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10-09-2009, 10:12 PM   #1
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From the great Outback of Nevada

Hello. I have actually been a member for a little while but I haven't taken the chance to introduce myself. I am a grandfather of 11 and I live in northern Nevada. I have been happily married to a woman who is willing to put up with my little faults for 35 years, which includes an unreasonable love of taking pictures, and collecting camera gear.

I have been taking pictures for over 30 years but the majority of those pictures were typical family pictures. Kids, pets, vacation trip, and so on. Nothing that could be considered art in any way. I enjoy taking pictures of my grandkids, of wildlife and of the beautiful country that surrounds me here in Nevada. I am very much an amateur in this hobby and, although I am trying to catch up as fast as I can, I am finding out that there is a whole lot more to this hobby then just aiming at something and pushing a button.

I began with Pentax cameras in high school using a Honeywell Spotmatic as one of the student photographers on my High School's yearbook. A few years after graduating I ended up buying a Pentax KX with a Pentax 50mm lens and I have never looked back. I absolutely love the KX, and still do, but I did not enjoy trying to capture kids on film with that manual focus lens.

I worked with that camera until the late 80s when I added a Pentax SF1N with another Pentax 50mm lens (autofocus this time.) Another great camera! From that point the SF1N stayed home and took pictures of kids and pets and the KX went backpacking and hunting. But even then I could hardly be classed as a photographer. I'm not even sure I was good enough to be called an amateur.

About 5 or 6 years ago my wife bought a digital camera and handed it to me telling me that it would stop me from having to get pictures developed. I hated it. It took about 30 seconds (I may be exaggerating a little) for that camera to take the picture after you pushed the button. It was easier to take pictures of running kids with a manual focus 35mm camera then it was to take a picture with that camera. I swore I would never again use a digital camera.

I work as a safety engineer for a mining company and part of my work requires that I occasionally take pictures (usually when an accident happens.) Although I used 35mm cameras for this for years I finally had to bite the bullet and move to digital about 4 years ago. I found that they weren't too bad and that they could be useful for some forms of photography so I swallowed my pride and began using digital cameras. But I still stayed with my Pentax KX and Pentax SF1N for all my personal pictures.

About a year ago I began to get more serious about my photography and I bought a book about 35mm photography from a used book sale at the library. Imagine my surprise when I learned all the things I could do. I promptly went out and bought a Sigma 50mm Macro lens and a tripod and started taking lots of pictures of little things. I also went out and bought a Pentax 28-200mm zoom lens and started using it for wildlife pictures. Up until this I only owned two lenses, both 50mm, one manual focus and one autofocus. Now I owned three 50mm lenses and a zoom lens. I also started learning how to use my cameras. For one I learned that my KX was actually quite a capable camera. I also found that I knew more then I realized about photography, most of it from my old high school days. I knew about the Sunny f/16 rule (which had saved my bacon when the batteries died in my KX at the beginning of a family camping trip to Yellowstone), and I knew how to use the Zone System. But I also learned that there was a whole lot more to learn.

Finally, three months ago, I went out and bought a digital single lens reflex camera. Since I had been using Pentax for so many years I just naturally had to buy a digital Pentax. I ended up with a Pentax K200D complete with both kit lenses. I love that camera and I've probably taken more pictures with it in 3 months then I took in 30 years with 35mm, but I've also re-learned my love affair with film. So I decided I needed another camera and I went out and bought a used Pentax MZ-S. I haven't had a lot of time to use this camera yet but I can tell you that it is one "sweet" 35mm camera. It is a little early to tell yet but his may be the camera that retires the SF1N. If only the viewfinder was as beautiful to look through as the one on the SF1N. To me, the viewfinder is the "soul" of the camera and the KX and SF1N both have soul. I'm not convinced yet that the MZ-S has that same soul. I should be able to tell in a couple of years. But, I digress.

Now days I shoot about as much film as I do digital, mostly because I would much prefer to be out taking pictures then sitting in front of a computer. If I'm taking pictures with film then someone else is doing the developing, and I can keep on taking pictures. If I'm taking pictures digitally then I have to take the time to download them to the computer and "develop" them myself. For me, digital is great for learning, but once I've learned it I want to do it on film. I know that digital is just as good as film, quality wise. I guess that it's just tough to completely convert old dogs.

This has obviously turned into much more then just a simple introduction so I'll sign off for now. I'm not that much different then most of you, I enjoy taking pictures and I enjoy learning how to take even better pictures. And all of you have already been immensely helpful to me. Maybe I'll be able to return the favor someday.

Adios for now.

Before I leave I would like to leave you with a sample of how beautiful my country is. This canyon is about 30 minutes from my house.

10-09-2009, 10:46 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2008
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Howdy Pioneer - Welcome!

Nevada sure has some beautiful country doesn't it? I've worked the last three summers in Nevada fighting fires - our helicopter is based in Ely, but we work all around Lincoln and White Pine counties (the Ely BLM district)... I've made it to Elko for a few fires, but didn't get there this year.

Enjoy your shooting and the forum...

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