I am not a photographer. I take pictures and small movies with a camera. There is a big difference. Ask any real photographer. A real photographer has gone to a special academy or is really talented. I didn't and I am not. On the other hand, I took pictures since the late 1970's and I went through a lot of camera's with different kinds of films and lenses. I lived during the digital revolution and that felt nice. I was there.
Photography an sich is not my goal, it is an instrument to save some moments, images and to assist my memory. I use the images for illustrations of papers, stories and websites and databases. Although photography is not the goal and only an instrument, it is nice to try to make pictures as nice as possible according to my own tast. I am not competitive enough to join contests, so I do not have to achieve that special kind of "perfect photography". I am more or less charmed by trends as lomography, where people take pictures with very simple and very imperfect camera's. May be it is a kind of accepting that nothing is supposed to be perfect. I am a man. (This is a reference to that movie with Marylin Monroe, and as soon as I know how to make real footnotes, this will become one).
What I would like to do on this page is tell about my photography, its history, the different camera's and techniques that I used. Of course this has to be illustrated by pictures. I will make changes and add content over time.
Am I autodidact?
Since I didn't go to an academy and still think I can tell you something about photography, does, may be, raise the question: "Am I autodidact?". Well, Yes and No. Now if that ain't an ambivalent answer. I followed some courses, which were fun to do. I remember my first experience with photography at elementary or primary school. The last two and a half years of this phase of education I spent on the "Van der Wall School" in Zutphen, the Netherlands. Apart from the usual grammar, math, history, geography, biology and bible classes and gymnastics, there was a special system of extra classes for, as far as I remember, two afternoons each week in which you could choose for periods of six weeks what class you wanted to follow. These were called "Ateliers". I remember I did folkdancing, knitting (a kind of worm), soldering a lamp from an old coffie tin. I also did the photography class. I suppose one of the mothers of my fellow students gave the class. I one of the darkest closets of the old schoolbuilding was turned into a doka with a red bulb. I remember we made prints of several objects that we put on the paper. Probably a feather. I must have been ten or eleven years old.
The second course on photography I followed together with Marjon many years later and quite recently. We were learning to dive and one of the sports at sportsdiving is collecting all the cards (a kind of collect-all-the-badges game). One of the members of our diveclub LOV Calypso, Rob de Vries, had written a special combination course "Underwater photography" for beginners and advanced. Since the NOB at that time did not have the advanced course, we got two underwaterphotography cards for it. Later on the NOB changed the beginners course into digital underwater photography and I followed a session from Rob to get an upgrade to that badge too. I hope to follow the advanced course too one day to get my badgecollection complete.
A history of camera's
My first foto's I took with a halfframe camera, that I borrowed from Han Kueter, in and around Etten-Leur.
My first camera was a kodak Ectra 22-EF with electronic flash. Taking the parts apart learned me the hard way about capacitors (Dzingngngngn...).My first mirror reflex camera was an old Exacta Varex IIb. It had a telelens of pure messing, very heavy. Everything was mechanical. I had to fix the springs in it to get it working. My favourite film was the Kodacolor 25 asa. I remember my Olympus OM 101 powerfocus and my NIKON F401.
In the beginning of this millenium I switched to digital. First was the Nikon coolpix 990, which I still use on my microscope. I even earned some money taking pictures of fossils for a registration project in Naturalis with a NIKON D70. You can see the results in pdf's via links elsewhere on my site.
Then, in 2006, my life changed considerably. I discovered the world under water and I wanted to take pictures there. Before I started to learn to dive I bought my first underwater camera: a NIKON COOLPIX 5600 with a Fantasea CP-6 house. I took it on a snorkling holiday in Egypt and the housing broke. This is in a nutshell the story of my underwater photography: a series of accidents with camera's under water. Luckily the house broke above water. I bought an Ikelite housing and that holded a few years. Finally it leaked water in my second Egypt holiday and that meant the end of the Nikon. I had a Olympus E510 and E520 with an Ikelite housing and flashes, which was the real work for a few years. In January, 2011, it died a horrible death just about 45 cm under water when the dome got off the house with a "Bloob". Very frustating, it is. Now I am collecting a set with the Olympus PEN PL2 as core and an Olympus house. It is smaller, lighter and the first impression is good. It will probably beat my E510.