October, 2021 photographer of the month: Craig Cook
My first recollection of an interest in photography was in the early 70’s when I bought a Polaroid SX-70. The ability to take a picture and see it right away was quite something! I remember taking pictures of almost anything at the time. I recently sent that camera for a refurbishment and it functions to this day – although the film price has gone up considerably!
The next big step came in 1979. I won a radio contest and received tickets to the Indy 500. Heck you can’t go to the greatest spectacle in racing without a camera – and the SX-70 was not going to make the grade. Doing the research then on cameras was basically going to the camera store and asking questions – there was no internet to find reviews! I settled on a Nikon FE 35mm, and a few lenses. The FE debuted in 1978. It used batteries! Unheard of.
The 500 race - wow! What an experience. I spent most of the time in the infield on Turn 1 panning with a Soligor 90-230 zoom hoping to catch an Indy Car in the center of the frame. And there was a seemingly obligatory event in the infield of setting a car on fire. When I was there it was a VW bus. I guess folks thought it was still the 1960s. Can’t imagine that today. I was shooting E6 slide film which I eventually developed at home – another fun experiment!
The ensuing years saw other Nikon cameras as they emerged, eventually moving to digital. My first digital camera was in 2004 – the Nikon D70 at a whopping 6 megapixels.
During the busy years of full employment my photography hobby was “as able.” Since retirement, my interest has grown once again both in digital and film, including a medium format Pentax and a Chamonix 4x5 view camera. I enjoy the deliberateness of the process – as each piece of film is an expense – it forces a slower and more contemplative approach.
My interests now include travel to State Parks, National Parks, and other venues as time and budget allow. The images I have included are from Alaska, Yosemite, Monument Valley, Yellowstone, Hocking Hills, Banff, Sequoia NP, and the Galapagos.
The camera club for me is an opportunity to meet like-minded photographers and continue the learning process. The Akron Camera Club which I just recently joined (2020), has a great group of folks willing to share their knowledge and camaraderie. I hope to meet many more members as we work our way out of the pandemic. The club has informal ‘shootouts’ where people meet as able at a local park or interesting site to make images. Then a week later the images are shared on a zoom meeting where we can seek feedback on our images. What I find most interesting is the different take people have on essentially the same subject – and their compositional view. I always learn from that because I often struggle with composition. The club also has great communication links via their website and Google Groups as two examples.
Now that we are back to meeting in-person I know that spontaneous conversation will create new friendships in the hobby and more opportunities for all of us to share our experience with each other.
As a new member I look forward to helping grow the club, share my knowledge, and learn from others!