Interview with Dxqcanada!


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Sep 2, 2003
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In the mental ward of this forum
Can others edit my Photos
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Welcome to another TPF Member Spotlight, everyone!

Our interviews are designed, quite simply, to showcase our members. It’s not meant to be a pretentious show, or make anyone feel self-conscious about their work style or artistic preferences. These interviews are casual chats just to get to know each other better - a celebration of our wide, diverse group of photographers who, despite coming from a variety of backgrounds, all come to TPF because of a shared love for photography.

TPF is a wonderful community and it’s worthwhile to shine the spotlight on our members. This means YOU, reading this – don’t be surprised if you hear from us asking for an interview!

Remember, each interview segment will be left open like a regular thread, so you can ask your own questions or comment on things you may have learned. This is our new way to highlight the skill sets and display the unique styles of our wonderful community.


Now, onto our interview – member Dxqcanada!

Let’s start with your background in photography. What got you interested, and continuing with, photography?

From what I recall my first usage of a camera was when I was a child and spending a lot of time with my Grand Parents in the 70's. My grandmother bought me a 110 camera ... or possibly she gave me hers ... not sure. I remember using the camera but do not remember the photographs taken from it.

As a child I liked to draw things ... I sketched real life objects. My grandmother got me a very large sketch pad and I used to draw everything that caught my attention. I was never one to draw something from my mind, I was one who drew the world as my eye saw it.

It was many, many years later in life that I actually took up "photography". During my schooling I tried to take Art courses, but also was interested in Science and Technology. In my early teens I worked to save up some money to purchase a telescope. I do not remember why I wanted one, but most likely it was due to reading Cosmos by Carl Sagan. I then realized that a Schmitt-Cassegrain telescope, that I was interested in, cost a lot more than what I had, and could get, so I somehow got it into my mind that the next best thing would be an SLR film camera.

I remember traveling to the Yorkdale Mall to visit the Direct Film camera store to buy a Canon T-70 kit. It came with a store-brand wide angle, telephoto zoom lens, tripod, bag, and some film.
Using photography was akin to my sketching/drawing/painting of what the world showed me ... but it was much less effort. I took many pictures of things. In the late 80's, I was fortunate enough to get a job at a camera store ... Japan Camera. This introduced me to the vast array of hardware and also the processing. I got so interested I took some college courses to learn Photography techniques and the process of developing.

Dxq image 3.jpg

“This image is my mostest favorite. Shot in the beginning days. I was somewhere down by the lakeshore and someone whom I was with told me to take a picture. I looked and quickly took a snap shot". It was only after I got the roll developed and printed that it actually captured what I mentally imagined the scene to look like. This is a picture of the 16x20 print as the negative was lost ... shot with my Canon T-70 and no-name wide angle zoom.”

This became my life. I spent the next 20 years working in that industry. During that time is also when I met my wife. She was studying Media Arts, and I got her a job at the camera store. She brought to my life a different "life". Our lives were in photography. I remember the day when we were looking for a new place to live and she told me that she found an ad for a loft that described it had one room where the previous owner had painted it all flat black, even the windows ... DARKROOM!! We lived there for many years and printed many images.

Dxq image 5.jpg

“In the 90's I signed up for College to learn how to develop and print film. One of the classes was portraiture. A very brutal course, since I don't like taking pictures of people. This is an image of my father in his environment ... it really captured who he really was. Taken with a Mamiya C330 and a single Metz Mega60 CT-4 with umbrella.”

[At] the start of digital photography, I left to pursue a career with Computers (which was another interest of mine). I did realize that if the Photofinishing industry did not embrace the new digital world that it would collapse ... which it did. I did try to make change, but, at that time, the establishment liked the status quo ... that was one of the reasons for me to leave. We stayed with our roots in Photography and tried to travel wherever we could to take pictures ... and we continue to this day, though I do not have the same passion. Personally I liked film better than digital, but is sure is a lot more convenient (and cheaper).

You’ve been a member of TPF since 2008. How did you find us, back in the day? What made you want to find/join a photo forum?

For some reason I wanted to read about other people doing photography, especially digital as I was just starting to work with that medium. ... so I Googled and landed here. I have tendencies to be egocentric, so I thought that I could contribute my knowledge ... but I realized that I am a newbie in this world, so I have never been that prolific of a responder.

Your TPF profile tells us this: “From the old days of photographic sales and photofinishing ... also computers from the olden days (remember the PET or Apple IIe). Now, just taking pictures, fixing stuff for the fun of it, and running Linux on a MacBook ... mostly trying to fix stuff.”

So I gotta ask: What kind of stuff are you fixing?

I like to buy broken camera equipment and try to get them back into a working state. My workbench shows examples of what I have worked on:

Dxq image 1 workshop.jpg

I primarily work on pre-60's mechanical cameras, shutters, and lenses ... even though I did study electronics in school, the electronics in more modern cameras is too much for me. Mechanical stuff has a "hands-on" logic to it ... a gear turns, a spring puts tension on a lever ... you can see it moving (or not).

Has there ever been something you tackled that couldn’t be fixed?

There have been many things couldn't be fixed ... I think I fail about 30% of the time, mostly because they are just too far gone and require parts are not available, too costly to replace (mainly lens elements) ... and also my lack of skill/knowledge. These become parts for future fixes.

Dxq image 4.jpg

“Another early film image ... this was just after I discovered Kodak Kodachrome. I used to wander around my home and try to "look" for a image, probably a reflex from by Art background, I tried to envision how it would look on paper. Shot with a Canon T-70 and no-name wide angle lens.”

What’s your current camera setup? Do you tend to reach for the same gear, or do you like to swap things out?

Sony A-77mk2, Sony NEX-6, and various Sony and Minolta glass ... I won't mention my Film stuff, as I really don't use them anymore cause I am too lazy to use them.

I have gone through many, many lenses (my A-mount Lens post) to finally end up with a set that gives me the performance and IQ that I wanted … without having a huge budget. My go-to lenses are the Sony 70-400mm G1 for birding/wildlife, and the Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 for the wide stuff.

I kept a number of prime lenses (including a macro), but they tend to gather dust … which is much different from my film days when I shot with a Canon New F-1 and I had five primes … 24mm, 50mm, 100mm macro, 200mm, and 400mm.

What are the things that stress you out the most? How do you deal with stress?

Hmm, odd question … does that mean I sound stressed out when I post, or maybe I don’t sound stressed? Honestly, the thing that stresses me out the most is having to deal with humans … and to deal with it, I just try to avoid them … now I have to wonder why I agreed to this interview??

Ha ha! Well, stress or no stress, you’re doing great. Let’s shift gears. Outside of photography, what do you do for fun and adventure?

Well, other than restoring cameras … I have also been working on my Family Tree, though that has turned into a different thing which became a tree of ALL Japanese Canadians that I can make a connection through the Government Internment records during WWII … I got tired after finding 2100+ people.

I have a Unimat and some metal … I am also a “computer” nerd, I like to watch code get compiled.

My wife and I used to drive around looking for places, but this Covid thing has put a damper on many things.

I am actually quite boring.

Exploring one’s roots though, isn’t boring – it can be very interesting. Have you come across anything in your family history that surprised you? Events or family stories you didn’t know about before?

How much information the Canadian Government has on record … and without that, I would never have discovered so much about the Japanese Canadians. The most surprising thing about the exploring was that, after a couple of years of searching, I was able to help out many other people discover things they did not know about their own Japanese Canadian roots.

I found out that one Grandfather fell off a sawdust bunker and busted some ribs … and the other Grandfather left his family in Canada, went to the USA and ended up in an Internment Camp there.

Dxq image 2 Interment WWII.jpg

“A photograph of my Mom's family during WWII in the Internment Camp in Lemon Creek, British Columbia, Canada. They got dressed up for this family portrait ... first generation immigrant great grandmother, her three Canadian born daughters with two husbands, and all their Canadian born children.”

Thank you so much for sharing this family image with us, Dennis. I hope everyone reading this interview pauses for a moment to take a good look.

Do you have any favorite photographers?

Primary ... Ansel Adams ... as a technical photographer. I like the concept of visualizing the final product from start to finish and using all the technical manipulation to achieve that.
Most photographers from the Group f/64 (which Ansel was a part of), especially Edward Weston.
Yousuf Karsh ... there is something about his lighting.
Henri Cartier-Bresson and Dorothea Lange for being able to visualize that moment.

That’s an impressive list. Would you say any of them helped inform your own style?

Hmm, interesting enough, I started trying to get images like them ... but today, I shoot wildlife primarily, so they were all influences when I was "developing" as a photographer.

Dxq image 7.jpg

“So, after I met my wife and started to travel around more, we got into wildlife photography. This image kinda is an accumulation of the experience we gained through shooting all those rolls of film. Having the luxury of digital and AF does make it "easier" but actually getting "the" shot is the same as when I did it with film and MF. Taken with a Sony SLT-A57 and Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4.”

What’s the best gift you ever received? Who gave it to you? What makes it so special?

Hmm, I really have to think about that one ...

Sometime in the late 70's, we got a complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica from our Parents.

It was then that I discovered ... everything!! I read it from start to end ... every page. I discovered how big our world is, how much stuff that I didn't know, how much stuff happened before ... so much stuff it opened my eyes and mind.

Hmm, I don't remember reading anything about Photography, but I do remember the pages about Optical Lenses.

Dxq image 6.jpg

“This image was during a time where I was shooting less, looking more ... one things I still took with me after I started shooting digital. This image, to me, sums up that mentality ... I "saw" the rusty container/shack/shed thing, and I just kept looking at it to "find" a photograph within it. Taken with a Bronica SQ-A on Kodachrome.”

Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview, Dennis. (Sorry about the stress!)

This concludes the main interview. As always, the interview is open to comments and more questions from our TPF readers. Take it away!

Dxq image 8.jpg

“Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, at that iconic spot of the lighthouse. I was standing there looking at "how" to take a picture of it ... the rocks, the lighthouse, the sky? My wife was with me, of course, and I waiting for everything to come into place ... I blame Ansel Adams. Taken with the Sony SLT-A57 and wide angle zoom.”
Very interesting read. I really like your photo of your father. He looks like a real craftsman. I hope you have the last framed very big!
Thanks. Yeah, he liked to build things even though that was not his full time job.
Hmm, I never printed that neg into a large print ... I have some 8x10's only.
Enjoyed the interview. The rusty container shot is really nice. Love the color tones.

I see we have a common interest in fixing things. I mainly fix/restore turntables and typewriters. And also my Ford Mustang's.
Thanks ... you should see the original Kodachome ... this scan is a bit dull in comparison.

Hmm, I still have my old belt driven Dual turntable ... sadly I never took my Underwood typewriter after I moved out of my parents place.

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