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Travel Stories

David Summers (dm1dave) Interview

David Summers (dm1dave)

Keywords: anniversary, share, learn, inspire, anpat, worshops, dm1dave

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Ten years as a Nikonian 

Wow… Ten years of membership in this awesome community.  I have learned so much from the photographers who call Nikonians home.  I can truly say that my involvement in our community has been the single best learning investment I have made since beginning my photographic journey.


Bear Lake, ANPAT 14 at the Rocky Mountain National Park
Click for an enlargement


Unlike many of the charter members, I did not grow up with a relative or friend to inspire me to become a photographer.  In fact, I came to photography much later in life. I have had an artistic interest since high school and while serving in the U.S. Navy I worked in a graphics arts shop as an Illustrator/Draftsman.  During those years, I had periodic contact with the Navy photographers, all of whom used Nikon gear.   My first interest in photography was sparked when I spent time with an avid photographer during port visits in Italy & Spain.  It was a few years later that I picked up my first SLR, a Pentax with a couple of kit lenses, while stationed in Sardinia.  I spent a year or so experimenting on my own. I made some progress, but I found the time lag from shooting to seeing the photos made the learning difficult.  Once I got hold of a digital point and shoot, I just stopped using the film SLR.

Getting started in serious photography.

By the time I retired from the Navy, I noticed that the price of a Digital SLR was starting to get to what I considered reasonable.  I thought it would be fun to again have the control of an SLR and still have the instant feedback of digital.  So, influenced by the Navy photographers and their use of the Nikon system, I went out and bought a D50 with a kit lens.  Unfortunately, it had been quite a while since I used the Pentax so shooting the D50 was just like starting over. I had to relearn the relationship between shutter, aperture and ISO.  So, I turned to the Internet where I discovered Nikonians, registered and stayed on since.


Nikon D50


Relearning the basics and more

I spent quite a bit of time just reading and exploring the site, but I was somewhat reluctant to take on a paid membership.  After a few weeks of reading every day, it became obvious that Nikonians was not like other internet discussion forums that I had participated in.  The people here were friendly, there were no flame wars, and no one was ridiculed for asking “dumb” questions.  A true community. The focus on Nikon gear makes it much easier to find information regarding the use of your gear. The terminology and the basic functions of the cameras, location of controls are pretty consistent in the Nikon world.

As time passed, I realized having the ability to post images directly in thread messages along with my questions, would help me find answers I was looking for.  I also needed a basic gallery for sharing images with family and friends.  So, I signed up for a Silver membership.  Over the next couple of years, with the help of Nikonian members, my photography advanced quickly.  I was soon able to help new members in the same way that Nikonians had helped me before.  When it was time to renew my membership, I decided to upgrade to a Gold membership in order to support the mission of this wonderful resource.

Community and friends

Another thing that makes Nikonians special is the sense of community and real friendship.  In the forums we meet people from all over the world with common interests. The friendly exchange of ideas and sharing photos quickly leads to on-line friendships.  I have since had a chance to meet and become close friends with several local Nikonians.  We usually meet on the Mississippi river each year during eagle season. We all encourage other Nikonians to come down to photograph the eagles together. 


Eagles with Nikonians
Click for an enlargement


In addition to improving skills with local Nikonians friends, I attended a Nikonians Academy wildlife workshop at Grand Teton National Park. We had a great week, with a group of eight Nikonians, exploring and photographing the park and its wildlife. The Academy instructor, Jim Stamates, was a great group leader. 


Grand Teton National Park
Click for an enlargement



(10 Votes )
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Originally written on September 15, 2016

Last updated on November 29, 2017


User on November 19, 2016

So much of your experience mirrors my own, David. I learnt my darkroom/photographic skills while serving with the RAF in Sharjah UAR. The base photographer was kind enough to allow me access to the darkroom and guide me through the mysteries of that place. I too upgraded to Gold membership after a while as an non-member viewer, so glad I did. I spent many long hours in my own wet darkroom after this but completely abandoned it when I bought my 1st digital camera (Panasonic Lumix FZ50). I learned of Nikonians when my daughter presented me with a Nikon D7000/18-105 kit lens for my 70th birthday and was immediately enthralled by the site. I love the series of images that accompany this article which go to the experience of meeting as groups and getting to places I can only dream of. Thank you for the insight. Best regards...........David J

Barry Schirm (BSchirm) on October 25, 2016

Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Wildlife & Landscape Photography awarded for  winning in the Best of Nikonians 2014 images Photo Contest Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2011 images Photo Contest Fellow Ribbon awarded for the continuous sharing of his inspirational photographic abilities and for helping and encouraging members as they advance from beginner into advanced photography.

Congrats Dave...glad to have you as part of the community!

James Gould (jgould2) on October 9, 2016

Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit.

Hi Dave. Great article. Enjoyed hearing how you got started in photography. You have always been a great help and inspiration to me. JIM

Srinivasamurthy Prakash (niknac37) on October 2, 2016

Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

David, its always a pleasure to see your postings inspires me a lot. Congratualtions on you being a decade long Nikonian. I wish you many more years as Nikonians,I am one of those who have honed their skills from your encouraging tips. I would be too happy if Nikonians can conduct field trips and workshops in India too it will help a lot youngsters. If I can be of any help in this I will be too glad. Pakku

Ian McNicol...aka Scotty. (Scotty45) on September 23, 2016

Congratulations on 10 years Dave. Your wildlife photos have been an inspiration to me......Scotty.

David Summers (dm1dave) on September 23, 2016

Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art a

Thank you all for the encouraging comments!

Luis R Carrasquillo (Sonia1976) on September 21, 2016

Congratulations great article

John D. Roach (jdroach) on September 21, 2016

Fellow Ribbon awarded. John exhibits true Nikonian spirit by frequently posting images and requesting comments and critique, which he graciously accepts. He is an inspiration to all of us through constant improvement in his own work, keen observations and excellent commentary on images posted by others. Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Ribbon awarded for his generous contribution to the 2019 Fundraising campaign

Really nice article, David. Congrats on the 10 years, all you do for Nikonians, etc.

Paul Reps (preps) on September 21, 2016

Congratulations! And thanks for what and all you do! I was honored to be involved in the August "Wildlife in their environment" contest! Ironically, I was with with Jim and Kathy on a 2015 Fall Funshop in the Teton's when I shot my image of the "Criossing"! This past spring was an even better experience, this is truly the best forum and group of members, as all care for and about each other and our common interest. Nikonians has helped me so much, and that's the enjoyment of the experience! Thanks Dave!

Scott Ashley (scottashley) on September 20, 2016

Laureate Ribbon awarded as a Winner in a Nikonians Best of Images Annual Photo Contest Winner in the Annual Nikonians Best Images Contest 2015 Awarded for for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest

Very nice article. We appreciate all you do!

Roberta Davidson (birdied) on September 18, 2016

Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest

Congratulations Dave ! Thank you for all the work you have done for your help and encouragement. Birdie

philippe ned baba (nevan) on September 18, 2016

Congratulations for all the devotion for photography and the Nikonians cause. My big regret is to be sooo far away from you all. Keep it up Dave Cheers Ned

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on September 17, 2016

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Congratulations Dave :) Always a pleasure seeing your comments and your stunning images here. Nice to get a 'behind the scene' article, because one can only imagine of how much extra time there must go into...and find the time to make some pictures still :) Hope for many more years to come and thanks for taking your time for us. Cheers!

P.R.S. Sivakumar (PRSS) on September 17, 2016

Congratulations and thanks for your narration of how you became a photographer. Quite inspiring ! Best regards PRSS

William McEwen (Wolfgang55) on September 16, 2016

Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

Nice piece. You always are available to help others, it's been a pleasure. Bill

Patricia Holmes (Patsyanne) on September 16, 2016

Congratulations, what you have written is very encouraging for me. As I just started to use my new D3300, I have so much to learn. I only joined last week, l started far too late at 74, it's a matter of remembering everything lol. Pat.

Ray Heslewood (Hessy) on September 16, 2016

Thanks for the work you have done Dave. Your article on how to photograph birds in flight (BIFs) was a big help when I started in that area of photography. Happy 10th anniversary. Ray

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2) on September 15, 2016

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Hey Dave, It was great to learn more about you. You lend great service to all of us with your work on contests, offering advice, postings on Facebook, and I am sure I have no idea all that you do. Thanks so much. It is always a treat seeing the images that you take and post. Ten years - a great accomplishment!

Dale Maas (marnigirl) on September 15, 2016

Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for his generous contribution to the 2017-2018 fundraising campaign

Hi Dave, great article and Go Navy ;-). Really enjoyed the recap of your 10 years, congratulations. Your posting are always of a caliber I wish I could emulate. Keep Clicking. Take Care and enjoy the next 10!!! Dale

Donna Knodle (dgknodle) on September 15, 2016

Ribbon awarded for her very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Loved reading this article, Dave. In fact, I read it again because I knew I probably missed something. You have added so much to Nikonians with your skills and knowledge over the years. Your work and contributions are what makes this organization so great. Thank you for all of the behind-the-scenes efforts that you do for the rest of us.

Zita Kemeny (zkemeny) on September 15, 2016

(Edited by zkemeny Friday, 07 July 2017 ) Congratulation to your anniversary.

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