Photograph by Mark D. Whitney
Artist: Mark D. Whitney (May 2006)
Media: Digital Photograph

Set the WABAC machine to 2006

I’ve been taking photographs for a long time, all the way back to the dark ages when we had to use film and chemicals. Although I miss the smell of a fresh new roll of film, on the whole I prefer using a digital camera.

The digital camera age began back in the 70s with analog to digital experiments and laboratory prototypes, but real digital cameras didn’t become available to consumers until the 90s and even then they were certainly no rivals to film. I kept my eye on developments and decided that in the early 2000s DSLR cameras were finally advanced enough and the prices low enough that I felt comfortable replacing my film camera. I bought a Nikon D200 in 2006 for around $1500.

The process I used before the D200 was to shoot Ektachrome film, develop it myself, and then scan the slides into my computer so I could edit and print them from there – a very time consuming and tedious process. I figured I was getting about 15 megapixels with the scanner and the D200 could give me 10MP so I traded a little image data for some serious savings in the hassle department.

I’ve used a DSLR ever since.

I decided it would be fun to take a look back at my photos from those days. Maybe even start a thing where I post images in roughly chronological order from those early digital days up to the present. Has my style changed? Have my subjects changed? Let’s see what we can find out.

The D200 hit the market in late 2005. I got mine the next Spring. This photo of apple blossoms is the probably not the very first photo I took with the camera, but it’s the first one in my digital archive – May 5, 2006 at 6:21 PM in my back yard. It probably got delivered that day and I was checking things out.

Of course as soon as I got the chance I took my shiny new camera hiking with me along one of my favorite streams and took some water photos.

Photograph by Mark D. Whitney
Artist: Mark D. Whitney (May 2006)
Location: High Tor Wildlife Management Area
Media: Digital Photograph

I loved not having to stuff my pack with rolls and rolls of film. I loved the freedom of changing ‘film speed’ just by turning a wheel. I loved being able to see a preview of my image immediately after snapping the shutter rather than weeks later when I finally had time to develop the film and I’d forgotten what settings I used because I couldn’t be bothered to write them down. I loved being able to pull up a histogram (the lazy man’s zone system) on each image and adjust my shots on the fly. Cool beans.

Back in those days I used to do color images almost exclusively. Mainly because I was terrible at black and white. I liked it, just couldn’t do it. Eventually I learned, but that story comes later. In the meantime, the colors are a nice change.

Comments on "Set the WABAC machine to 2006"

  1. Hi Mark,

    Interesting to see your digital camera origins. You probably got a D200 around the same time my wife did, but I think you did a lot more with yours. The water shot I can easily imagine as one of your black and white photos.


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