About me

Posted on 6 July 2007, 19:23

I’m Keith Reeder, a 46 year old (at the time of writing) civil servant living in Blyth, in the north east of England.

I am here…

For most of my adult life I have been an enthusiastic coarse angler, but the dearth of decent fishing up here led me to look for something new. As I was already a keen birder, it was only a small leap (and a large financial plunge!) from there to bird photography.

I’ve only owned a digital SLR since May 2005 when I bought my Nikon D70 and I took to it like… well… like a duck to water.

I’ve been hooked ever since.

It’s part of my character that, if I get into something, I get into it in a big way, and so it has been with photography: I might not have been doing it for very long, but I’ve invested a huge amount of time and energy into learning the ropes, with the result that my opinions are based on personal experience, not just on “internet chatter” I’ve picked up.

My patch
The north east is a part of the world with immense birding and photography potential, but unfortunately my part – South East Northumberland – is something of an exception to that rule, being considered by the Movers And Shakers in local government as little more than a huge housing-estate-to-be. Many of my favourite sites have already been lost to development, and still more is to come.

Because I don’t drive, this really matters to me.

But until the entire county is under concrete, I’ll be out there with my camera whenever circumstances allow.

I’m very close to the coast, and spend a lot of time at St Mary’s Island, Whitley Bay and often visit my local port, which is great for gulls, cormorants, eiders, auks and – surprisingly perhaps – snow buntings in the Winter months.

I’m also close to farmland which could be great were it not for the swarms of illegal off-road motorcyclists (or “twats“, as I like to call them) that infest the vicinity.

Still, nothing a well-aimed half brick can’t solve…

My gear
I am a total convert to Canon cameras and lenses, after what was ultimately a disappointing time with Nikon.

I’ve used a 30D and Canon 100-400mm IS lens since early 2006, and in September 2007, I succumbed to the charms of the new 40D, and it is a wonderful piece of kit.

Everything about it is just better than my 30D – sometimes slightly, sometimes significantly, and I’m delighted by its performance coupled to the 100-400mm.

The only downside is that it won’t work with my 1.4x converter (or the Canon equivalent) and 100-400mm: it just refuses to lock focus if I use the centre AF point.

Know what? I don’t really care. It’s such a good camera that I’m hardly missing the extra reach of the TC.

I’m a bit of a serial camera bag collector, and as a result might end up carrying the kit around in a Lowepro Slingshot 300, Lowepro Micro Trekker 200, Lowepro Photo Trekker Classic (if I’m carrying every gadget that I own!), Crumpler December Quarter, or – until recently – a cheap and surprisingly cheerful Delsey Gopix 90.

No, I’d never heard of it either! This is a “proper” camera bag though, with good padding, adjustable partitioning, plenty of pockets, but it doesn’t really look like a camera bag, which is why it would get first choice if I was pottering about locally.

Cheap as chips too, and although it might not last as long as a Lowepro, a bag with a 5 year guarantee that will take my 30D + Canon grip with 100-400 + TC attached and all the other the other odds and sods, which looks pretty good and which costs £30 is not to be sniffed at..!

I used a Rotation360 for a good while too.

I’ve been writing a thorough review of it for ages now, but it’s such a sophisticated piece of kit (yes, really. It’s not “just” a bag by any stretch of the imagination – it needs an instruction manual, for God’s sake!) that I’m still not finished as at 23 March 2008.

These days though (since about June 2008), my bag of choice is a Lowepro Fastback 350 which takes a lot of kit if needs be (I bought it primarily for holidays as it will safely carry a laptop in a padded compartment) but it’s light and comfortable enough for days out too, even if there’s a bit of hiking involved.

The “supporting cast” include my SmartDisk Photochute portable hard drive image storage unit, bits and pieces like the Giotto Rocket and Copperhill Images Sensorsweep brush – both for sensor cleaning.

My software of choice is either Raw Therapee or Capture One 4 for RAW conversion and initial tweaking (Cap One 4 for high ISO files), with Paintshop Pro X2 and Neat Image Home+ for presentational fettling.

This site
I’m still in the early stages of my development as a photographer (there’s probably a photographer joke in there somewhere!) and this site will let me chart my progress in a way which I hope will be useful to others in my position.

It seems that there’s a photographer in everyone, and since the advent of the digital SLR, I’m bumping into a lot of ‘em!

I use Textpattern (Txp) to generate this site.

To use their own description:

Textpattern is a web application designed to help overcome… hurdles to publishing online, and to simplify the production of well-structured, standards-compliant web pages.

Simple? Hmmm… I’d probably debate that, but in terms of flexibility and ability it has no equal, in my humble opinion.

One of the great things about Txp is the ability to extend its core functionality by incorporating plug-ins – snippets of code that provide additional or improved capabilities, and I use quite a few of ‘em…

Txp also has a great community and I’ve relied heavily on assistance from the whizz-kids on there before now…

Images, content and design © 2019 Keith Reeder. Built with Textpattern