Photography has been a big thing round here since the late 1960s. Ignoring Mickey Mouse cameras (like an early Kodak Instamatic) my first ‘proper’ camera was a Praktika SLR bought in Hamburg 43 years ago. I forget the exact model (Nova 1b?) but this was soon upgraded to a Praktika LTL. During the 1970s and 1980s I must have gone through half a dozen SLRs, such as Pentax ME Super and Pentax Super A, before acquiring a Canon EOS 500 in December 1994.
This was a damned fine camera, but by 1999 it was obvious that film was on the way out, and I shelled out for my first digital camera — a 1.6 megapixel (!) Kodak DC265 (I’m too embarassed to admit how much I actually paid, but at the time I thought the results weren’t bad). My next digital camera, a Nikon 5700, was a ‘bridge’ between a compact and an SLR, and was a major leap forward as it offered SLR-type features, including the ability to shoot in RAW format; many good pictures resulted. By 2005 digital SLRs had become more affordable, and I bought a Canon EOS 350D, which took me full circle back to SLR photography — but without any of the costs of film and developing.
Why a Canon DSLR and not a Nikon? One the one hand I liked the Nikon 5700’s user interface, whereas I hated the Canon Ixus compact I used briefly. But having played with a Canon EOS 350D, I found the interface very user-friendly; and so it has proved ever since. So when, in 2011, we decided we wanted a compact camera that we could carry with us everywhere (but which still had DSLR-like features such as the ability to capture images in RAW format, manual focusing, exposure bracketing etc) we stuck with Canon because of the intuitive interface and chose a Powershot G12. By this time (bearing in mind that I’d by now bought a couple of Canon EF-S lenses) I’d stepped up to a Canon EOS 40D, progressing to an EOS 7D in 2012.
Hand-in-hand with digital photography goes digital image editing. There are numerous tools for this out there, but (ignoring the free ones) the most prevalent and highly respected are Photoshop, or its less complex sibling Photoshop Elements. Which you choose is a function of cost and whether you feel you need all the extra features that Photoshop offers over Elements. I’m not going to get into the debate about whether editing your photos after you’ve taken them is somehow ‘cheating’, which brings me neatly on to a further refinement in the editing process: HDR. To learn more about this, click the HDR photos tab at left.