Camera evolution over the years
My camera evolution over the years

I’ve been taking pictures for many-many years, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a photographer. I started out with a little box camera that was a gift from my parents. The camera took a ‘120‘ film roll that was 6 cm high and created negatives, with a frame size of 4.5 by 6.0 cm. I remember well that the fixed lens had an aperture reach of F4 to F22. With the lens wide open it had a serious lack of sharpness in the corners with some heavy vignetting. Selecting shutter speed and aperture was a bit of a hit and miss. It was set according to a few icons on the camera’s dial; sunny, overcast, cloudy, or indoors. Nevertheless, I’ve made some great photos with this little camera, some of which are still decorating my walls at home.

When I graduated from high school, I received an SLR as a gift from my parents. It was a Canon-A1, and it was my favorite camera for a very long time. I bought a few primary lenses for this camera, but in the end, it was a Tokina 28 – 85 mm travel zoom that I used most. The camera had one serious drawback; it did not have automatic film transport when you loaded a new film. Loading a film was always a bit of handy work; if you would pull in too much film you would lose one or more exposures; if you would pull in too little, the mechanism might not latch and the film would not transport. When I was taking picture number 40 on a roll with 36 exposures, I knew something was seriously wrong. All the pictures I had been taking of the beautiful white Spanish windmills against the backdrop of a straight blue sky near the village of Consuegra only existed in my mind but regrettably not on film.

Also, the DSLR camera and its lenses proved to be quite a load to carry around in the hot summer months in the south of Spain. This was the reason to buy a compact camera, a Pentax Zoom 105 Super. It had a modest 38-105 mm zoom range, and with F4 to F8 it wasn’t the brightest, but at least it had fully automatic film transport. It lasted for quite a while but it was rather restricted in its capabilities, and when it got damaged by sand trapped in its mechanics in the desert of Oman, I bought a new Canon DSLR. This was the EOS 300 (also known as the Rebel 2000) that came with a set of kit lenses. It was lightweight and being rather plasticky, clearly aimed at the amateur photographer. This camera arrived on the market just as digital photography was starting to gain a substantial foothold. So unfortunately, I hardly ever used the analog EOS 300 and it is still collecting dust in my storeroom.

I’m not even 100% sure what my first entry was into the digital camera world. But this is where the embedded EXIF photo annotation comes in handy.

For quite some time I used the very compact Sony DSC-T1 that was introduced early 2004. This 5M pixel camera had its (38-114 mm equivalent) 3x-zoom lens built-in under a 90-degrees angle using a prism. It was very handy, and fun to use, but with 100/200/400 it did not score that well in the ISO department😉. Movie Resolution was 640×480 max.

Later in 2007 I owned a 7MP Canon Powershot A710 for some time. It was unfortunately nicked from my hotel room at the start of a holiday in Jordan. I bought it because it had image stabilization, and it operated on two AA batteries. You can buy these everywhere in the world, so you don’t need the power grid to keep your camera up-and-running. Very handy on a long hike 😉. Same poor VGA movie resolution, though…

I replaced it by a 9MP Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5, a compact “Travel Zoom” camera that was very easy to operate and it made some really great pictures. Of course, it could not compete with a DSLR, but as the saying goes:

The best camera is the one you have at hand “.

And in the era before smart phones equipped with three or more lenses, the TZ5 was a very versatile little camera that was easy to pocket.

Nevertheless, I wanted a ‘proper’ entry into digital photography, without being too much bogged down by lens weight during travel, so I sold some Canon primary lenses when purchasing a 16MP Sony NEX-6 APS-C camera. For me the APS-C format provided a nice balance between resolution, size & weight.

Also, there were several more-or-less fast lenses available, with fair to good sharpness, bokeh, color fringing, etcetera. At that time, full frame cameras were either non-existent or prohibitively expensive. Over the last few years, the cost of FF-cameras has come down substantially, but their (lens-) weight is still significant.

The main handicap with NEX-6 proved to be its slow and sometimes erratic focusing. (The Panasonic TZ5 sometimes worked better in that sense – less hunting for focus). But the 16–55 mm and 50–200 mm kit lenses made it a nice set to carry around.

After passing on the A6000 camera, I bought the Sony A6500 for its better focusing and somewhat more megapixels (24MP), but mostly because it had image stabilization. I purchased it with the Sony 16–70 mm F4 lens, and expanded with some Sigma F1.4 Contemporary DC DN lenses, starting with the 30 mm version and later the 16 mm version as well. In the meantime, I also own a 100 mm macro lens and a manual 12 mm F2.0 lens, and the 70–350 mm G-lens. For me that’s quite some ‘glass’ so you can say I’ve committed myself to the Sony APS-C ecosystem. Hopefully they’ll bring out a decent new APS-C camera anytime soon, whereas their focus has been on the full-frame cameras.

Taking pictures

Having a camera is one thing, but then, what to do with it? Nowadays the whole world seems to walk about with a selfie stick, but that is not my idea of taking pictures. I am rather behind the camera than in front of it. One thing I quite enjoy is taking pictures of people in unexpected situations or events – in other words street photography. This is a bit of a balancing act in ‘catching the moment’ and respect for people’s privacy. When in doubt I ask if it’s OK or show the photo afterwards. I guess the couple below don’t mind their picture being taken.

Cozy couple
Cozy couple

In 2018 I followed a photography course in the South of France. My focus (no pun intended) was mostly on street photography but also finding colorful images.

Happy American couple
Happy American couple
Laughing couple
Laughing English couple – capturing the right moment
French lady crossing square
Cross French lady crossing square
Just strawberries here
Just strawberries here
Colorful liquor
Colorful liquor

My picture galleries

I’ve created a number of picture galleries that are accessible from my NAS. These are mainly related to travel & holidays. Some galleries may be locked with a password. These are indicated by a key symbol 🔑. All openly available galleries are indicated by a green check mark ✅.

Everest from close by 2000 – Travel through Tibet and Nepal
Chapel on Rhodes2004 – Rhodes
At the top of the Kilimanjaro2006 – Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro
Frozen bushes2007 – Snowshoeing in Austria
Krant lezen in Dode Zee2007 – One week in Jordan
Tigersnest Bhutan2008 – Sikkim and Bhutan
Sand castles Noordwijk🔑2008 – Sand Sculptures in Noordwijk
Polar dogs2009 – Wintertime in Finland
Lonely tree on Crete2009 – Spring in Crete
Flowers2009 – Painting in le Phaux, France
Lost shoe🔑2009 – Sand Sculptures in Noordwijk
Three wise men2009 – Annapurna trekking Nepal
2010 – Skiing in Val Thorens
Mosque in Cairo🔑2010 – EAGE Workshop in Cairo
Bruiloft Rob en Colette🔑2010 – Wedding Rob and Colette
Noordwijk Lighthouse🔑2010 – Activities in Noordwijk
2010 – Painting week Walcheren
Mountains in le Drome2010 – Hiking in le Drome, France
2010 – Pilion & Skopelos, Greece
2011 – Basic Rowing Test at DDS
2011 – New York near Christmas
🔑2011 – Music evening Johan en Karien
🔑2012 – Ton getting his Master’s
2012 – Cycle tour IJsselmeer
Bart at Grand Canyon2012 – In and around Las Vegas
2012 – Wintertime in Iceland
2013 – Work visit Beijing, Chengdu
2013 – Vietnam 🚧🚧🚧
🔑2014 – Work visit Bergen, Norway
🔑2014 – Work visit Dollard, Groningen
2014 – Autumn holiday in Cuba
2015 – Skiing in Riederalp
2015 – Theater in Düsseldorf
2016 – Japan holiday
Machu Pichu2016 – Autumn holiday in Peru
2017 – Skiing in les Menuires
🚧2017 – Autumn in Java, Bali & Lombok
🚧2018 – Summer holiday in France
🚧2019 – Autumn holiday in Vietnam
🚧2020 – Summer holiday in France