Getting a digital camera for Christmas one year resulted in me becoming very obsessed with photography. I already liked taking pictures with an analog camera, but having to wait for the results and having to pay a lot of money to get photographs developed always stopped me from getting seriously into it. Frances Flaherty was asked once how she had become such a good photographer. Her answer: “By having all film that I needed and all the time. You just can’t help taking a few good pictures. It’s more of less the way Bob made his film. Plenty of film, plenty of time.” I believe that “having all the film that you need” – or rather, not needing any – is the biggest advantage of digital photography. Once you invest your money in the camera, you won’t have to pay for developing films, so it becomes a rather cheap hobby. And of the hundreds or thousands of photographs you take, you can always develop the very best ones for only a few cents.
The digital camera I started with was the Ricoh Caplio G4. It has a great macro function that lets you get extremely close to objects (1cm), it has a 3x zoom function and 3,24 megapixels. It also works for quite a long time with two rechargeable batteries and has many different flash functions. It’s probably not being produced anymore, but probably has a decent successor.
My next digital camera was the Fujifilm FinePix S8100fd. It has an impressive zoom an 10.0 megapixels. It has a very nice wide angle lens, too, lets you set a lot of things manually (although that does require reading the manual) and it also takes AA batteries (four of them), which is good because you can always carry spares and don’t have to find a power outlet to recharge your camera. You can’t take RAW images, however, and there’s no way to exchange the lens.
Meanwhile, I also have a lovely DLSR, a Nikon D5200. You can set everything manually, it takes good photos in low-light conditions thanks to the high ISO, it can save photos in RAW format (or NEF format, which is the Nikon equivalent of RAW), and it also has a display that flips out. Fancy! Of course you can also change the lens, and if you can live without the auto-focus, you can easily get old fancy lenses for cheap online.
I also have an analog camera, the Pentax K1000 – a simple but great reflex camera. The Pentax K1000 was manufactured in from 1976 to 1997 (according to Karen Nakamura). After a few years, production was moved from Japan to China, and the top and bottom plate were then made of plastic rather than of stamped alloy. Mine is from Japan, though. A friend of mine bought it for me at a garage sale in the US, for a meager five bucks. Can you imagine? The lens cap was missing, and when I bought it, it cost about five bucks, too. Imagine that.
One of the nice things about the Pentax K1000 is that it has a light meter built in. So if you put a small battery in it, a little gage shows whether you’re underexposing or overexposing (see picture). If you want a camera like that, I suggest you look for one on eBay.
Here’s ome photography I like:
- Helmut Newton’s photograph of Debra Winger.
- Richard Avedon
- Annie Leibovitz – she seems like a very strange person, but her photography is often amazing.
- Philip-Lorca diCorcia – especially his Heads series (that he got sued for.)
- cweeks has a great gallery at Deviant Art. I especially like his photos little miss ellen paige…, proud homeless vet and mr. malkovich.
- Danny Clinch also takes very nice portraits.
Now I want to mention to grerat fields in photography that I’m very interested in. Firstly, there arepanoramas that can be made comparatively easily with Autostitch. I made the following image from about 100 single pictures, but Autostitch already works with two pictures.
For more nice panoramas, see the DeviantArt 2006 Panorama Contest.
The other field that particularly interests me are stereoscopic images or 3D images. They have a special category at Fotocommunity.de. They also have a tutorial on how to view them. And how do you make those? That’s fairly simple! You look for an object, focus, take a picture, take a step to the left or to the right and then focus on the same spot and take another picture. Now, when you take the pictures and put them next to each other, you can look at them in 3D.
And last but not least, I’d like to mention my Flickr account and my Instagram account, and direct you to my old and barely used Fotocommunity.de page. And as always, comments and criticism are always welcome and should be sent to me via email.