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One of Us #51: brettania

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brettania View Drop Down
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Joined: 17 July 2005
Country: New Zealand
Location: Auckland
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Posts: 20650
Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: One of Us #51: brettania
    Posted: 15 October 2012 at 21:55
As a former journalist and PR man my instinct is to never appear in a photo when "on the job", and with this in mind I have resisted appearing
in this forum. Also, I do not think of myself as a true photographer and have no secrets or tips to share.

But other more suitable candidates have recently also been on the reluctant side and to help relieve the pressure on our new
OoU Coordinator, darosa, I finally put my hand up. Hence....



One of Us #51: brettania
-- a Labour of Love



My background

I was born in Auckland, NZ, on 19.10.39 and have lived here for the majority of my 72 years. But I have also spent time in Christchurch, Hamilton, Wellington and Kabul in Afghanistan.

My parents were both teachers and as a result the family moved around a lot.

In Afghanistan (1953) I took many shots with a bakelite 127 camera that had to be held closed with gaffer tape to stop light from getting inside. (see some pics from that time below). As I was still in short pants I was able to openly photograph Afghan women in their burkahs in the street, and such shots were in demand among the approximately 150 foreigners in the country at the time.

My school career was far from brilliant – aside from always coming second behind Olympic champion Peter Snell in the school house round-the-block morning runs. Moved to another school and two years later came first in the steeplechase.

When it came to choosing a job I settled on journalism. My first published photo was in The Waikato Times, taken with a Speed Graflex at a school sports day.

After a short stint with the Times I moved to the New Zealand Listener. I then went into the NZ Navy as PR officer and finally joined Air New Zealand's PR department for a 27 year stay.

My gear

I continued an on again off again relationship with photography with a variety of my own cameras – a Yaschicaflex twin lens reflex, a Pentax Spotmatic and then a Minolta Dynax 8000i.

When I read about the KM 7D I resolved to get back into photography as the speed of viewing one's results was of immense appeal. Also important was Anti-Shake as I have shaky hands [Essential Tremor]. I have owned and sold many lenses having had a fair dose of GAS. Overall I have owned over 20 lenses, mainly Minolta RSs, about 6 film bodies, seven tcons, and four tripods as well as five flashes and enough filters to need a separate bag.

Now I consider my “main” lenses to be the Sigma 10-20, Minolta 50mm macro, the KM28-75, the Tammie 90 macro (I have owned two of them), the Minolta 100mm “softy”, the KM 70-200 SSM and the Sigma 180 f5.6 macro.

I have sold a Minolta 100 f2 to Kiklop (on-sold to darosa); a 16mm Minolta fisheye to a passing Englishman at Auckland airport, and a Minolta 100 macro and a 85mm f1.4 to New Zealand a-mount lovers!

My DPR/Dyxum history

I joined DPR before I even got my 7D in my hands. Decided to call myself brettania -- Brett is one of my middle names and "Rule Britannia" is one of my favourite pieces of (loud) music. To date I have made some 6000 posts in the forums there, mostly on technical matters. I am unlikely to add much to that total.

When Kiklop first floated the idea of Dyxum, I recognised the potential of the proposed site and responded quickly. Although my DOJ shows 18 July 2005 because of the dateline I believe that to be 17 July, making me the first to sign up.

Not too much later I found myself Dyxum's first moderator. Then as the site expanded I became the first Administrator.

Health issues

Like many other members my health has led to a somewhat interrupted time here. I am not looking for sympathy as most of my problems have been caused by the dissolute life of a journalist and Public Relations person and I brought them upon myself. They include cancer of the bladder, cirrhosis of the liver, and COPD, as well as the occasional bout of severe depression. I have also had hypertension and diabetes, both now under control. My current health worry is ET -- essential tremor which manifests itself as shakiness of the hands, arms and legs.

Among the AMAE group we jokingly talk about the "AMAE syndrome", as by and large we are not the healthiest bunch of folks this side of the black stump.

My photos

At last you say! LOL

These first two shots were taken in Afghanistan – my mother is on the left in shot #1 at Bande Amir -- "the five lakes". Shot #2 is a reminder of the grandeur of the "Big Bhudda" at Bamyan– I hate the Taliban for their wanton destruction of this "wonder of the world". I have stood on its head, some 55 metres above the valley floor.


#1


#2


The resolution in some of the following shots is not the best as I have changed ISP recently and "lost" my first generation web-sized shots. I may try to correct that, or track down the original shots and re-process.

#3 Skip to the first shot I posted on the web, using a Tammie 90mm. The battery in the camera was still hot from its first charge.



Personal themes

It did not take long to develop some personal "themes" -- monarch butterflies and flowers.

#4 One of my many butterfly shots.



#5 And a flower shot, taken at a nearby garden supply shop (a good place to capture flowers). This is one of my all time favourites.



Some people

#6 Don Lever and I collaborated on the production from concept to printing of several annual reports for Air New Zealand, where I worked for 27 years. He remains a good friend and I own one of his paintings. The shot was my first portrait with the MinRS 85G. My 7D was sitting on the dining room table and I picked it up and fired it off as soon as it was level. The light came from a nearby window and a 150-watt bulb.



#7 Brendan, an acquaintance, was a perpetually effervescent Irishman who also hung out my local cafe. He died last year of cancer.



#8 My lovely daughters -- (left) Alex (Alexandra) and Nelli (Penelope). I blame the tripod on my deck for the rare lapse in straightness.



#9 And the grand-kids, Caitlin and Liam.



Some favourites

#10 My best moon shot, with the 500mm mirror.



#11 A pic taken at Huia, near Auckland. Despite it being one of my more heavily processed shots, I have never managed to get rid of the power lines because of my shaky hands.



#12 My favourite flower, the hibiscus. Mum loved them as well and had two superb plants in her garden.



#13 I also love African daisies.



#14 Yachts at "the Basin" in Auckland Harbour, scene of the finishing ceremony when Team New Zealand defended (and then lost ) the Americas Cup. I was using a "review" copy of the a700 with the CZ16-80 F3.5-4.5.



#15 Taken for a Week 50 challenge with the MinO 50 macro.



#16 And finally the shot that made me famous, at least in Palmerston North (pop. 85,000) . I showed it to New Zealand's KM/Sony service agents and they asked for a copy to use to demonstrate the output from the MinO 100 macro. I did them an A3 copy which stayed in their window for several weeks. Ginge had at that stage not learned how to attack me.




Some general thoughts

I must say that I acknowledge that I am more a "snapatographer" than a photographer, but sometimes I get lucky.

Since I joined Dyxum it has become a second home for me. I have put in quite a lot of time with you all, and feel that I know many of you quite well.

I have been buoyed by your kind wishes at the times when the black dog of depression has ruled my life. The Admin forum has also been a place where I have been able to let off some steam.

A regret is that I see too many repeat questions, asked mainly by newbies who have not taken the time to fully check out this site's rich resources, particularly in the Knowledge Base area – a pet project of mine with which I received exhaustive help from Turerkan Ince (who got absorbed into the Turkish Army and has rarely been heard of since).

I also get upset when members transgress our behaviour rules, particularly with gratuitous and sexist remarks. I know that some members, past members and members of other forums regard Dyxum as being over-moderated. But together with the other AMAEs, I am convinced that this is why the majority find it a comfortable place to spend their time.

One of my pet loves has been the weekly Exhibitions, initially begun by Turerkan and later worked on by Maffe and then MiPr, all of whom deserve our collective thanks.

To Dyxum's admin group a big personal thank you. To the membership at large – may you always enjoy good light and may your posted pics become nominees for our competitions and exhibitions.

For me this journey has been a labour of love.

Bless you all.





Edited by kiklop - 06 December 2015 at 13:32
 



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MichelvA View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MichelvA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2012 at 21:58
Great to get to know you better Cam. Hope you'll be among us for a long time. Nice photo's too
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darosa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote darosa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2012 at 22:10
I am honoured that brettania, one of the founding fathers of Dyxum, is 'my' first 'One of Us'.

I will comment later but I just want to say thank you for telling us about yourself in such an open way. And thank you for all the work you have done, and continue doing for Dyxum!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mpb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2012 at 22:13
A good read and about time.

It is good to get some insight on someone who is such a big part of the forum.

Thank you of all your work here and all the best in the future.
Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dirk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2012 at 22:23
Cameron,
Thanks for this post and sharing.
And thanks for being just....you.
Thumbs up for all spent time in and on this forum, making itw ork.
May the Light be your part and Happy Shooting!
"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera" - Dorothea Lang
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rovhazman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2012 at 22:45
Cam, I am so happy to see it up!
Very open and well written article that tells a lot about you and what you went/going trough.
And finally some photos... . I am still looking again and again at #1 - might be old, but there is so much in it! And of course the rest are also impressive.

May the AMAE syndrome skip you and from now on you will live happy and healthy life here in Dyxum and there in New Zealand...
 



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Dopol View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dopol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2012 at 23:13
Finally Cam. Glad you are added to OOU ranks.
Thx for all the good work here

It was fun to read and I'll edit this text to comment on your photos later (The impressive first shot to start with)

A great variety off subjects and techniques: a versatile photographer
I like the portraits best, but look forward to more (new) flower shots.
And the Tammy 90 shows a great lens in good hands.



Edited by Dopol - 17 October 2012 at 11:07
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stormvogel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2012 at 23:38
Dear Cameron,

Great that you are in OOU, I find your story and pictures great.
And thank you for all the help I get from you at my first year here.

And Dyxum is a really nice place to be and you help a lot to be it this way.

Very good to know you better.

Willem.
All ways in a good mood here.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote snap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2012 at 00:06
I love the "one of us" section, wonderful idea. I really enjoyed reading this, thanks Cameron for such a pleasant way of prsenting your person, thoughts and pictures.
How is my shooting? Dial 1-800-Flickr and leave a comment
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlassEye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2012 at 00:44
It was is so good to get to know you better. Thank you for your work here at Dyxum and your candid story. I'm just a newbie, only at Dyxum for about a year, so thank you and all for your patience on the fora.
Dyxum is such a wonderful resource. Is it over-moderated? I don't think so. There are so many other places to go if I wanted to listen to people be aggressive and mean spirited. I don't care for that kind of thing.   

I wish you all the best and hope to see and hear much more from you in the years ahead.

Mike
GlassEye      
I use only free range, organic pixels. Some pixels have been processed, but no pixels were injured in the creation of my images. All pixels are returned to the wild.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Basil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2012 at 01:03
Thanks for letting us get to know you better. Your wisdom and guidance have helped many others in this forum.
To see is to enjoy. To see beyond is to rejoice.

A77Mark II; A57; A850; A700; NEX 6; various film bodies and an ever-changing collection of lenses
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Post Options Post Options   Quote WestCoastCannuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2012 at 07:53
Great to get to know you better Cam. Wish I could meet you in person!

Regards

Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stan53 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2012 at 09:21
Congratulations your photography has been an inspiration to me and I would imagine many others.   
Stan aka Peter

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Post Options Post Options   Quote arvind_s Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2012 at 09:33
"One of Us" is my favourite section too. Its so good to read the background about people here. Its been just few months I have joined this forum but used to always think "Who is this person Brettania" .. cos always very prompt in replies .. very matured .. now after reading your background .. now I know that you are one of the main engines behind this very good forum.

Will always look forward to your guidance in this forum. Thanks for the wonderful job ans efforts.

Arvind

Sony a57:Min 70-210(BC): Min 75-300 (BBC): Min 50 1.7: Min 35-105: Min 28-135: Sony 35 F1.8: Sony 18-55:
My Photos (Flickr)
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