Jim Shead's Photography Pages
at www.jim-shead.net

Personal & Professional Information


My Photographic Progression

I bought my first camera, a Kodak 127 box brownie, in 1956 the year I had my thirteenth birthday.

My first pictures were in black & white but in 1961 I bought a brand new Ilford Sportsman, 35mm camera, for 11, 19 shillings and 6 pence (11.97) so that I could take colour pictures. I used Ektachrome colour transparency film rated at 32 ASA (16 DIN) which was sold as processing un-paid.

In 1962 I moved on to my first single lens reflex (SLR) camera, a Contaflex Rapid. This did not have fully interchangeable lenses but had a replaceable front lens element that allowed the standard 45mm lens to be changed for wide angle or telephoto elements. This camera cost me 76 11s 6d (76.58). Soon after I got this camera I switched to using Agfa transparency film that at the time was rated 50 ASA (18 DIN).

In 1963 I traded in my Contaflex and bought an Exakta Varex IIb for 96 17s 5d (96.87). This had a fully interchangeable lenses and an impressive range of accessories were available for it. I continued with colour photography using Agfa films and the Exakta for many years as family responsibilities meant less time and money for photography.

My finances had recovered enough by 1988 for me to splash out on the latest auto-focus SLR. I bought the newly released Minolta Dynax 7000i as soon as it arrived in the shops on 30th June 1988. It cost me 540 and I was really impressed by how easy the electronics made focusing and exposure selection. Just before we took our trip to the USA in 1991 I bought a second-hand Minolta Dynax 8000i Body for 259.90. This was even more impressive than the 7000i and I was soon using it as my main camera. Finally in 1996 I bought the top of the range Dynax 9xi (pictured left) for 949.90 - body only.

In February 2000 I bought my first digital camera (a Kodak D215 Zoom) costing 248.95. In 2004 I bought a Fuji Sensia for 62.99 which took good photos but was spoiled by the poor viewfinder image, so a year later I bought a Canon Powershot S60 which has a wider than usual zoom lens an an optical viewfinder.

Having thought long and hard about the advatages and disadvantages of making the final switch from film to digital a bought a Canon EOS 5D in September 2006 for 2,055 for the body only. With the demise of Minolta it had become clear that I would not be able to use my stock of SLR lenes on a new digital camera as even those that would take Minolta fitting lenes did not have full frame CMOS sensors so wide angle lenes were transformed into standard lens angles of view.

I choose the EOS 5D because it had a full frame sensor and was made by Canon, a manufacturer with a long and good history of producing SLR autofocus cameras and a huge range of lenes.

I now have a collection of over 11,000 colour transparency pictures. In recent years I have concentrated on waterways photography and have had hundreds of pictures published. I record full exposure and lens details for each shot using the data cards that are part of the Dynax system. The most recent 3,000 shots are recorded on a database and cross-referenced to the place and/or waterway photographed.

My Working Life

I started work, in 1959, and joined the Post Office in early 1960, a move that was to lead in directions I could not foresee. When I joined the Post Office was part of the Civil Service, in 1969 it became a nationalised industry and in the seventies the Postal and Telecommunications business were split. 1984 was the year of British Telecommunications privatisation and I found that, in 24 years, I had been transformed from a Civil Servant to a member of one of Britain's largest public companies without ever leaving my employer. 1968 was a pivotal point in my life for not only did I get engaged to Beryl (we married in 1969) but I also was promoted from working behind the Post Office counter to designing computer systems. I have now been using computers for over thirty years, although when I started the idea of having a powerful (or any) computer on the desktop was pure science fiction. Over the years I have lived in London, Chatham, St Albans and Cardiff while working in London, St Albans and Cardiff. I have two daughters, Angela and Rosemary.

In 1993 I had the chance to take my company pension ten years early as part of BT's efforts to reduce the number of people it employed. This enabled me to buy a boat and do some serious photography and boating. Since 1953 I had been on several boating holidays on rivers and canals and had always loved it. As soon as I left BT, in November 1993, we ordered a new narrowboat to be built for us. This was delivered in June 1994, and I wrote an article called Launching Lorna Ann which appeared in Waterways World. In the nine years since retiring Beryl and I have cruised over 1,000 miles each year on the canals and rivers of England and Wales.

Writing : My first published article was The Neath and Tennant Canals published in Waterways World in October 1992. Since then I have written a number of articles for waterways publications, mainly Waterways World. For more information on this subject please see my Waterways Information site at www.jim-shead.com

Information Technology : This is what was once called computing or even Automatic Data Processing when I first came into the profession. In my career I have been a Systems Analyst, a Senior Programmer/Analyst, a Data Administrator and an IT Manager. I have written programs in assembler language and COBOL as well as BASIC and Object PAL. At present I have two pentium processor machines (a desktop and a laptop that I take boating). My main software is MS Windows XP, MS Office and the Paradox 7 database system.

Contact Me : You can . me.