My interest in photography began at the age of 14. My first camera was
a Contax I 35mm rangefinder camera that my father had stored in a
closet. This camera had no exposure meter, all settings were manually made
based on an old Weston handheld exposure meter. These cameras were made
pre-WW 2 in Germany in competition with Leica.† In early 2005 the current owner of the Contax name announced
that they are largely retiring this brand after about 70 years of existence.
only used the Contax rangefinder for about a year or so, when I started to
crave a single lens reflex (SLR) with a built in meter. The best camera
made at that time was the Nikon Ftn.†
I used this camera throughout high school and college, mainly for
travel photos and family shots.† Most
of the time I shot black and white film and had a full dark room set up.† My darkroom technique left quite a bit of
room for improvement, so in college I took a photography class.† I learned some things; including getting
access to the collegeís color dark room.
experience in color was great, but I quickly realized just how complicated
and expensive printing color could be, not to mention just how toxic the
chemicals needed, let alone the color management issues, equipment required,
etc.† As a result I never tried to
incorporate color printing into my home darkroom.
forward about 20+ years, I was still using my Nikon based film camera, mainly
for family snapshots and travel photography.†
I got back into a more active hobby role, purchasing a new auto focus
SLR and lenses.† Browsing the
Internet, I found numerous sites promoting landscape photography, including
Luminous Landscape site.†
I decided to attend a workshop given by Michael in Death Valley
National Park in 2003.
workshop really opened my eyes as far as the possibilities of digital
photography.† One of the participants was
Thomas Knoll, the inventor of PhotoShop.†
At that time Thomas was coding what was to become the Adobe Camera Raw
(ACR) application.† The benefit of
working exclusively in digital using digital single lens reflex (DSLR)
cameras was nothing short of astounding to me.
a month after the workshop, I had purchased a Nikon D100 DSLR and was amazed
at the outstanding quality and ability to produce enlargements using this
technology.† Almost immediately I abandoned
conventional film-based photography almost completely and went digital.† With the exception of the Death Valley
gallery, virtually all the photos on this web site are original digital
of this comes cheap.† Digital capture
immediately pointed out, as film never really had, the quality or lack there
of, of my existing lens collection.†
In the intervening years, I replaced all my lenses with the
professional grade equivalents.† I
have also added a Nikon D2H camera as a back up to my D100.† Unfortunately the days of buying a camera
and keeping it for 10 or 20 years have pretty much disappeared with the
advent of the digital revolution in photography.† Cameras are now like any other consumer electronic product --
there is always something new and better on the market or just over the
benefits of digital outweigh this disadvantage over film however.† I find that being able to experiment with
composition and exposure without worry about processing cost, has clearly
improved my photographic capabilities and vision.† As many have pointed out elsewhere, the ability to photograph a
subject and immediately review exposure and composition on a near real time
basis is an invaluable learning experience.†
The other main benefit is the ability to control the creative process
from the original capture of the image through to the final print.
certainly hope you enjoy the images on this site.† From time to time I will be adding new galleries and some
tutorials for techniques that I have found useful.† If you have questions or just want to discuss an equipment
purchase, I would be glad to share any experience or expertise that I have.
you enjoy the photos on this site and will visit it often.
Ruegg† - September, 2005