My Digital Early Days – Part II – The DSLR

The first years of my “digital life” with cameras was a stable time when I used just one camera brand, Canon.  I got started with the D30, and then over the next seven years progressed through the Canon 5D, 10D, 20D, and 1D MkIII.  I guess I hadn’t yet been afflicted with the current day malady known as G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome), and I already had Canon lenses, so that progression made the most sense.

Curiosity – Canon 20D
Canon 5D
Survivor – Canon 1D MkIII

Then , partially influenced by a friend who was using a Nikon DSLR, I made the jump to Nikon.  And I went all in.  After selling all of my Canon gear, I bought the Nikon D700 and was thrilled with the camera.  Over the next two years, I actually took more photos with that camera than any other (digital) camera I’ve owned.

Nikon D700

Then the G.A.S. slowly, but inexorably, began to invade my photographer soul.  The D700 was followed by the D90 (5 months) and the D7000 (10 months).  All of those cameras were terrific cameras, capable of delivering better images than I could produce, but I think a part of me just liked the process of vetting a new piece of gear and exploring the latest innovations in this evolving world of the digital camera.

Big Dipper – Nikon D90

At any rate, on September 14, 2011, I ditched the DSLR and the big lenses and whole-heartedly embraced the “Mirrorless” concept of a smaller system that could still produce outstanding image quality and be a lot easier to carry around.  Thus began my season of “mirrorless madness” … and in the last three+ years I’ve bought (and sold) a myriad of different mirrorless cameras made by at least five different manufacturers.

Nikon D7000 (starburst added with Topaz Star Effects)

Actually, I have some reasonably good “excuses” for all the gear switches and I’ll talk about those and my mirrorless journey into madness in the next post.

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Luck

There’s a common saying that “Luck equals preparation plus opportunity.” I believe that.

Monument Valley in Arizona has some spectacular monolithic rock outcroppings and it’s best to be there at first light. I was there at dawn that day and got some nice photos of those big rocks they call “The Mittens”, but they were much like those taken by so many other photographers – nothing new.

A bit later in the morning after the sun was well up, I was driving through the park looking for more photo possibilities. I felt very lucky when I saw this hot air balloon just filling and getting ready for lift off.

I skidded to a stop, jumped out of my car and managed to fire off several shots as that colorful balloon slowly and majestically ascended right next to those huge rock formations. Wow, what a sight, but I’m sure the view was even better from inside the gondola as it soared over the valley.

Yes, I was lucky because I had a good camera that I knew how to use and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time (opportunity).

Many fine images are created by dedicated photographers who see a good location, have a creative idea, and then go there time after time until conditions enable them to execute that idea. But, many great images are a result of happenstance…just being there when it happens.

So prepare yourself, get out there, and get lucky!