I took my first photographs with an Instamatic 126 cartridge film camera for a summer school class in 1975. This type of camera was very popular in the years before cheap do-everything 35mm cameras were introduced, but has now been relegated to history. I recently mentioned something about “flash cubes” to my housemate, and he had no idea what I was talking about! My girlfriend followed that up by telling me that she had always wondered why the camera toys she played with as a child had square things on top that turned when she pretended to take a picture. I ended up picking up a box of flash cubes on eBay just to show them what they were.

A year later, I used my mother's 1940s-era 35mm rangefinder camera to get some more interesting photos. But I didn't really get into it until I bought a 35mm SLR in December 1980. I worked at Holman's Department Store in Pacific Grove, which had a photo store concessionaire (Camera World - not the same as Camera World of Oregon). He gave me a discount on equipment, so I bought a Mamiya ZE camera and, later, a Bell & Howell Slide Cube projector from him.

The ZE had automatic exposure and manual focus and F-stop. I used it for nine years, taking many thousands of photographs, before breaking it at a beach party (another partygoer fell against me and caused the flash to break off, taking the top of the camera with it). I replaced it with a Pentax SF-1, which I used for nine years. It had autofocus, a power winder, and a built-in flash that I often found handy, but the shutter release was somewhat slower and the Tokina lenses I bought for it had much more internal reflection than the Mamiya lenses did. These flaws stood out because of my subject material, which often involves transient events and bright subjects at night.

After a couple of years of using the SF-1, I began looking at other camera systems, mainly so that I could get better and more interesting lenses. In 1998 (after six years of looking!) I finally switched to the Canon EOS line, starting with a used EOS 620 from Camera World. The 620 is relatively old (made around 1990), but has a number of nice features. It works better for long exposures since it does not consume power while the shutter is open, and it is very robust. Since then I've acquired a nice selection of EOS bodies (all in the 600 line), lenses, and accessories, particularly including a Technical Back E for each body, which records all of the exposure information and allows it to be downloaded later through a serial port.

Some of favorite subjects are pyrotechnics, people, and natural scenes. Here's a description of how I used to get pictures of rocket launches. I used to take lots of pictures of sunrises and sunsets, but that was when I got up earlier and lived a block from the ocean.

In December 2002, I finally bought a slide scanner, after a decade or so of consideration. I'm very slowly going through my slides and putting them up in these

Photo Galleries
Other stuff:
Here are some interesting photography-related pages I've come across.
This web page maintained by John DuBois