I’m an electrical engineer and have been in retirement now for ten years. Photography has been my hobby for quite a long time. I got my first camera (a Voigtlaender Vito CLR) as a youngster in the early 1960s. The Vito CLR was a 35 mm viewfinder camera with a fixed 50 mm lens and all settings were, of course, manual only. Cameras with interchangeable lenses were limited to the high price sector (mainly SLR cameras). I used my camera mainly for taking photos when we went hiking, mountain climbing or skiing. I was always fascinated when I saw macro photos, artistic and experimental photos, etc. and in the early 1970s, I bought my first SLR and joined a photo club. I learned how to develop films and all the required darkroom work to make your own photographic prints. At first B&W and then also color photos and years later I had even my own darkroom in our house.
During my professional life, I had to do a lot of traveling to many countries around the world, which gave me sometimes a lot of photographic opportunities but later on, I got less and less time for my hobby and made photos mainly of my family and when traveling during our holidays.
In 2000 I had the first opportunity to use digital cameras (in my job) but, apart from the possibility to have photos available immediately after taking them, I was not so excited that I would swap my SLR against a digital camera. It took some years more until DSLRs were available at affordable prices and in a quality to compete with the analog ones.
In 2008 I bought my first DLSR and had to learn photo processing again. At first, like most users of digital cameras, I thought the camera supplies a file which is the final product that you can view on a screen or have printed in whatever size and that’s it. After trying out some photo programs, I found out that there is much more behind it and to learn. (The advantage of RAW versus .jpg, sharpening and other possibilities of the digital equivalent to the former darkroom work.)
Very often I went out to take photographs but lacked ideas about what to shoot. The internet provides the possibility to look at the work of numerous other photographers which I often used and browsed through various photographic sites. That is how I came across the PhotoChallenge which I joined in 2015.
At first I posted a picture now and then and eventually I participated more and more. What I liked in this group was that with the weekly changing theme, it provided a lot of ideas as to what to photograph and it motivated me to get out and take photos each week. When I joined I had no idea how much I would learn by participating in the various challenges. Sometimes the challenge is to create a photo using a certain technique or to create an interesting effect which I did not know before and would not have learned without the challenge.
Also interacting with group members, discussing photos, techniques, setups, etc. is always interesting and a joy. Each week I am looking forward to the next challenge and I felt honored when I was asked to join the administration team of this fantastic group.
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