A PHOTOGRAPHERS TALE ONE. I began my career in photography as an amateur some thirty years ago in the Midlands, England. I was 21 and had never used a camera. Since then I have worked for national newspapers on the staff, Freelanced as a photographer for many of the worlds top companies and the media and now have my own website with an image library and I am setting up a school of photography by popular demand.
I bought my very first camera, a ‘ Pentona II ‘ 35mm camera with a fixed 50mm lens and brightline viewfinder. I think it had speeds from 1-1/500 and a maximum aperture of f3.5. My fiance an I were booked on a holiday to Ireland and it seemed a good idea to record the event.
Off we went to northern Ireland by ferry and across to Donegal, a beautiful area around Narin and Portnoo,
Problem was I had not any experience with a camera at all. and had I bought a couple of rolls of Kodachrome 64 transparency film and took instructions from the little leaflet inside the film carton.
Not understanding that exposures for slide film needed to be very accurate ! I should have bought colour print film with its wider exposure latitude.
Wonderful holiday , beautiful countryside, so much to capture on film. We stayed at the famous Glenties hotel and enjoyed long walks along the superb beach and cliff paths.
One path in particular wound its way higher and higher up the side of a cliff to a headland.
The path was barely 18 inches ( half a metre ) wide and often sloping for much of the way. Now I have no head for heights, in fact sometimes I get vertigo looking down at my feet and I’m only 5’7″ tall ! However I continued along the path with my fiance , whom was not in the least concerned about the drop of some hundred feet or more to the rocks below. Higher and higher we went and narrower and narrower the path became until at one point it became little more than a sloping ledge which we had hop across. We then reached a bend and the pathway broadened out to some four feet or more. Now I have inherited an Irish sense of humor, a sense of the ridiculous and here was a fine example. At this point, the widest and safest part of the path had a fence around it !
After the holiday I posted off the Kodacrome films to Kodak in the envelopes provided, for only Kodak could process them.
When the results came back I was disappointed for about 50% were either grossly under or over exposed. Beach scenes washed out and night scenes simply blank.
I then bought my very first copy of the Amateur Photographer magazine in 1963. Determined not to repeat the disaster. In fact I still have that magazine. I was bitten by the photography bug and had no inkling as to the future and my life as a photographer. Just three years later I was chief photographer on a local newspaper.