Photography, for me, began with a 

Drifting Kodak Brownie Box Camera. Taking images became a hobby and a passion, from which I have never recovered. Photography has led to many adventures, not the least of which, was the purchase of my first 35mm film SLR.

At the time I was in the Merchant Navy, and was serving on board an oil supertanker which was sailing between the Persian Gulf and Japan. After studying the market place, which meant buying numerous different photography magazines whenever I could, it became obvious that the next camera would be a Single Lens Reflex. But which one?. 

The Miranda SLR was almost the perfect fit. So the next time we anchored in Yokohama Bay, I took the liberty boat ashore and began the search for my first SLR. It was a long time before I came across a camera shop that had what I wanted and they spoke and understood English! My Japanese was rudimentary in those early days and I wasn't about to foul up this purchase. The Miranda came with a 50mm f2.8 and a leather case; to that was added, a 135mm f4.5, filters, extension tubes, hard shell gadget bag and a very small Minolta slide projector. Complimentary Fuji colour slide film was also provided. All the goodies were carefully wrapped and placed in a large carboard box, which was then double wrapped and tied with string. The string provided me with a carrying handle.

Eventually, I made my way back to the liberty boat berth by the most direct route I could manage, but there must have been a couple of extra turns somewhere, because it took me nearly as long to get back as it had to get to the camera store. The weather was very cold and I was wearing a blazer, slacks and a duffle coat against the wind. Once on the liberty boat, I settled in the cabin with my precious cargo in between my feet for the 15 minute journey out to the tanker. As we were nearing the tanker, I came up on top and proceeded to make my way along the deck, holding onto the taffrail with my left hand and the camera package in my right.

Just as I relaxed my left hand grip to move forward, the liberty boat heeled sharply and I was unceremoniously dumped into the water along with the camera package. The liberty boat made a circle around to pick me up, and when they came alongside, much to their surprise, I insisted that they take the camera package first, then me. It doesn't matter sometimes whether or not you understand the language, there was no doubt that the crew thought me to be a little crazy. Once on board the tanker, the deck officers wanted to know why I made the liberty boat crew take the camera package first - "I can swim, but the camera can't" was my reply!

My clothes were soaked, but the camera package was absolutely 100% dry inside!

After several other cameras, most notably an Olympus OM-1, and years of colour slides, I moved into the digital age with a Nikon D50 and the very popular, but then hard to get, 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens. Most of the images you see in Galleries 1 to 10 were shot using that lens. One shortcoming of the 6 megapixel D50 was its tendency for noise in the shadows at higher ISO settings (useful maximum 800, but noisy). The camera was replaced by a 12 megapixel Nikon D90 and the workhorse 18-200mm lens continued to provide good service.

Tempus Fugit. The advent of mirrorless cameras with their lighter weight was interesting but, until the Olympus OMD E-M5 arrived, none of them met my requirements. I switched back to Olympus with a 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 zoom as my main lens and the 12-50mm kit lens as a backup. The images taken with the Olympus are in Gallery 10 above and 11 onwards on the next page at



© 2013 Nigel Fletcher

images by sen-f ®