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I entered the digital era as far as photography was concerned back in 1993 when I acquired a free demo version, non-saveable, of Adobe Photoshop 2.5, I was hooked and spent hours playing around with images that I had scanned on my 35mm Minolta Dimage scanner and before long in 1994 purchased my own copy of Photoshop 3.0. Back in those days there was no cheap way of printing digital images, printers capable of the task were very expensive so when Epson introduced their “Stylus Colour Photo” printer in 1996 I rushed off to buy one. Quite expensive at £400 it opened up a new avenue of printing without having to resort to a darkroom and I was the first person in our local camera club to exploit this technology, although I was still using conventional film and scanning the negatives. As consumer digital cameras were still in their infancy it was some years before I acquired my first 3mp Sony camera in 2001.

It wasn’t until my next digital camera in 2004 that I began to take my photography seriously again. This was a Minolta Dimage A1 bridge camera with integral 28-200mm (35mm equivalent) lens which served me well for a number of years. The Minolta was very compact and easily carried everywhere, looking like a miniature SLR there is no doubt my favourite feature was the flip-up viewing screen which allowed me to use the camera at waist level or lower, just like the old days when I had used a twin lens reflex camera. The camera went everywhere with me, it was also the only one carried on a trip to Australia in 2007 where I took 2600 photographs.

Although I must have taken a number of experimental and test shots when I first had the A1, the photo I’m showing you here is the first in my digital archive for this camera. It shows my youngest nephew (left) and his friend at Ogmore Estuary, it looks like they’ve already been caught by a wave or two and it wasn’t long before they became very much wetter. The wind is obviously blowing hard going by the swept-back hair on both of them. The time is recorded as 15:51 on 18th January 2004 so it wouldn’t have been very long before it became dark and according to an internet source 16:38 was sunset time on that date at this location. I seem to recall it was pitch black by the time we’d walked back home, perhaps I’ll rephrase that, I walked back home and inevitably they squelched!

Cropped from the camera’s standard 4:3 ratio to the 3:2 normally associated with 35mm cameras, the original jpeg image has also been processed by opening in Adobe Camera Raw to adjust the levels and finished off in Photoshop with a mild HDR effect to bring out a little more detail.

And what has become of the 13 and 14-year-old youngsters seen here? My nephew is now a music teacher and his friend is a journalist.

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