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John Ainsworth ARPS

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Photography - Video - Clarinet - Computer - Woodturning

   Mevagissey Cornwall   
Mevagissey Cornwall

 More than Sixty Years of Photography

Background

 

I first became seriously interested in photography at the age of 15 years in 1948, when I obtained a Kodak Retina II 35mm camera and a Gnome Gamma enlarger and started to process my own negatives and enlargements. Results were, technically, not very good as, at that time, I didn't understand the importance of having an enlarger lens of the same quality as the camera lens. However the bug had bitten and I have been a keen photographer ever since.

 

In the 1950s I attended a course at a local night school and later in that decade started processing colour slides. I also began filming in 8mm cine - but more of this on my VIDEO page.

 

In the late 1960s I began processing colour prints. At that time this was a five bath process working in almost total darkness but the results were excellent. My cameras during this period were a Kine Exakta single lens reflex and later a Pentax Spotmatic and a Mamiyaflex C33 medium format twin (exchangeable) lens camera. The enlarger lens was upgraded to a Taylor Hobson. 

I joined the Royal Photographic Society during this time and had two prints exhibited at their annual exhibitions. I also had one of my prints used as the cover of "Amateur Photographer" magazine and gained a highly commended in one of the magazine's competitions.

 

A house move in 1969 put a temporary end to darkroom work until 1980 when some of the children had left home and I was able to re-establish in a converted bedroom. 

 

At this time I joined a camera club and became involved in competitive photography. The enlarger was upgraded to a Durst 605 and I acquired a Canon A1 35mm camera.

 

In 1988 I applied for and was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Associateship, a distinction I had often coveted. By now I had upgraded the Mamiyaflex to a Bronica ETRS.

 

In 1994 I decided it was getting too onerous to carry around a medium format camera and accessories, so I replaced the Bronica and Canon with a Nikon F90.

 

A couple of years after this I decided that the future was in digital imaging so I sold all my darkroom equipment and transferred my photographic activities to a computer. I scanned prints into the computer, processed them in Adobe Photoshop and printed on an A3 Epson printer.

 

In the year 2001 I sold my Nikon equipment and became fully digital with the acquisition of an Olympus E10. This proved to be a joy to use, the ability to view a shot immediately after taking and to delete any that were considered unsatisfactory removed the financial constraints of the amount of film you can afford to use. The results were amazingly good, the lens was superb, and A3 prints were easily achieved in spite of the fact that the sensor was only 4Mp just 10% of many current cameras (2016). In 2004 I upgraded this to an E20 (5Mp) together with wide angle and telephoto supplementary lenses.

 

In 2005 I changed again to a Canon EOS 20D with 17mm-85mm and 70mm-300mm lenses. This was an excellent camera and removed the main disadvantage of the E10/20s in that it was ready to shoot virtually immediately it was switched on, whereas the Olympus cameras suffered from a ten second delay. The Canon lenses both had image stabilisers and this made hand held telephoto shots much more feasible.

 

In 2007 I added a Canon PowerShot G7 compact camera to my collection. This small camera has a 10Mp sensor, many easy to use controls, 6x zoom and takes the Canon range of flashguns. An amazing pocketable unit with a superb lens. I am very impressed with the results this little camera produces.The main feature I miss is the SLR viewfinder. In 2007 I also changed the EOS 20D body for an EOS 400D. This body was perhaps the most comfortable to use I had come across. All the controls were easy to access and I liked the fact that the settings display was in the rear screen rather than in a cramped top panel. The camera was probably not sturdy enough for full professional use but for my limited use, by then, it was excellent. In 2011 I upgraded the 400D to a 600D which is very similar to the 400D but has a Live mode, a swivelling screen, sensor size increased to 18Mp and a video facility. I also added two more lenses a Canon 100mm macro lens and a Tamron 10-24mm wide angle.

 

In 2013 I reached 80 years of age and in an attempt to boost my interest I upgraded again to a professional quality camera, the Canon 5D Mark III. This camera lacks some of the extras found on cheaper cameras such as the swivelling screen and a built in flash and it also does not have the programme settings for Portrait, Macro, Landscape etc but I find this a relief! I never used the programmes anyway as I prefer to make my own decisions regarding aperture and shutter speed choice. The camera is beautifully made and is weatherproof. I am looking forward to getting to know this camera.

 

For 3 years I enjoyed the quality the 5D produced, though I did have increasing difficulty in holding the camera still enough to achieve really sharp images. I think this was due to the impact of the mirror when the shutter fired. I also gradually found transporting the camera and four lenses too onerous, so in 2016 I decided to change yet again and abandon full frame in favour of something lighter and also mirrorless. After considerable online research I settled on a Sony RX10 III, classified as a Bridge camera but, as I soon discovered, capable of excellent results. This camera has a Zeiss 24-600mm (35mm equivalent) lens which almost doubles the range of my previous four lenses, and in a single lens! This camera is extremely flexible and I particularly like the facility to be able to set it to manual, choose aperture and shutter speed and set the film speed to auto so that correct exposures are maintained but I have complete artistic control, keeping in mind that in very dim situations high film speed would result in some noise. However this camera and other modern examples are attaining excellent results at speeds of ISO 800 and above. My first results with this camera are very encouraging and I am even getting good results hand held at 600mm. I intend to publish some of the results on this site in due course.

 

Click on GALLERIES  to view a portfolio of my work over a number of years. My preferences have always been for the pictorial side of photography, without too much manipulation, and in particular for landscapes and portraits.

 

In order to minimise download times the resolution on these images has been kept relatively low. The originals are much more detailed.

 

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