"Today everything exists to end in a photograph"
Susan Sontag

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The Susan Sontag quote (above) sums up what has become of photography...I'm not clear on when she wrote those words, I'm guessing in her book "On Photography" published in the 1970's. If so, she may have meant something other than than the current phenomenon that is the smart phone.

Until recently my main camera was a Canon 7d Mk1 but in recent times I have become captured by the Fujifilm X range of cameras. This came about because of a bad back and my gradually increasing inability to lug heavy gear all over the countryside in search of images. This mirrorless range of cameras seems to have all the answers for me. They are small and lightweight but can pretty much do everything I demand of a camera. They are also so beautifully designed, a delight to own and beautiful to look at. But the design of the Fuji X range is not just aesthetics, things are as they are for a reason, so well thought out and practical. In my view they work as a camera should work.

I started out with the Fuji X-Pro1 which amazed me...so easy to use and delightful to own. The quality was equal in every way with my 7d and it wasn't the weight of a small city. After a couple of years I bought the Fuji X-T1 which had raised the bar yet again. The Fuji lenses are renowned for being quality optics. Their prime lenses are my favourites. I now believe that zoom lenses (while they have their place) make us, as photographers lazy...the prime lens forces us to be thoughful.

I was going to sell the 7d Mk1 but it had been a such good friend and in the end I kept it, augmenting it with a Sigma 105mm 2.8 Macro lens. Macro had always been something I had wanted to try. Of course with Macro comes a new list of "essential" and expensive add-ons all designed to improve my pictures and make me poorer...mmmmm, time will tell.
To date I have added to my macro set up with macro tubes from Kenko, a macro rail for focus stacking and more accurate manual focussing. In my sights is a Canon twin flash...expensive but essential?....mmm.
I was warned by many that Macro was not easy..."just wait until you get in close and personal", I was told. The sharp, up close, macro images that more experienced macro photographers achieve are to me mind blowing and require steady hands, good eyes and a great deal of patience..plus almost Zen like concentration. But, the genre is addictive.

On the post production side I use the Photoshop CC 2015, Lightroom, Bridge Cloud package plus the complete Nik Suite. Other programs that figure in my tool bag are: Photomatix Pro, Macphun and Topaz Labs.

An Apple enthusiast (not a fanboy) I have used only Apple since the mid 1980's and currently run a 27" iMac fully juiced up. I also have a 13" MacBook Pro with Retina screen which handle all my processing when I travel. Completing my addiction I also have a very old iPad and a hand-me-down iPhone. I print to a Canon Pro 100 A3+ which I find more than copes with my comp requirements.

Michael Maher

Sunset in SA