How did I get here? It all started when I was looking for review on the Canon EOS 20D. I found the link to the forums at the top of the page, while looking through the reviews of the camera. So I dropped by and I looked at the results from people using the camera in earnest, and on the way discovered a community I thought I'd like to be part of.
I'm from a local family here on the outskirts of Oxford, my parents lived about 5 streets apart. My mother's family hasn't moved far, having lived here since before the village of Cowley and the town of Oxford grew across the fields and met. I'm now living in Grandmother's house, I can remember playing here among my earliest memories - somewhere I have a few 127 negatives of me in the garden playing with her cat.
My first venture into photography was with my Dad's Brownie 127. I don't think I did anything particlarly stunning with it, but at least I didn't break it! My own first camera was a Zenit EM with f/2 50mm. A great beginner's camera and a good quality lens. At school I drifted into science, biology particularly, and started using the school darkroom for my photography. At home I was mixing my own chemicals to formulas from the Ilford manual of photography (the sink is still stained) and had my own B&W darkroom at the top of the house. I entered local competitions while I was at school and got 3rd two years running, but at that time never had the drive to take it further, or anyone to encourage and teach me.
My first published photo (and only published photo) made our local newspsper front page while I was a teenager still at school. But it didn't shape my career, not then. During the holidays I stalked butterflies around the local woods with my Zenith, 135mm lens, extension tubes and a tripod; but had no thoughts of making a living out of nature photography.
At college I studied Environmental Biology, in the process discovering that wading up to my knees in mud on a field trip wasn't what I had in mind as a career path! During the modular course first year I'd got my only "A" grades in Computing and Statistics. So I chose digital computing and an art module in Photography (easy credits) in my second year - rapidy realising Biology was not the course I wanted - and got "A" grades again..
Well, those were the days of the department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computing. Without advanced mathematics I couldn't get on the computing course despite doing 3rd year degree students' homework for fun, so I drifted out of my course (a very gentle drop-out) and into a job instead.
First as a computer operator - remember punch card and paper tape? Then micro computers came along. I got a job as half the Technical Support team at a local manufacturer, Z50 bus, Zilog Z-Net, CP/M, MP/M all old 8-bit technology. I was there at the birth of the PC, DOS, Windows 0.95 OEM, and MS-NET. We tried and abandoned DR-DOS and GEM, backing the right horse in that race. Eventually I moved to a London Local Education Authority schools' computing centre, providing service management, hardware maintenance to board and component level, and the hardest part of the job - teaching teachers. Probably the most daunting thing I've done is try to run a computing course for a room full of school computing teachers!
I moved on to software development, returning to Oxford and to a hospital clinical MRI system support, with management of the patient database and network. I started seeing images again, working part time on clinical image transmission, and specialised in database development, eventually becoming a Microsoft MVP.
6 years later I moved to a switchless telecomms reseller, again doing database development, but now learning about multi-level marketing in addition. I ran the development team, and as we expanded I eventually ran the IT side of our international launches in Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands and Germany, with an associated move to management and loss of my "geek" badge.
Everything else I have to thank my wife for. She suggested we went to our first Formula One race, she's the biggest fan of the two of us, and I became hooked again on photography - this time with motorsport as the subject. I've made a three year progression through various point & shoot digital cameras through to DSLR.
Which brings me back to where I am today. I found the forum looking for EOS 20D reviews.
I moved in, felt myself at home in the community, and started posting. I was helped out, with my composition particularly, looked, listened, learned, and tried to pay my helpers back with contributions where I could.
A year later, here I am...yes I still have that Brownie 127, with the No:235 close up lens and yellow filter. Perhaps I'll go back to basics one day.
My aim is to pass on what I learn to the other people on the forum. Not just action photography, but also leaning on my computing experience as well.
I'm going through the learning process in my "digital darkroom" and hope to be able to help others out with what I learn the hard way.
I want to encourage you to participate, ask questions, answer questions, post your photos. We have a great group of people here from all levels of experience who are more than willing to share what they know. I hope you will join in and take advantage of that as I did.
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