Sunday, 14 February 2010

Developing Photographs

I'd really like to say a big thank-you to those who appreciate my photography. When I started my blog I wasn't sure what way it would take me - as things have turned out, it's more a photo blog than anything else.
There have been a couple of questions about the camera I use, so I thought I'd go back a bit.
When I thought about titling this some way to do with developing, it brought back such vivid memories of watching my dad develop photos when I was little; the glow of the safe-light in his darkroom (the old larder off the back scullery), the smell of the chemicals, the shallow trays and smell of chemicals, the glass rods with rubber stoppers for stirring things around...the magic of seeing the negatives develop and trying to work out what, and who, they were with the inverted colours, and then the even more amazing magic of watching the black and white images emerging from nothing on the paper - first the palest hints of the image, growing stronger until it was time to stop them at just the right point and fix them. That's something that has been lost with digital photography.
I got my very first camera the Christmas I was thirteen, from my half-brother. I think it was some sort of Kodak instant camera, with those flash cubes that you popped on top. I still have some photos from back then, but I was always aware of how expensive they were (that's a big plus for digital!).
My first real camera was a Minolta range-finder, manual focus. Try as  I might I can't remember the year. I am sure it was when I was still living at home, so before I was twenty, but in that case why didn't I have it with me when I was working in the UK? The manual focus didn't work with close-up filters, so I had a little notebook with all the right settings, and a piece of cord with knots in it to mark the different distances.
This photo was taken on my first outing with that camera, at Kilmacurragh gardens. Now they are run by the Office of Public Works and run by the Botanic Gardens, and have been done up enormously. Back then it was a ruined house in a decaying garden with a wonderful sense of being lost in time. As you can see, I always had an eye out for reflections.

(and yes, this is upside down, but that's how I have it hanging on my wall)

My next camera was an Olympus IS-2000 for my 30th birthday, from all the family. My half-brother was working in Riyadh at the time and was able to get it at a good price, but even so it was a munificent present. It was one of Olympus' hybrid cameras, SLR capability but no interchangeable lens, just a built-in zoom.
The cow picture was maybe the second roll of film I took with it, when we took a cruiser on the Shannon for our holidays. Yes, it really was that blue-green colour, it was heading rapidly towards dusk on a sunny June evening.


The two swan pictures were two years later, when I'd acquired a tele-converter to extend the zoom range. Again it was a cruise - this time on the Erne; we were out in the dinghy when I took these.

My first digital camera was an Olympus Camedia, which someone gave me when he was upgrading to something better. Like the IS it was a hybrid, with a built-in fixed zoom,but SLR capabilities. And even then, the peculiar memory card it took was already discontinued and only available on eBay. But it was a wonderful gift to receive, and when the time came to pass it on, I FreeCycled it to someone who had had the same model and knew the vagaries of the battery performance. I could take it to the Botanic Gardens and the batteries would be flat in over an hour, and yet on one trip to Paris the batteries lasted the whole trip.
A photo from my first outing with that camera, May 2007. I loved the macro capability...

Then C gave me an ultra-compact Olympus point and shoot for my handbag, Christmas 08.
When I decided to finally buy my own camera so that at long last I could have interchangeable lenses, I read all the reviews in WHICH Camera Buyer and various magazines.Nikon and Canon always came out tops - but you can see that I've used mostly Olympus cameras (the "family" camera as we grew up was also an Olympus Trip), and I'd always had positive experiences with customer support and getting cameras serviced. So I tried the feel of a Canon in my hand to keep an open mind, but as I liked the feel of the Olympus just as well, and was used to their commands and menu system, that was what I bought. That was back in October 2008, when I bought an Olympus E 520. I mostly use a 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 lens. Because of the sensor size and crop ratio on Olympus' Four Thirds mount, this equates to 80-300mm on a 35mm camera, but my new lens is a faster f2.8-3.5 model.


  1. I am an Olympus fan myself, but I am a very lazy photographer. I just do not have the head for all the numbers and rely on the automatic settings. I can see by your wonderful photos what I am missing out on. Years ago my husband bought me(us - it was a family gift) a wonderful canon 35 mm with an additional zoom lens which took wonderful pics, but with the onset of digital photography, this has been sadly overlooked. I would love to be able to take wide-angle pictures with either of my Olympus' but haven't been able to. And I've had no luck with indoor events with either one.

  2. Sigh. I still say I wish we lived closer. I think I will use more reserve on my part and do without new toys for stamping for awhile and save up for a new camera. You would laugh at the amateur camera I use.Does have a built in zoom and has been good for a novice like me. I would love to develop better skills at photography. I would love to capture some of the wildlife and birds in our area and so love to take pics when at the beach. Or just daily things like you take Sabrina. I find your blog very informative and rate you at the very top for pictures. I still say you could have a book published. Sorry for the long post...I guess I got carried away!! Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing with us. :-)

  3. I enjoyed reading the history of how your photography has evolved. My father use to develop his own black and white photos in his laboratory (actually it was our lavatory---ha! ha!) when I was little. Once in a while, he'd let me into his "dark room" so I could watch the photos emerge onto the paper. So fascinating. I love and appreciate photography, but am a very impatient person when it comes to learning how to actually USE a good 35 mm (nondigital) camera. I just want to point and shoot the darn thing and have a magnificent picture come forth on it's own!!! LOL!