In the beginning
I am a forester (retired) by trade and have worked most of my career on the B.C. coast. I first became interested in photography while a youngster and have been taking photographs for as long as I can remember. I went through the usual phases: snapshots, better cameras, slide film, darkroom work, artistic efforts, surrealism and so forth. Throughout my life I have always focussed on nature photography, only reluctantly adding works of man to my images. With marriage, work and a family the photography took a back seat and was purely documentary for a number of years.
During this period I purchased a Nikon FE and later upgraded to the FE2 SLR and a couple of nikon lenses - which started me down the Nikon path. Once you start building a lens collection they have you hooked. I subsequently bought a F90 and some serious Nikon glass including the 24mm f/2.8, 35-70mm f/2.8D, 80-200 f/2.8D and a Gitzo 320 tripod with the swiss arca B1 ball head. Now I had some professional equipment but I wasn't taking that many photos: the equipment was heavy and cumbersome, and I was always concerned about it being stolen. Then there was the issue of slide and negative processing time and cost plus how do you store and catalog all those photos? I bought a HP photosmart scanner to scan slides and negs, but discovered that takes mondo time. My photography was definately fading.
The advent of digital photography
In 2000 I made the transition from analog to digital. At first I was kind of dubious, having guessed that 10 megapixels was about what it was going to take to replace the quality I was enjoying with the F90. This turned out to be a pretty good guess. At this time there were no digital SLRs available other than the Nikon D1 for a cool $6,000 which bought you 2.6 MP.
I saw some prints from 2.1 mp (I think it was an Olympus camera) and checked out some photos published on the web, and ended up buying a Nikon Coolpix 990, and subsequently a 995. In addition I used the Nikon 3x tele-extender, which I loved! I also purchased the Kenko 8x32 scope, which at full zoom with the 995 results in 24X magnification. However, I have been disappointed with the overall quality and focussing is very challenging (you have to prefocus the scope, then put back on the camera) - you get what you pay for. I understand some digiscopers are having better success with quality scopes, but I remain sceptical after viewing the photos pubished on the web - they lack sharpness and snap. But what a difference between analog and small sensor digital: the equipment is light and easy to take everywhere at the sacrifice of some quality compared to 35mm systems, but the main thing is the instant gratification in seeing those images in your computer. But you probably know all this if you are visiting my site.
About the only equipment that I did not mothball (I could not bring myself to sell my film camera and lenses) was my tripods: I had a Gitzo with an Arco monoball (great tripod, but due to it's weight I only take it with me when I anticipate the need); a benbo trekker which is light and works great with the light digital equipment, and I have a couple of monopods, which I use more than the tripods. I have to confess I take many more photos without the additional support of the 'pods - I know, the tripod is the most important piece of equipment... but I sure am having fun!
Moving on to a DSLR
While I thoroughly enjoyed the Coolpix 900 series, I started to long for the quality and flexibility of the 35mm systems. When the Nikon D100 became available I decided the price threshold for a DSLR had finally dropped to where I could jump in, which I did, acquiring a D100 in the summer of 2002. My stable of nikkor lenses suddenly seemed less than adequate and in the next year I traded my 80-200 for a 70-200VR; added a 300/4 and finally a 500/4 in the fall of 2003. With the D100 my interest in photography became much more serious and I think I made some fine landscape and nature photos. Now that I was starting to push the envelop I wanted a better body, that could stand up to the rigours of the field and always be ready. The D100, with it's relatively small buffer, meant I was losing some great shots.
When the D2h came on the market it was a logical progression from the D100. I only had two reservations: the 4MP files and the reported noise. After some testing I determined that a D2h 4MP file was equivalent to a D100 6MP file and the noise issue can be worked around by getting the exposure right or in software - I sold my D100 and replaced it with the D2h. It is much more ergonomic piece of equipment than the X00 series. More importantly, my photography, which was moving more toward birds, has improved significantly.
The next Nikon offering was the D2X, a 12.4 MP camera, which I purchased in 2005. I upgraded for one reason - the extra resolution permits greater cropping and improved landscapes. The D2X is an exacting body, exposing any weakness in a lens or technique. So far it has been a joy to use. My only gripe is Nikon's idiotic encryption of the WB. What on earth were they thinking?
Subsequently Nikon released the D3 and D300, and I finally switched to full frame when the D700 was available to take advantage of the superior noise and dynamic range. Technology marches on and I acquired a D3X to complement the D700. The D3X produces the finest low ISO files and the best metering I have seen to date.
Time marches on and a new iteration of Nikon cameras are released - I now own the D4 and the D800.
The BC Coast
I live in a beautiful part of the world in Nanaimo, BC. The coast has an interesting climate with many personalities. I have been fortunate enough, through my career as a forest engineer, to see most to the coast, including some areas that few have walked.
I have always been interested in nature and have gravitated to longer telephotos in order to capture smaller vignettes. I became interested in bird photography and find it similar to fishing. You go out with an objective in mind, to capture a certain bird, perhaps a portrait. Maybe you find it and maybe you do not. But it does not really matter, as you have been rewarded with an interesting experience in beautiful surroundings - life is good! And, once in a while, you make a remarkable photo which is just icing on the cake. Of course, each success ups the ante, requiring an even better photo next time, which makes photography such a challenging pastime. I am looking forward to a lifetime of learning and improvement.
I hope you enjoy viewing my galleries as much as I enjoy filling them.