Well, where can I start except that I used to use another camera brand that I had since the early years of my photography experience. I can say I started with an old Ricoh KR 10X full manual camera and two lenses, a 50mm f1.2 Reikenon lens and also a Travenar 28-300mm f4.5-5.6 that gave me sharp images too. I used this Ricoh KR 10X from 1990 to about 1998 and still I know there is absolute nothing wrong with that camera. I built most of the accessories myself if I couldn’t get them imported from Germany or abroad in those days.
My very first photography book I bought was “ A thousand hints and tips”. I cannot remember the author of the book; it was clearly laid out and dummy proof. It was all in black and white and if there was an image, I had to make sure I read everything in detail. Even some of the drawings been hand drawn and notes were clearly set out what to do.
When I living in South Africa, I read the magazine, Practical Photography, I had to import it from the UK and that was the best ever tool I could get my hands on. I can remember I had to wait patiently every month to get the magazine from CNA, in the UK it will be WH Smith and we been three months behind for posting to get the magazine on time. There for it means for any competition in the magazine, I couldn’t enter due the fact my photographs will be late. I send them a letter and ask them if they can reply what the theme will be for every month so I can have an image ready for it. I can remember I won a prize once during my national services year and was not allowed to cash the cheque they’ve sent.
I studied the magazine in detail, what is the best negative to get the best image for the moment, I even went the distance of up rating the ISO from 200 to 800 and when I handed the film in for development, told the lady what settings I used. They thought the photos will be faulty and then their faces changed when they saw the results. The best ever film I used was Fuji Reala 200 ASA and never used the Konica or Kodak again.
I studied the camera in detail what it can do. I read once an article about double or triple exposure and saw some nice effects that can be created. Then I save for two Cokin filters where you get up to five images in a frame. I bought the rings and attachments and also made cardboard filters that went with it. I tested some nice double and triple exposures and some of them look like if I had two identical twin brothers. Then I tried the old famous trick of taking a picture of candlelight and add that into an apple. It was a perfect outcome and then I experienced with different objects to combine them. The best ever one I did, was at a wedding where I photographed the bride and groom, add them into their wedding rings and a glass of sparkling champagne. Someone afterwards said it was cut out and then re photographed, all I done was to show them the negative for proof.
When I saw the huge price to pay for Cokin coloured filters, I made them myself. The English teacher who was very artful, made me a few to test for those I couldn’t make. They worked great and never bought any coloured filters. The only filters I bought were a skylight to protect the lens and the trusty old polarizer.
I made a wooden box with slots to protect them and myself and I think I had about 50 different ones to choose from.
When I started to do sports photography, I been looking at many shops for the RICHO EXWINDER II. That gave me whopping two frames per second. I remember I went to Capetown with two wonderful friends, Estelle Claassen and Estelle Pretorius and we walked through a Tygerberg shopping mall. I spotted the RICHO EXWINDER II and asked if that is only for display or was it for sale. The guy gave me a look and said he will find out. After about 15 minutes of excitement waiting he said I could have it, when I heard the price, I thought he must be wrong and I bought it for next to nothing! I was in the clouds, TWO FRAMES PER SECOND without taking my eye from the eye cap! The disadvantage of that Exwinder is that it is loud. When I say loud, you can’t use it for bird photography, accept if you want to have an artful shot of the last part of the bird taking off and see the tail only without panning. Neither was there a silent mode for it nor when you use it for candid snap shots of people, they knew it was you taking the shot.
Flash: I bought a NISSIN strobe because the Ricoh one was too expensive for me. It has n set of colour gels and eve a plastic cap to soften the light.
Next up: Disaster with the best results and knowledge…