I was born in Kent more years ago than I care to remember.
I was given a Kodak Instamatic camera at the age of about nine or ten to take photographs of a school visit to France and this was where the hobby began. This little camera accompanied me on various trips and holidays including Formula One racing at Brands Hatch and Silverstone! How naive was I to believe I could capture anything worthwhile at these events?! This camera was succeeded by a Halina 35mm compact, a machine with 'grown up' film I thought.
Fast forward to 1986 and I became the proud owner of an East European Praktica MTL50 c/w 50mm, 135mm lens and a flash gun. This was soon supplemented with a 28mm wide angle lens. I had arrived! Obviously, this camera could not match the build quality of certain Japanese cameras but with careful use it was more than capable of producing very presentable pictures, and in fact still performs well after countless films having passed through it. I imagine I felt like many people after they have their first SLR in their hands that I now 'had the gear' and was therefore a 'proper' photographer. Following a suggestion from a work colleague I joined the sadly now defunct Romney Marsh Camera Club in 1988. I walked in thinking I knew it all and soon realised I knew nothing! Keen to learn I devoured everything the visiting lecturers said and a fellow member taught me basic black and white darkroom techniques which led to me setting up my own rudimentary darkroom in the corner of my garage. The ability to produce my own images from the taking stage to the finished print resulted in greater satisfaction, perhaps more importantly, higher quality and an understanding of how photography works.
I still have that Praktica which over the years was joined by various other cameras including a dabble in medium format. In 1998 I became a founder member of the St Marys Bay Camera Club, an organisation which deliberately set out to embrace both film and the fast emerging digital technology coming into photography. At that time I was still a dedicated film photographer and not over convinced at the quality of the infant digital world. The affordable(!) digital cameras of the time gave nowhere near the results I craved but I discovered good quality could be obtained by going hybrid by scanning film originals. I began by scanning my negatives and slides with a Canon 35mm film scanner and a flatbed Canon D2400u gave very good A4 prints from my medium format negatives. However, in 2004 I took the plunge and bought myself a Nikon D70. This camera and myself are now quite inseparable and it is amazing how much of the film techniques that I learnt with the Praktica and in that old darkroom can be applied in this modern age. Although I still use the old D70 it has been supplemented by two other Nikon DSLR's as the years have passed.
Digital photography has opened the door to many but I am convinced those of us from the old school with our darkroom knowledge certainly have more than a foot in the digital door already.
In 2009 a life change saw me become a member of the Folkestone Camera Club. 2010 saw a major advancement when after meeting Brian May at the Folkestone Book Festival that year I embarked on stereoscopic and 3D imaging. This has proved to be highly enjoyable and very interesting to me.
Well, that's me. I hope you receive the same amount of enjoyment from my photographs as I have had producing them.