSLR. I have a tendency toward the heterodox in some ways, and had been intrigued by the buzz around the Foveon sensor when it was announced in the early 2000s. By the time I was ready to buy, the SD14 was just announced, so I ended up buying one. That is one cranky camera, in a lot of ways, but I got some results that I truly loved, so despite its idiosyncracies, I enjoyed using it. But after a while, I got to noticing the differences in the typical results you get with film vs. what you get with digital, and realized that I wanted to go back and learn the basics about film that I never had as a kid. I quickly discovered that the analog photography market was shrinking rapidly, but that all the cameras I'd wanted when I was 20 were easily affordable now, provided I was willing to work at it -- everything from repair and reconditioning of equipment to film processing -- and so I jumped back into that, picking up a couple old SLRs, some MF bodies, even some LF equipment. I enjoy analog processes and handcraft in general (I went through a serious hand-tool woodworking phase, still do some occasionally) so I've really enjoyed teaching myself to work with this stuff.

I still do both analog and digital photography. I'm still learning, and I probably spend most of my time experimenting rather than actively trying to produce the best work. But every now and then I come up with something that makes me very happy, so I keep doing it. Been a little less inspired recently, but I know that comes and goes for most folks; probably just getting out and shooting will cure that just fine.

Robert Brazile

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Re: Take a moment and introduce yourself

Post by Santiago Montenegro » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:08 pm

I feel a little dumb casting my bio at you, most of whom know me well. But this is a new community even if most members are old acquaintances and even friends, so dumb or not this is the right way to start.

I am also one of the Pnet refugees that Craig gathered in NFF. The fact that I don't see myself as a photographer speaks a lot about my present state on confusion, because I have been obsessed with capturing images in silver halide since I can remember. I got my first camera at age 6, after saving a lot of pennies and dimes. It was a 126 format Agfa: the unknown and absolutely non famous Agfamatic 100. From that moment on, I disappeared for my family albums: I was the one taking all the pictures. Of course, I still have that camera.

Sometimes my dad let me use his Contax and his Minox, which led to a lifelong love affair with such machines, but I really longed for a 35mm of my own. Finally, when I turned 12, I managed to save enough to buy a Canonet 28. Of course, both after and before getting the Canonet I craved for an SLR, but that was unthinkable from the money point of view. I shot the hell out of that lil' Canon for many years, and I still have it.

Then, life happened and I abandoned photography. It was about a 10 year hiatus, until my first daughter Ana came along. She has always been beautiful, and her looks jump started my interest in the hobby again. And again, dad let me use his stuff: a Canon EOS 650 this time.

It was downhill from there. Dad gave me the Contax. A sister gave me a Rolleiflex that was gathering dust in her house. Old cameras started appearing as rabbits out of a magician's hat, and sure enough I needed to learn how to repair them. Full fledged hobby again.

BTW, the Canonet "made me" a rangefinder photog. Those previously coveted SLRs didn't ring my bells when I finally could afford them. Nor did newer cameras. I love Rollei 35s, Rolleiflexes, Contaxes, and my Nikon S3.

Almost 18 years later, things have slowed down a bit. I never liked developing film, and I have grown lazier and lazier about it. I have about two years worth of undeveloped film in my darkroom now- in fact, the darkroom is becoming my "other hobbies" room. I have not fired up the enlarger in ages. So I am taking baby steps in the digital world with a Leica M8, which gives me quite a bit of the feel of my favorites- and I get to use some of my old Contax and Nikon lenses via adapters. I shoot much less than before, mainly because of safety concerns in my home country- I have become almost a travel-only snapshooter.

So there you go, that's me. Father of three, addicted to travel, and looking to relocate from Venezuela. You don't happen to know about a job out there for me, do you?

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Re: Take a moment and introduce yourself

Post by minoly » Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:54 pm

Hello, this is Minoly introducing myself to this forum. I’m a retired college teacher (History) living in St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ve had a photography hobby for about 64 of my 76 years, starting out with “half 616” in an Agfa Clipper that belonged to my brother. My Dad’s cousin was an avid photographer with a TLR and a darkroom set up in his basement that he let me use from time to time. I still have just about all of the negatives and slides that I took over the years and I’m beginning to wonder if it was such a good idea to keep them all; I thought that retirement would produce an organization of my photos, but it didn’t -- I just made a lot more of them.

Capturing a moment in time has always been great fun for me; darkroom magic, too, is a lot of fun, though I do less than I used to. I guess that I’m still just trying to produce a clear record of what I saw without a lot of attention to style or interpretation. Taking pictures of the buildings, streets, roads, farm fields and out-of-the-way corners in city and country pretty well sums up my photos, with the addition of lots of family snapshots.

A street close to where I live, University Avenue, has been going through big changes for the past few years with the construction of a light rail line connecting downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis. I’ve been trying to document what’s happening to the street and surrounding areas. I do that with 35mm cameras (Minolta SLRs and a Minolta rangefinder, the HiMatic 7S), Half Frames , a folder (Kodak Duo 620) and a TLR (Rollei), fairly evenly divided between color and B&W negative. I will attach one recent photo from this project --St. Paul Fellowship Church, built as University Congregational Church in the past century.

I’m happy to see this forum & I‘ll start participating and posting more soon. I have posted a few photos and comments on Rangefinder Forum and Nelsonfoto; I haven’t done so in the past few years, so I need to get back in the habit. This will be a good place to start doing so.

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Re: Take a moment and introduce yourself

Post by jamesmck » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:10 am

It's very good to "meet" all of you. Thanks to Mike for starting this thread.
--- James
James McKearney
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