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About Me

I have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. I took my first photography course at Florida State University in early 1974 at which time I also learned how to develop black and white film and make my own prints.

After I came to Belgium in 1974, I did some occasional color tourist style photography when travelling.

My interest in photography was renewed again in 1999 when I bought my first digital camera, the Sony Digital Mavica MVC-FD83, which saved images on 3.5-inch 1.44 MB floppy disks.

I started taking online photography courses in 2008 and joined the Viewfinders photo club in 2009 so that I could enter a photo in their Challenge.

After having used Canon compact digital cameras and Nikon DSLR cameras for many years, the purchase of a Fuji mirrorless camera in early 2013, the X-E1, ignited my current passion for Fuji cameras. Goodbye Nikon, hello Fuji.

With the Fuji X-T2, my choice of lens depends on the subject matter:

• closeups and macros: XF 80mm F2.8 macro lens

• sports photography: XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 lens

• street photography: XF 23mm F2.0 lens

• general all-purpose travel photography: the XF 18-55mm F2.8-4.0, the XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6, or the 16-80mm F4.0 lenses.

I enjoy most types of photography, but my main passion is macro and closeup photography, especially of my wife’s minerals and gemstones. With macro photography, you can bring out amazing details that aren’t always visible to the naked eye. It is very challenging, especially due to the very small depth of field, but the rewards can be worth it.

More recently I have become interested in action photography due to my daughter’s synchronized swimming activities and street photography where I am still learning how to look for light, patterns and reflections.

Black & White and Color both have their places, from colorful macros of minerals to high contrast black and white street scenes. I can have the best of both worlds by shooting RAW + JPG where the JPG is in black and white and the contrast and color filter are set to taste in camera.

By converting my Fuji X-E1 to infrared, I have been experimenting with super color infrared landscape photography which can provide completely different looks to the colors in your photos based on your post-processing.

Post processing is quite important even though I do try to get it right in the camera. Often a photo can be enhanced by changes related to the composition (cropping), exposure or contrast. I find that Capture One Pro does a good job on Fuji RAW files and after an initial steep learning curve, it has replaced Lightroom as my software of choice.

The photographer that I have the most respect for is Sebastiao Salgado, a Brazilian photographer with a deep love and respect for nature and humanity. His stunning black and white photos in the Genesis project show the beauty of our planet in its natural state across various animal species and tribes.

Learning and education inspires me as much as or even more than seeing the works of great photographers. I have found Andrew Gibson and his Creative Photographer website to be an excellent source of educational material that I can highly recommend: https://www.creative-photographer.com/.

One lesser known photographer who I admire is Michael Erlewine, whose photos, videos and ebooks at http://spiritgrooves.net/Photography.aspx and http://spiritgrooves.net/e-Books.aspx have taught me the intricacies of shooting macros, focus bracketing and focus stacking.

Finally, join your local photography club, in my case Viewfinders, www.viewfinders.be , in order to learn from and interact with like-minded people with an interest in photography. Never stop learning and never stop seeking the light.

Richard Sylvester

Brussels, Belgium

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