I am a semi-professional photographer that lives in Tacoma, Washington. I’ve lived here for nine years, and previously lived in the Northeast and Midwest, growing up in Buffalo, NY. I spent over 30 years in the railroad industry, starting as a labourer and working my way up to a marketing executive position. Two years ago I moved to a rail related job in the manufacturing industry. The change has been great, but it keeps me very busy and has cut down on the time I have for photography.
Tacoma is a seaport/industrial town that has suffered from the decline in manufacturing in the US. Most of the interesting old industrial buildings have been torn down as the city tries to gentrify and become a mini-Seattle. Never-the-less, photographing the remaining “old” Tacoma is interesting, and there is the scenery afforded by Puget Sound, the nearby Cascade and Olympic mountains (including Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks), the vibrancy of Seattle, wildlife (especially eagles, herons, migrating swans, geese and owls), and the many museums and collections of historic aircraft and automobiles. There really is something here for any photographic interest. The only downside is the dreary weather from October to June. 50 shades of gray really do describe the rainy season in the Pacific North West.
I get bored shooting a single subject, so I tend to shoot anything else that will result in an interesting image. But I think geometrically - lines, colors and patterns catch my eye. I am most interested in architecture and industrial photography, especially the details in a structure. I tend to prefer to shoot with a telephoto, so for me a walk around lens is an 18-300mm superzoom, instead of something 100mm or less on the long end. (Which doesn’t explain why I have so many wide angle lenses!)
I can’t remember how I found the Nikonians Community - it will soon be more than a decade that I have been a member. At first I was attracted to the concentration on Nikon equipment. In 2004 I got back into photography after a long absence, with a D70 and 2 kit lenses. Nikonians was a great resource of information on equipment and technique in a friendly, cooperative manner. What I saw spurred me to want to improve my photography as well as my equipment (perhaps I’ve done better at the latter than the former, thanks NAS!).
I have learned a lot from other members and the various articles in the community. I also hope I have been able to make some contributions to other photographers as well as to the success of Nikonians. For the most part, the community is a collegial community of photographers with most people just want to be helpful, not to show-off. The ability to find information on techniques, equipment characteristics and equipment use is very valuable; there truly are no stupid questions in the Nikonians Community.
In addition, I have met some great people through the community. For a while we had an active chapter in the Pacific Northwest of the US (chapter which, unfortunately, has become less active due to my increased workload). Plus when I travel, I have been able to meet up with several members and arrange to shoot with them. Great learning experiences and great camaraderie!
By way of sharing advice - Slow down, think about what you want to capture, create something unique, and get a great image based on your skill. Except when shooting sports or wildlife, when luck can be more important and continuous shooting is your best friend.
Probably the most fun and satisfying shoot that I have done was a corporate job that involved shooting from a helicopter for 12 hours over 2 days. 1400 shots and about 30% were worth a further look, which under the circumstances was a pretty good keeper rate. I got some great advice in advance from other Nikonians regarding equipment to use and settings. That all paid off. The only thing they didn’t adequately warn me about was the potential for airsickness. Fortunately, that never came to a complete conclusion, but next time Dramamine is on my prep list!
Mick, you have shown us your great facility with the camera and the breadth in the type of work that you have undertaken. It is a pleasure to review your images and to have benefited from your knowledge and advice that you freely share.
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