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About Me        

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.

I 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.

This 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.

Fast 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 Michael Reichmannís Luminous Landscape site.I decided to attend a workshop given by Michael in Death Valley National Park in 2003.

This 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.

Within 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 capture.

None 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 horizon.

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.

I 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.

Hope you enjoy the photos on this site and will visit it often.

Mike Ruegg- September, 2005