New Contributor to Beyond Megapixels

Written by:

By Steve Russell

Two weeks ago, Tiffany posted an article entitled “Unboxing – One of Life’s Great Joys” about her new Canon 7D.  Today, I’m experiencing one of my life’s great joys.  I’m privileged to have been selected as a regular contributor for Beyond Megapixels.  I will be posting once a week on Tuesdays, at least for now, which is the one day that Tiffany doesn’t post.  I am honored to be writing on the same site as Tiffany and will strive to meet the high standards she has set.

Since today is my first posting as a regular contributor to the site, I thought it might be helpful to introduce myself to all the awesome readers out there.  I’ve been involved with photography at some level since I was 12 years old.  The first camera I owned was a Brownie Hawkeye box camera made by Kodak.  I mention the Hawkeye for a couple of reasons.  One, it was a true point and shoot camera with no adjustments at all.  Similar to many of today’s digital point and shoot cameras, it didn’t have a viewfinder that you held to your eye.  To take a photo with the camera, you held it at your waist and looked down through a convex plastic cover over an angled mirror mounted in the top of the camera body and aimed at your subject which was displayed upside down.  If you have an interest in vintage cameras or want to see a picture and longer description of it, Matt Denton has a good article about the camera.

My first SLR camera was a Canon FT QL that accompanied me to many exotic and faraway lands around the world.  It was a very sturdy camera that gave me lots of pleasure and because of my experience with the FT QL, I’ve stuck with primarily Canon cameras since.  Over the years I’ve owned six different Canons including the 7D I have now.  I might add to the lovers of Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Sony and other camera brands, I’m not suggesting that Canon is better than all the others, but once you buy a particular brand of camera, and then a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens, you tend to stick to the same brand the next time you purchase a camera body, especially if the lenses are interchangeable.

 Other than travelogue photos, my first love in photography has always been of nature, both flora and fauna.  Among nature photographers, I am a huge fan of John Shaw, and had the wonderful experience of attending two seminars taught by John, once for a weekend and then for an entire week.  This photo of two cheetahs in a seemingly intimate moment, is one of my favorite nature photos and was taken with a Canon F1 with an FL 300mm f/2.8 lens using Kodachrome 64 slide film.

I live in Lake Mary, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, and am fortunate that there is an Art Institute nearby that offers an extensive array of photography courses at a very reasonable price – approximately $200 for an eight week course that meets for two hours, one evening a week.  Most of the classes include “homework” assignments that are critiqued by the instructor.  I have been taking advantage of this great resource since March of this year with the goal of increasing my skills in all forms of photography including portraiture and cultural photography. 

I will end this first article with a feature I often see in various golfing magazines.  The articles usually carry some variation of the title, “What’s in the Bag.”  So, here is what’s in my bag:

  • Camera Bags
    • Lowepro Stealth Reporter D200 AW
      for when all I need is my camera, one or two lenses and maybe my flash attachment
    • Tanrac Cyber Pack 6 backpack for field work
    • Think Tank Airport Security V2.0 roller bag for long trips, especially when flying. (I will be writing a review of this incredible bag in the future.)
  • Camera and Lenses
    • Canon EOS 7D 18MP CMOS Digital Camera with 3-inch LCD
    • Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM Telephoto Lens (I will be reviewing this lens in the future)
    • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
    • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens
    • Tokina 12-24MM F/4.0 Pro II Zoom Lens
    • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM 1-to-1 Macro Lens
    • Canon EF 1.4X II Extender Telephoto Accessory 
  • Tripods
    • Manfrotto 055MF4 with a Manfrotto 498RC2 ball head
    • Bogen 3021 with a Bogen #029 pan and tilt head
  • Accessories
    • Canon Speedlite 430 EXII flash and off-camera cord
    • Sekonik Flash Master L-358 hand held light meter
    • Pelican Compact Flash card holder (I love this gadget)
    • 3 16GB 60MB/s (UDMA) SanDisk Compact Flash cards
    • 2 8GB 60MB/s (UDMA) SanDisk Compact Flash cards
    • Infrared remote shutter release
    • Focusing rail for macro-photography
    • Promaster SystemPRO ReflectaDisc 32″ 5 in 1
    • Promaster SystemPRO ReflectaDisc 41″ 5 in 1

Next time, I’ll share my wish list with you.  I promise it’s not as long as what’s in the bag, but it could be. 

Thanks to Vernon Southward for giving me this great opportunity. 

Remember, we live in a beautiful and wonderful world.  The luckiest people on the planet are photographers because we’re the ones that get to capture the beauty and share it with others.

Photo credits (all): Steve Russell

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  • Flash&Flair Photos

    Welcome Steve, I hope you enjoy yourself as much writing your articles as I did reading your first one. Looking forward to much more where that came from. Your gear is quite impressive so now I’ll have to start looking at your photos!!nnGood luck and have fun,nCheers, Marion

  • Steve Russell

    Thank you very much, Marion. You’re very kind.

  • George

    Are you talking about Crealde as the “Art Institute”? I’d imagine so and I have loved their classes over the past few years. I know that Peter Schreyer is trying to organize a week-long photo trip to NM in October and needs a few more people. Hard to get folks to go to photo workshops these days.

  • Steve Russell

    George, you are correct. I am referring to Crealde’. Unfortunately, Peter called me last night to tell me he had to cancel the NM trip because he couldn’t get enough people to commit to going.

  • Tiffany

    Well done on your first article, Steve!

  • George

    I wonder if there was a response from here that might stimulate one or two more, making it worthwhile. We are now in NM and wanted to join Peter (and group). I think there were 3. Ugh!

  • Steve Russell

    Thank you, Tiffany and thanks for all your assistance.

  • corina

    nice intro, looking forward to reading more – what is your website?

  • Dennis

    Wow, kindred spirits! My first camera was also a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye, circa 1956. I remember how excited I was to have it. I too am using mostly Canon stuff for quite some time. Can’t afford to change systems now; but no reason to, I’m happy to say.rnrnI look forward to reading your articles, Steve.

  • Melinda

    I enjoyed your article and look forward to next week. Beautiful picture of the cheetahs. Definitely want to see more of your pictures. Thank you for introducing me to this site.

  • Rajat Dhesi

    My first camera in 1968 (I was 10), was my mother’s Kodak Brownie….my first film SLR, a few years later was the Pentax K 1000. I am a complete amateur and remained satisfied with a Canon G 9 prosumer for a few years till I recently got myself a Canon 7 D…..looking forward to your bits here…

  • JTM

    Congrats on selection! Looking forward to reading more of your material, and learning from it.