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John Hastings | all galleries >> Classic >> Portraiture > The photographer's progress
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Self portrait Definitely my autobiography

The photographer's progress


I'm a fortunate amateur photographer - my family indulge and encourage my interest. Fortunate also to combine photographic practice with holiday travel. I try other subjects opportunistically and aspire to quality natural history work.

I've toyed with cameras since my teens. Later, in the mid 1970's, I learned the mechanics of photography and for a while developed and printed my own B&W work.

As an ICT specialist the potential of digital cameras was obvious and I got my first in 1999. Image quality was unsatisfactory and I continued with film, mostly. Improved price/performance brought DSLRs within my reach in 2003. I bought Canon to compliment my film equipment.

Since retiring from work, I've invested more time trying to improve my photography. Having enjoyed some success at my local camera club, I tried for more formal recognition. I achieved CPAGB in November 2011.


Digital SLR, three zoom lenses (16-35, 28-70, 70-200) and a 2x extender. I use Canon L Series zooms for their relatively wide aperture and decent image quality.

The kit’s downsides are:
(a) Cost. But I bought two of the three lenses second hand. Still not cheap but they are very durable and will hold their value. This astute move will benefit my estate.

(b) Weight. Tourist class flights give me 5kgs of cabin baggage. The camera bag consumes that and more. There’s no such thing a gentle stroll when carrying the full kit.

(c) Obtrusive bulk. The camera does not fit in my wife’s evening bag on social events or my anorak pocket during rainy walks. We have a small Canon “sidearm” camera for such occasions. It has an sub-aqua housing too - ideal for beach holidays and British weather.

I've also added some prime lenses (50mm, 100mm macro, 200mm & 300mm) and find their image quality even better than the zooms. That said, the 28mm-70mm zoom is the lens I use most.

I have a cheap & cheerful tripod that gets little use. Hand held or wall-supported works most of the time. My wife is conveniently shorter than me. Given a thick woollen hat, she becomes a very acceptable bipod. We’re inseparable, despite all her efforts.


On the SLR, I shoot raw format for the additional latitude it provides. Few shots are truly repeatable so I want the fullest possible record.

I now use Photoshop CS for image processing, after 3 years of PS Elements. PS proper does much more than I need but Elements v3 constrained 16 bit image processing.

I used a Canon A3 colour printer for a while but found it too expensive. For any serious work, I now use specialist printing firms.


John Hastings

other sizes: small medium original auto
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monica memoli08-Oct-2007 00:38
Great portrait! v
Ken Zaret07-Oct-2007 23:31
superb portait. thanks for your careful comments on my galleries and indeed I made the crop you suggested, to the photo's benefit. I just had time to scan some of your recent work and enjoyed it a lot; will return.
Regarding printing, I recently got a studio to print fairly large images 16x24 in. using an Epson 10000 professional inkjet and they came out great, much better than a photo process print done side-by-side. Used pearl finish archival paper. Need to load the printer profiles on your version of PS; can get these from the printing folks. Was about $29/print, which is a lot but as I say they came out great and the printers were cheerful about re-doing one or two to improve color etc. You might try something like this and comparing to your printer.
Gayle P. Clement16-Dec-2006 05:32
Excellent portrait.
Martha Albuquerque06-Oct-2006 19:30
It's very nice to see you and meet you John!
Guest 26-Jun-2006 23:27
Its nice to know some information of you. :) A true expert on photography.
Guest 10-May-2006 05:50
Hi John,
Nice self portrait and excellent note. Hope to see more photos taken by you.
Guest 01-Mar-2006 02:15
nice to see you John, a strong personality you look like from the was nice to read the details too.
George Christakos19-Feb-2006 10:11
Very nice and strong SP. I like this expression of yours John. So alive photo...
John Hastings16-Feb-2006 16:18
Thanks for the advice Kees.
Kees Terberg16-Feb-2006 00:33
Hehehe, and I just wanted to say that it is great to see the face of the man behind the great critiques and fantastic images. Nice SP!
Kees Terberg16-Feb-2006 00:32
This looks more like a 6x6 medium format print than a digital one but hey, I just see the digitized version. On this particular shot I would suggest that you selectively sharpen up you reyes. That is quite simply done in any image editor. PS/CS has a sharpening tool which you should set to a max of 15% reather than the default 100%. That will make a remarkable difference here.
Guest 27-Sep-2005 01:15
wonderful. the clarity is excellent. and i like your expression. well done. : ) vote.
Guest 24-Feb-2005 02:21
Now that's a great face. I hope you're not a tormented as you you look.
blu11-Feb-2005 14:14
strong sp! good bw work and definition of details.