My 12+ years of Digital Photography. – Part I

Ilahee Park, Bremerton WA
Ilahee Park, Bremerton, WA – taken with the Olympus C2100UZ

I have been taking photographs since I was about 12 or 13 years young.  My first camera was an Imperial 127 Roll Film camera that my grandmother got for me with 3 books of Gold Bond trading stamps.   (back in those days, when you went to a grocery store, they would give you trading stamps based upon the total value of your purchases.)   I guess that would have been around 1964 or 1965.  Later I would get a degree in Photography and was a photographer in the US Navy.  That would be followed by several years in commercial, wedding, industrial, micrographics, darkroom and biomedical and surveillance photo work.   I loved photography.  Since childhood, it was what I wanted to do.

While in pursuit of the ever necessary paycheck though, I had fallen away from photography for a time. Immersed professionally deeply into the customer service industry, my last film camera that I owned was an Olympus IS1.  While it was an amazingly good quality “all in one” camera, for some reason, perhaps the nature and stress of my work in customer service I had begun to loose interest in photography or maybe it was that I just lost my sense of vision.  It may also have been in part due to the fact that after many years in chemical darkrooms I had began to develop sensitivities to some of the chemicals.   I couldn’t afford to send my work to the “Good Labs” for prints and the lessor labs always left my images “underwhelmed”.

In July 2001, I was relocated to Bremerton, WA to work at a new call center there as a Senior Care Rep (providing support and training to other care reps). Bremerton is located on the Puget Sound across from Seattle. It is a beautiful place, lush and green. Rained a lot much of the year but the entire area had a certain mystical quality to it. Being out of the big city (but only a short ferry boat ride from Seattle) I began to regain my photographic yearnings. Surrounded by mountains, forests, and the waters of the Puget Sound and the Pacific ocean, I made a decision to try something new and to restart doing photography and to test the still emerging waters of digital photography.

The Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest are a veritable Photographers Paradise.   Of course you do have to deal with 8+ months with lots of rain but that aside, it is a mystical, magical sort of photographers dream.

Olympus C2100UZ
Olympus C2100UZ

My first digital camera was an Olympus C2100UZ, fondly nicknamed by many of its owners as “The UZI” It had only 2 megapixels but came with a good quality 10X power zoom lens. Very state of the art at the time and quite expensive even by today’s standards. That was the camera that took once and for all away from darkrooms, film and chemical processing and into the world of digital imaging. It was large, slow but amazingly friendly, and I got many months of enjoyable and fun use out of it. Eventually I longed for something better as 4-5 megapixel cameras were becoming the standard, but my “UZI” was the one that started a time of new “photographic pleasures and exploration for me. The UZI was only the first in a long line of digital cameras that I would own, most of the early ones were lower end “all in one” superzooms, or at least what passed for a superzoom at that time.

Nikon Coolpix 5700

Next up on the list was Nikon Coolpix 5700.  It amazes me that for more then a decade Nikon has held onto the “Coolpix” name for their consumer cameras, at a time when it seems that most manufacturers change their naming schemes every 2 or 3 years.   The Nikon 5700 was a 5 megapixel camera with an 8X zoom.   For its time, it really was a pretty good deal and took reasonable quality photos for its level.  While not the fastest camera around, since I had cut my photographic teeth on very old fully manual cameras, the 5700 seemed like a technological marvel.

Third up came the Sony F707.  This was a very unique model of camera with a solidly built but small body and a very large5X F2.0 – F2.4 Contax/Zeiss lens which was very fast for those days.  The lens was of excellent quality and resolution but had one serious drawback.  The Chromatic Aberation (CA) on it was horrendous at times.  So much so that it could ruin many an otherwise excellent shot.  The good shots were very good and the bad shots were bad.  But it was relatively quick compared to the first two.

In 2004, I would be relocated back to Denver, CO much against my will.   But before then I acquired the best of my first four digital cameras, a Panasonic FZ-20, still only 5 megapixels, same as the Nikon and Sony, but with an incredible 12X zoom.  By that time sensor technologies were improving and the image quality was quite exceptional on the FZ-20.   I took more photos with that camera, then any other.   It would continue to serve me well even after I returned to Colorado.    It was my first “favorite” camera.

My greatest regret, if any, was the untimely relocation back to Colorado, not because Colorado is lacking for photographic opportunities, but because I felt that I had not completed several photographic goals I set for myself while living in the Pacific Northwest, not the least of which was to photograph and document all of the Lighthouses of the US Northwest region.   A goal I only made a small dent in before I had to leave.

This story will continue in Part II of “12+ years of Digital Photography” which is coming soon.  However for now, below are a few more photos from the Pacific Northwest and Puget sound areas for your enjoyment.

You can many more of my photographs from Washington state in my Lightweaver Galleries (Washington) 

– Lightweaver (David Wendel Robinson)

Passenger ferry from Bremerton to Seattle

Coast Guard Patrol Boat on the Puget Sound
Fall leaves on wooden deck.

Old mining locomotive wheel

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

All photographs copyright © David Wendel Robinson.   All rights reserved.

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