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One of Us #72: alpha_in_exile

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svjetlana View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 January 2024 at 12:35
One of Us #72: alpha_in_exile


Dyxum member alpha_in_exile writes...

It’s an honor to be invited to participate in Dyxum’s One of Us. I’m delighted to share a little about myself, but I also want to emphasize what Dyxum has meant to me over the years.

You can call me Matt. I have a literary-philosophical joke behind my screenname – I’m not actually an exile in any political or geophysical sense.

I began exploring photography as an art form when I was 16 years old (I’m now in my mid-40’s). My dad’s Minolta X-700 looked very interesting to me, so, when my high school offered an elective course in photography, I used the class as an excuse to filch my father’s camera and use it for school. I never gave it back! I still have it, and still use it.



It was in that high school class that I began to learn about composition, exposure, and perspective, and numerous different ways to introduce creativity into photography. We developed negatives, and made prints, in the school darkroom. We made our own pinhole cameras, with photo paper as the ‘film’. We were challenged to turn the mundane into something interesting. I was hooked.

In college, in the 1990’s, I made a little money as a photographer for the college newspaper and ‘public affairs’ office (their public-relations or advertising office). Doing that work gave me some experience covering events, interacting with the public, learning about copyright, and learning a little about photography as a medium in general. I also met my wife in college – she must have had a thing for photographers. The photography ‘back then’ was still on film (still using Dad’s X-700!), which was then scanned for inclusion in the school’s publications. I still have a few of the images, either in publications I kept, or in one or two prints I was allowed to make and keep.



I took some additional instruction in photography while in college, but I never had any plan to become a professional photographer. In the early 2000’s, I used some money from a class action lawsuit settlement to buy a Sony A100. I told my wife it was for ‘taking pictures of our children’. I thought adapting the Minolta MD lenses would be a great idea (then I learned, from Dyxum posts, it wasn’t a good idea due to flange distance, need for an adapter, etc.). Indeed, with the purchase of the A100 I started visiting Dyxum, and, if the forum’s data is correct, I joined in Sept 2007. Thus began my collection of A-mount Minolta glass, and a long relationship with Dyxum. But that A100 took some fantastic photos…

Butterfly (2008)


American Civil War Battle Re-enactment (2009)


Blacksmiths (2010)


Among my other A100 exploits, I even shot a wedding with it. (I used my film camera as a backup). It was my first paid wedding – it went well, and was the first of many weddings I’ve photographed.



The old A100 is still around, but it’s in my dad’s possession – maybe it’s fair that I gave him a camera, given that I had taken his X-700!  And, speaking of 700s, I purchased a used A700 through the sale board here on Dyxum, and came away with many excellent photos from that camera, as well.

McConnell’s Mill State Park (merge of a few exposures) (2010)


My Wife (2012)


The A700 was not a bad camera, but my real aim was to own an A900. I was never fully comfortable shooting APS-C. In the spring of 2012, I finally had the money to buy my first full-frame camera, a used A900 from a user here on Dyxum. I had it out, and for about two days I took some beautiful photos with it (and lots of ‘test shots’)… and then… I accidentally ran over it with my car. The full, cautionary, tale can be read here on Dyxum (A900 broken) (the photos are missing because I changed hosting sites), but consider this a reminder to protect your equipment with insurance (or an ‘ADH warranty’, or something – anything). I was able to recoup 2/3rds of my lost equipment by using my home insurance. I purchased another A900, but I was never able to replace my Minolta 17-35/2.8-4. The people of Dyxum who responded to my tragedy were very sympathetic, and helpful.

From 2012-2023, I shot with my replacement A900, occasionally scoring a place in the Dyxum weekly exhibitions.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Early Evening (2014)


Pasta (with off-camera flash) (2015)


My full-time work and my family obligations typically keep me at home – I do not travel much. I do some wedding photography as a ‘second shooter’ -- because I’d rather help and enjoy the photography rather than run a photography studio –- but, otherwise, I do not get out much. Dyxum, therefore, is a necessary stimulant for creativity, for me, because the seasonal challenges, like April Foolishness, Oktoberfest, or Week 50, keep me looking for new perspectives or new subjects to photograph, even right here at home. I have also participated in the Dyxum Postcard Exchanges several times.    I don’t always produce masterpieces during these events, and that’s OK. Even the mistakes can be fun or instructive.

Oktoberfest 2011


Oktoberfest 2012 – some unintentional camera movement


April Foolishness 2018


Challenge Your Creativity (CYC) 2021


Rokkor Challenge 2023 -- Shot with Minolta MD Rokkor 50/1.4


If I have one Dyxum-related regret it is this: that I do not spend enough time commenting on others’ photos. I believe I’m at a period in my life that is just inescapably busy, and this has reduced the frequency of my comments, but I do hope this will change. (I also hope to travel more, and maybe one day join a ‘Dyxum Meeting’ – did you see the proposed Rome meeting?). I take a great deal of delight in the photography displayed on Dyxum, and I appreciate the collegial discussions shepherded by our excellent moderators. There are many forums on the internet, but I have never come across one better than Dyxum.

What have I been doing lately, photographically? Shooting weddings, but also some astrophotography. These images are from stacked and processed frames from my A7RIV. The galaxies were shot from my back yard, and the nebula was shot from a fairly dark campground in Ohio. These were all done last year, as I haven’t had any clear dark skies yet in 2024.

M31 Andromeda Galaxy (A7RM4 with a telescope)


M33 (A7RM4 with a telescope)


North America Nebula (A7RM4 with FE 135/1.8 GM)


Dyxum has been, and remains, a great inspiration to me. And I just enjoy coming here to see the adventures of all our great contributors – to see through your eyes a great world, captured creatively by some truly thoughtful people.


Edited by svjetlana - 19 January 2024 at 12:49
 



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Jozioau View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 January 2024 at 13:13
Matt,
Big congratulations on your becoming a One of Us contributor.
It's always fascinating to read about those members through their photographic and life trajectories, both in written word and self selected photographs.
Wishing you all the best in your photographic future, looking forward to seeing more of your posts and contributions, and hope that you'll find more time to achieve your goals of travelling and finding more leisure time.
And we're all in fierce agreement about what a special on-line community we have here at Dyxum.
"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst" - Henri Cartier-Bresson
My FlickrPro site
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pegelli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 January 2024 at 07:50
Great story anout your photographic journey Matt, I do remember some of your older images (especially the civil war reenactment) but certainly not all of them. Great to see them on a timeline with the background. A well deserved entry into this "one of us" series!
You can see the April Foolishness 2023 exhibition here Another great show of the talent we have on Dyxum
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Fred_S View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 January 2024 at 09:12
Congrats Matt to become a OoU member!
It was great to read a bit more about your background and where you are coming from with photography. As for many of us, the father played a role in the start of our interest for photography. The A700 was a great camera indeed. Hope to see you and your work around for many more years.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 January 2024 at 18:58
That's a fine story to learn about your photographic "career", Matt! Welcome to the OoU members!

Very often I think that graduating at the "school" of analog photography (including the "wet stuff") provides a particular motivation to create images based on a sense of diligence - at least that's what I see in your photographs.

I very much hope that you can continue on your path and discover the light in your images wherever it will shine for you! ... And share it here on DYXXUM!
"Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." (Walker Evans)   http://www.flickr.com/photos/waldo_posth/
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lomitamike Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 January 2024 at 19:54
I remember reading about your running over your camera. A very capturing read and a wake up and pay attention to your gear.

Congrats.

Mike
A900, A850, A6000,
 



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Wētāpunga View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 January 2024 at 00:58
Kia ora Matt,

Good to see this showcase of your work. You seem to have an enormous range, from the very small (pasta ends) up to galaxies!

And yes, I remember your tale of woe, when you ran over your a900.

Noho ora mai- K
α1- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 & 100-400/4.5-5.6; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Sony 135/2.8 STF
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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: 24 January 2024 at 08:43
A nice read and a fine selection of photos, from which I remember several.
And the 'accident' with your a900 as well, being a camera-dropper myself (an A850 in my case)
Welcome to the OoU community, where you certainly belong.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken
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alpha_in_exile View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote alpha_in_exile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2024 at 21:59
Thanks, guys! You are all very kind.

To Wetapunga's comment: yes, I am something of an omnivore, as it were, when it comes to photography. I'd like to do more landscapes... and I miss photojournalism (I freelanced for a while for a local newspaper but they decided to stop using an on-call freelancer in favor of their writers just using iPhones). I am hopeful that I will get more opportunities this coming year, though.
-- Matt
A7RM4, Min 24/2.8, Min 50/1.4, Min 85/1.4, Tam 90/2.8 Macro, FE 135/1.8 GM, Tam 70-200/2.8
my web gallery
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LAbernethy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 January 2024 at 22:54
Nice read with an excellent selection of images. Congratulations on becoming part of the OoU community.
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angora View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote angora Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 February 2024 at 09:00
(late to the party ). TY for this great read, Matt! always a pleasure to get to know one another! I also remember some of your lovely images, a pity your wife vanished! (or escaped? ;)). and envy your backyard!! -while dreaming about the MilkyWay! ;) -
looking FW to the updates... to the landscapes (on earth or outer space), or whatever pics you'd be willing to share with us!       
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