LightningPaul

 
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Taking pictures is one of my favorite hobbies. I enjoy photographing people, children, lightning, fireworks, architecture and everything else worthwhile. I am continuously trying to improve my skills. Though there is still a very long path to go. Luckily I have time for that.

Trying to get the picture right in the camera is my goal, though I experiment a lot too. I try to minimize the amount of post processing time behind the computer, though I do crop a lot. Sometimes a little other times most of the image.

I am a big fan of strobist techniques (see: http://www.strobist.com). David Hobby really learned me how to light better. I'm taking at least one strobe with me if I go out for shooting.
equipment
 
I started with a little Minolta F-100. At that time it was a nice camera and small enough to hide it in the handbag of my wife. Unfortunately I took zero action shots. It was way too slow. Switching it on, lens coming out, start zooming, focusing and finally taking the picture took around ten seconds.

Afterwards I bought a Nikon D70s with the Nikkor 18-70mm DX lens. Finally a "real" camera. It was so much easier to capture action. As soon as available I purchased the Nikkor 18-200mm DX allrounder and the Nikkor 12-24mm DX wide angle. The 18-200mm lens is excellent for traveling. Despites its huge zooming range, the optical quality is pretty good. The 12-24mm is one of my favorites. I love to shoot wide angle, it gives so much depth to my pictures. A bit later I bought my first flash: a Nikon SB-600.

After one year and a half I sold my D70s with the 18-70mm and bought a Nikon D200. It's and excellent camera for me: much better sealed for dust and rain, big LCD screen, pretty fast and very easy to adjust many controls without using menus. In addition I got the SB-800 too for more power and possibilities.

Of course I wanted to collect some more nice lenses too. First a Lensbaby 2.0: a great funny but not so easy to use lens which can yield fantastic images. Other lenses are the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 and an older Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8. The latter one is very fast and fills my pictures with more brilliance than any other lens I have.

Because I love wide angle stuff, I use a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye too. I adore this one. The view through this lens is amazing. Recently I also own a Nikkor 70-300mm VR. Finally I have or borrow some other (second hand) lenses which I use seldom use.

After seeing David Hobby (aka Strobist) in action in Paris, I won two Nikon SB-80DX flashes on eBay. They were pretty cheap and as powerful as the SB-800. I use them very often for off camera lighting.

For software I use BreezeBrowser for organizing and DxO Optics Pro, together with DxO Filmpack, for cropping, geometric/color/contrast adjusting my pictures. From time to time I convert images into black & white or (almost) monochrome colors. I prefer not to tweak my pictures too much. Rarely I use Photoshop Elements for removing dust spots and vignetting.
Recently I started experimenting with Photomatrix Pro 3.0 to work with HDR or just to become some nices tonings.
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