When I started Wiener Wanderland in the summer, the only hope I had for the whole venture was to explore a few new area’s and take a few snaps. That was it. Nothing to grand, just sharing my new home with everyone. Then, as is often the case, the unexpected happens and things take a left turn. Instead of just taking ‘snaps’, I found myself looking for The Shot. I found a renewed interest for photography. And why not?
Back to beginning.
I’ve always had an interest in taking pictures. My dad was a keen amateur photographer, though he was sadly lacking in the eyesight department. Still he went to night school to get an O level in Photography. He liked to share that interest with a young me. I started off with an old Kodak Instamatic camera, a simple point and shoot thing that had cartridge film and was pretty much unbreakable. Dropping it down the bowl of a chemical toilet barely put a dent in it. (Don’t ask how I got it back!)
My Dad tried to teach me how to use his Olympus OM-10 SLR, but young me just couldn’t get the hang of it. Years later, after my dad passed away, I took that very camera and tried again to learn the mystic art of picture taking. Again I failed miserably. Only once I sold the camera did I find out the damn thing had developed a fault, making sharp pictures impossible.
Taken on the OM-10. There’s no focus and every picture has the white ‘fog’ effect. It was frustrating to say the least.
Once I went digital, things got better and a series of FujiFilm camera’s did a great job of teaching me the basics, and I took a few great shots. However, compact cameras can be a bit of a pain for action shots, and my last Fuji took far to long to start up leaving me to miss shots. One birthday my wife took me shopping for a new DSLR. Then the real learning began.
This shot was taking in Florida on our first digital camera, a Fuji Finepix 1300. Loved it. The colours were always very vibrant.
My current camera is that very DSLR I got on my birthday. The Nikon D70s was a great camera in its day. It sat at what Nikon called the ‘Enthusiasts’ section. That basically put it between the beginners Cmaeras and the pro stuff that’s way beyond my paygrade. The camera may be old, but it’s versatile and still takes a bloody good picture. A few more megapixels would be nice though.
The Camera came with a rather handy 18-70mm kit lens that up until recently, performed perfectly. In 10 plus years, a simple loose screw was all that’s come up with that lens, and fixed very easily.
To compliment that, I have a Tamron 70-300mm telephoto lens that came with the camera as a ‘special offer’. It cost me £99 and it’s surprisingly good. It even features a Macro function.
At some point I added a third lens to my kit. The Sigma 24-70mm lens is one of my prized lens. It has a low Apeture all across the zoom spectrum. At f2.8, it’s great for low light work and was bought for the sole purpose of photographing fish. It’s a long story, but photographing fish is a unique challenge, and one I’ve yet to master.
The Simga lens on the bottom is my ‘Goto’ lens for night work. The Tamron on top is not bad for the price either.
The Camera and lenses make up the base of my kit. Adding to the base I have the following.
Nikon SB800 speedlight.
This flash was the top of the range and a gift from my wife. I’ve yet to really master it, and I seldom call on it for picture taking.
The flash may be top of the range, but my tripod is as basic as it comes. The Hama Gamma 153 3D is cheap and lightweight. It does the job, and is very new. I bought this just this last week after my previous tripod was found to be missing the ‘dock’ from the head. It’s been lost somewhere when we moved.
A leftover from my dads kit is a set of Cokin A-Series filters. These filters date from at least the 1970’s to early 1980’s. The Filters are too small for my current lens, where even the Cokin P series filters struggle to fit the .sigma lens. Still I’m loath to get rid of them because my dad liked them. I may try a few out with the smallest lens I have.
Back to the 1970’s with these filters. Sadly their too small for my current camera.
With the exception of the day trip to Wieselburg, every shot on Wiener Wanderland has been taken with the Nikon D70s. Most feature the regular kit lens, though the last few I’ve been using the Sigma for a change. Occasionally the Zoom comes out to play too. As I mentioned, the D70s has seen over 10 years use, albeit a rather cosseted amount of use at that. It’s starting to show it’s age now though and during the last trip to shot some stuff, it began randomly ‘locking up’. It’s also clear that the sensor needs a bloody good clean as ‘artifacts’ or bits of dust have started appearing on shots, and always in the same place.
This leads me to an sort of realisation. In 10 years of sporadic use, and with some really nice kit, I’ve not really learnt a great deal about using the camera or getting the shot just right. Since I’ve been writing this blog though, I’ve really started to develop a few new tricks. Firstly, my eye is improving. Looking at the imaging though the camera, I’m starting to see how to frame it to look it’s best. That’s a massive improvement from just day 1 in Ober St. Veit.
Secondly I’m happier dialling the Camera away from ‘Auto’ and into not only the scene modes, but into area’s like ‘shutter priority’ and so one. One evening I went out and tried to get a handle on evening photography, spending nearly three hours snapping and experimenting. I’m loving it.
Vienna at night, and I’m getting better.
So with that in mind, I’ll add a new section to Wiener Wanderland, Jess’s adventures through the camera lens. It’ll keep track of my current projects and how my progress goes in learning a new skill. It’s not meant to teach anyone anything though. So off we go.This entry was posted in Photography