I am a retired mechanical engineer. My last job before retirement was Project Manager for plant modifications in Nuclear Power Plants. I live in Simsbury, a suburb north of Hartford Connecticut. There are several wooded areas, meadows and ponds nearby where one can find deer, birds, and various insects such as dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies. New England is also well known for its fall foliage with various species of maple trees turning yellow, orange and red.
I shot film back in the 1970s and 1980s, mostly Kodachrome 64. Work and family obligations caused me to sideline my photography except for family vacations and holidays. After I retired, my son came over one day with a new Nikon D80. I started playing around with it and realized how much I had enjoyed photography. I bought a D80 with the kit lens and began to reacquaint myself with photography. One of my major interests was macro photography so I got out my 25 year old Nikon 105 f/2.8 micro (MF, no metering) and used a light meter for exposure. Shortly after that I bought the 105mm f/2.8 AF-S micro and spent a lot of time shooting flowers and bugs. I bought a 300 f/4 lens which I have used with tubes or a teleconverter for close-ups of insects. I also learned to do focus stacking.
Interested in shooting sports, I enjoyed the challenge of trying to capture the peak of the action. I moved on to a D300 body and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. We have had a white-water race here in town for the last few years and I always enjoy shooting that. I also shoot various sports at local high schools and prep schools such as soccer, lacrosse, track and field, field hockey and rugby.
For my 70thbirthday, my son and daughter paid my airfare for a trip my son and I took to Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. That was a special trip to take with my son and it also gave me the chance to do some photography in an area with some dramatic and beautiful landscapes. I had not done a lot of landscape photography before that trip. Since then I’ve taken several photo trips including five ANPATs (Annual Nikonians Photographic Adventure Trips) and three trips to Iceland, all of which gave me many landscape opportunities and also opportunities to shoot wildlife.
My son actually found the Nikonians website in the spring of 2007 and suggested I check it out. After checking out some of the forums I decided that it was a site worth supporting and I became a dues paying member.
Nikonians has been a very valuable resource in my development as a photographer. The store of knowledge that exists within the membership would be hard to duplicate anywhere. If you ask a photography related question on one of the forums, chances are you will get a correct answer in short order or there will be a sincere effort to help you solve your problem.
In addition, there are very talented photographers posting their work in the various forums which you can study and learn from. Posting your own work in the forums will provide helpful commentary from the other Nikonians.
Nikonians has also been the source for some of my best photo opportunities. Besides the five ANPATs, my first trip to Iceland was on a Nikonians Academy photo tour. I had wanted to visit Iceland for many years and when Nikonians offered it for the first time in 2013; I took advantage of the opportunity. It was a great trip and made me want to see more of that beautiful country. As a result, I went back to Iceland in 2014 and 2015. Although there was some overlap on the three trips, most of the 2014 and 2015 trips consisted of new places that I had not seen.
Take advantage of what Nikonians has to offer. ANPATs are great opportunities to meet other Nikonians and be taken to previously scouted places where you can come away with some great images. It’s a very enjoyable week. Post your photos in the forums and learn from the other photographers that post in the forums.
ANPAT 11th was my first ANPAT. We arrived at Bryce Canyon from Zion in the afternoon and it was raining. Snow was predicted overnight and we weren’t sure how that would affect our photo opportunities. We left the hotel before dawn even though it didn’t look like we would see a sunrise. Although it was still snowing at sunrise, not long afterward the storm moved on and the sun came out. We had some great light and Bryce looking beautiful with the snow cover.
Thank you all who have helped me and continue to do so through the years, making my photography continuously better and fun.
We thank you, John, for taking the time to share your thoughts and images with the community.
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