I first became seriously interested in photography in late 2004 / early 2005. Up to that time l had been a "happy snappy" content to just click away when on holiday. I think it would have been about September 2004 when l bought my first digital camera and started to try and work out what on earth this thing would do for me.
Later in that same year l turned up at my local camera club and they terrified the living daylights out of me with all their techno speak and elitist behaviour around their monthly internal / external / inter club competitions. They made it quite clear that until l got myself out of the novice class of photographer, there wasn't really a place for me in their ranks as they were all so experienced and advanced in their "art". This is where you find the beginnings of AD&D. So in a perverse sort of way we owe a camera club in deepest Gloucestershire a great deal of thanks.
March 2005 sees me on Tresco and l take my first photograph - not a snap, but a photograph. It's at this moment that l sort of realise, " hey you might not be too bad at this clicky thing ". In fact that photograph formed part of my LRPS panel. I'm still on auto everything at this stage, but what the heck auto everything produces good photographs, so l'm not that bothered.
To this day l still sometimes drop back onto auto everything. Remember the image of Dawn Over Adderbury Lakes, the one that was reproduced on the Christmas front cover of Contact - that was auto everything. The point l am trying to make at this stage is, don't get too hung up on technique. Don't feel that you have to get to Manual Everything to take a good image, because you don't.
It's also around early 2006 that l realise l don't like flash and quickly thereafter l discover that with the right equipment and mind set, you don't need it. A slow development in style begins, in that l am starting to realise that l like Street Photography, and that also involves candid portrait work. In 2008 the penny drops that whilst candid portrait work is not that difficult with a huge great big zoom lens on your camera, there's something missing from the image, and that appears to be a sort of immediacy, a sort of personal feel to the shot. I therefore become a little braver and start getting in closer and things begin to improve. That's the problem with zooms, they isolate you the shooter from your subject.
Then another penny drops. Whilst l am getting in closer, l am still lugging around this great big DSLR with an even now chunky lens attached ( 14-75mm) and l'm beginning to see that some people find this slightly threatening. I then find Cartier Bresson's images and he changes how l approach photography. He also makes a dramatic dent in my bank balance, simply because all that he shot was on a Leica rangefinder, and that means lots of money and it also means shooting with Prime lenses, because Leica do not do zooms.
So that's where l am today - shooting with my Leica digital M on Prime Lenses, 15mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm. I've got a 90mm, but very, very rarely use it. I don't use flash ever, simply because l have no need. The Prime lenses are all fast lenses, ie: f1.5 and f2 so they can take decent photographs in an almost pitch black room.
What's important of course, is that l am comfortable with my workflow.