I am a physician (cardiologist). I hesitate to lead off with that because to many it may “color” my credibility as an artist. I am guilty of those kinds of biases myself. Hobby, passion or talent? So here is a bit more about me: My dad had a full-time job, but was very talented outside his work arena. One such talent was photography – I would say he was a professional hobbyist. Large format; black and white. He set up posed family and individual child shots about every six months. But he also composed fine art prints, and was a stickler for showing perspective using near-far techniques, often placing a person somewhere in the foreground.
I learned some from him. I play classical guitar and enjoy all types of music. I studied art history in Italy. But the doctor role took me away from producing fine art, though it did not prevent me from developing my artistic side.20081001_RichardGaston7lighter To get into medical school mostly we study sciences and take (and pass) tests is those disciplines. My bias, based on years of observation, is that doctors become “good” after the age of forty. They all know the science of medicine earlier, but the “art” of medicine can only be learned on the job. Some never learn it. I believe I did.
At any rate, as my medical career wound down, my time with photos and Photoshop had a corresponding jump up. The Photoshop part was easy – more technical and scientific, and four full semester courses at the local JC gave me a great base. Like medicine, the art part is harder, takes longer to master and can only be done in the field (reading, and studying with masters, is useful but not enough). Observers might say that my locations are the “standards” and many photographers have traveled those same roads. But each has a slightly different perspective. More, and better, pictures will certainly follow.
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I am currently using Sony cameras. I know, not Canon, not Nikon, not serious. In my film days I was very happy with my Minolta 35 mm-format system, so it was not unnatural to switch over to Sony when I moved to digital. My reasoning was also influenced by bulk. I frequently hike at least moderate distances for some shoots. The weight of 2 or 3 lenses and the camera (and a few small accessories) in my backpack is not trivial. I always carry my tripod of course. The Alpha-100 seemed to me to be a reasonable compromise – very good quality, easier to port around, and by the way considerably less expensive than the top two. The latter was especially relevant given my experience with developing technologies of all types: upgrades will soon follow. Indeed I subsequently moved up to the Alpha-900, heavier than the A-100 but still lighter in weight and cheaper than competitors. My workhorse lenses include the Sony-Zeiss F2.8 24-70 mm zoom, and the Sony G F4.5-5.6 70-300 mm zoom. I was very happy with this system.
The big advantage of the A-900 with its 24.6 megapixel count and full sensor size was, of course, that I can print bigger. Recently (June 2013) I switched to the Sony a99. Why? Because of video. The a900 was released just before most high-end DSLR's added HD video capabilities. I am convinced that the best way to tell a story is will multi-media - stills, text and video. I am doing that now. Look for these on my site in the coming months. Also, I couldn't be more enthused about the electronic viewfinder. I will add one last note about equipment. This may sound like a justification statement, but the sentiment is true. Talented artists make good pictures. Every photographer displaying his/her work has been asked countless times about the equipment he/she uses, the implication being that Nikon/Canon is primarily responsible for the high quality shot. My good and bad shots have little or nothing to do with Sony (although again, high detail in large print sizes is a function of sensor size and megapixel count). One of my goals is to take high quality fine art photos with my travel point-and-shoot camera (currently a FujiFilm 10x), or even my i-Phone. Most accomplished photographers achieve this, no problem. I have suggested on this site that I would post some iPhone pics - I guess I lied. I can't seem to talk (on the phone), chew gum and take pictures at the same time. Damn aging!! I have, however, put up some FujiFilm JPEGs - no one will ever know.