Bob HarrisonName: Bob Harrison
Country: United States
Intro: I live in the coastal Maine town of Cape Elizabeth and work as an environmental scientist. My photography has been a serious hobby for a long time, but in 2007 started to become a side business also. When I bought my first serious camera in 1977 I took one photo course partly connected with my work then as a lab tech, but otherwise I'm primarily self taught.

For my first 24 years I used Canon film SLRs, but the 3 bodies and assorted lenses have been sitting in the closet since getting my first compact ultra-zoom digital in 2001. My Olympus 700C-UZ gave me 4 good years of hard use before dying and being replaced by a Canon S2 IS (for 3 years), then by my current Canon S5 IS. These have been a joy to use and keep me from considering a digital SLR, at least until someone puts this kind of optical power in a single lens for an SLR.

For years I carried multiple lenses for my film SLRs, covering from 28 to 400 mm, plus macro. I came to rely on that wide range of focal lengths to be able to frame things exactly the way I wanted and to get close optically to things that I couldn't reach physically. With time I learned that point of view often makes or breaks the quality of a photograph, or at least of its composition. But the big pile of gear was heavy and cumbersome, especially for hiking trips. And of course I found myself always changing lenses at bad times and in difficult locations, half expecting to drop one over a cliff or into some lake (never did).

The biggest problem for me was always that the weight and bulk of the gear hindered rather than helped me reach my goal of capturing unusual images in a wide variety of situations. Camera capability is only part of the equation- the camera must also be there and ready when the photo-op presents itself. When I first realized in 2001 that someone had made a compact ultra-zoom camera with all that optical capability packed into one lens, I bought it and have never looked back. I think one of those old SLR bodies in my closet may still have a partly exposed roll of film in it!

My camera goes nearly everywhere with me and has captured images that would never have made it to film with my old SLRs (would be likewise for a dSLR) because I would not have had a camera with me. Now my entire gear bag, including mini-tripod, takes up only half of the small commuter bag on my bike's cargo rack. My enthusiasm for this approach probably gets obnoxious to some people, but I have sold quite a few compact UZ cameras for Olympus and Canon.

Maine is a great place to live for nature photography, but work keeps me from getting out to shoot as much as I would like. So most of my shooting is done along the coast close to home. The sea smoke vortex pictures posted on TN were shot within 5 km of home. I tend to look for early or late light (early is better since we mostly face east over the ocean) and unusual weather conditions, which in Maine can be quite often. There are plenty of photographic opportunities nearby, but when I travel, the camera is always right at hand. My goal in posting here is to present a unique point of view over a wide variety of subjects, many of them in plain sight during our daily routine. If my images and comments make you pause and think about those images themselves and their subjects, then I've been successful. Life is too short to miss the amazing natural beauty right in front of us every day.

One final note- I acknowledge without apology that my academic science background biases my subject selection, viewpoint, and presentation, including some writing that may come across as geeky. But education is what TN seems to be about, so I try to say something helpful and tone it down from a Ph.D. dissertation or the technical writing I do often for work. Hopefully you get as much from my posted photos and comments as I do from yours.

Anyone interested on the rest of my photography (including plentiful non-natural subjects) can find it at
Member Since: 2007-11-13
Camera: Canon PowerShot S2 IS, Canon PowerShot S5 IS, Olympus 700C UZ
Note: Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 40 W: 8 N: 192] (650)
BobH is a favorite of 10 members.
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Public Groups: Member: Landscape and seascape
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