"You don't take a photograph, you make it." [Ansel Adams]
When I was nine years old my older brother had got a Russian camera Smena Symbol. Amazed by the piece of technology and possibilities it allowed, that day I was lost for the world of photography. I wanted the same camera for myself. I started to save money, it took me a year to gather the money. I didn’t know that time it wasn’t enough. Being in such age those days did not help in counting money and calculating prices. Anyway I asked my father to go to the city and buy me the same camera. He obviously added the missing amount and brought me … Smena 8M. A little cheaper but beautiful designed modern camera for amateur enthusiasts and… kids. By the way Smena 8M is in Guiness Record Book along with Smena 8 it was sold in 21 mln pieces, making it the most produced device in the world.
The following years I had mastered my photography skills. Being a very simple camera Smena didn’t have any exposure meter or focus measurement tool. I had to learn all by myself how to properly set up a time and an aperture and a distance, everything by eye. I have to point out that was the time before digital cameras, the era of 35mm photographic film. For a boy like myself to buy and process a film, was very expensive experience. It forced me to think and carefully design before shooting each photo. Fortunately I had a friend, his father had a photographic darkroom. My friend processed all my films for a truly bargain price. On the other hand believe me those were such a low quality prints, with dust, fingerprints and so on. He even one day dropped a package in a puddle.
A couple years later my father upgraded his camera and he gave me his old one – Zorki 4, a Russian Leica clone. Honestly I didn’t like that camera, and still do not. I was clumpy, heavy and awkward designed and the worst above all it used to silently break off the film. I had lost so many photos and films when shooting with the camera. I even shoot a several films without a film. There is a good memory though - I had started to shoot colour films. For the past years I had been working on B&W mainly Orwo ones (good price). Quickly I felt in love with warm Kodak colours and stared another trip in my photographic passion in full colour.
At that time camera became my immanent part of each trip and journey. I took it everywhere and learn to spot occasions for a good photo instinctually
The next milestone was buying a Parctica PLC 2, made by Pentacon in Dresden (DDR). It was such a large step in terms of features (exposure meter!), built & optics quality. The next years I had spent enjoying the passion and great camera. After that I had a short experience with Yashica 108MP although I didn’t owe that one.
Finally it came to my doors. The digital camera. I had had previously a couple ones in my hands but the discouraging quality kept me away from upgrading. However over a decade ago I was given a Minolta Dimage A1. Nice and handy hybrid camera. I felt a downgrade from a sturdy metal feel of Practica and optics quality. However advantages of a new technology once again won my heart over. Although the CF card was rather small, it beat 36 no film photos, easily. It had a super zoom and the thing I had been waiting for – changeable ISO settings. It had been such a pain in the neck to load 100ISO film and then … go for a trip to a dark and cloudy environment like a wood. I had to finish a film before loading a higher ISO one. Another big newcomer, which I didn’t realize at that point, were RAW files. After a two years I was able to afford a mature DSLR – Canon 30D and my current new-old photographic journey begun. I have moved to Scotland some time before and completely went wild about Scottish Highlands, Munros and Corbetts. Myself and my wife spent many weekends wandering through that beautiful country. I have enjoyed and experienced a completely new fields of landscape photography.
Apart from that, because I wasn’t limited by a number of photos taken I could easily venture to the photo realities I had never been – macro, portrait, nature, action, events and so many more. I have discovered also the enormous possibilities of RAW files. Mastered a software and created my own digital darkroom. I could never afford the real one before.
I have been building up my Canon system, naturally I have upgraded to 70D, recently to 90D and enjoying and using this tool in my photographic passion.
A bit different story is my passion for a drawing. Roots are a bit deeper than a photography (tools were cheaper and easier to use). It begun when my father gave me an automatic metal pencil made by Czech company called Koh-i-noor. I was four or five years old and had another beautiful tool in my hands. Shortly after that I was given three colour pens and that was it. I stared to produce dozens of pictures. It may sounds funny but in a communistic country I used to live, colour pens and steel, automatic pencils were like gold treasures. Hardly to find and difficult to buy. Later on I had spent many, many hours trying to master my drawing skills. I had spent so many hours sitting on streets. Learning to defeat my embarrassment and hear silly comments people passing by. The process of creating hand drawn picture is much more time consuming than taking and post processing a photo. Occasionally I am doing both, first taking a picture and then sitting to draw a one.
So I invite you warmly to venture through my web page and enjoy, not only photographs but drawings, as well... Cheers Jan