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Nevis, Millennium New Year trip 1999 and how all of this started

In deciding to start blogging again I struggled with how to begin. Since I had concluded that this was going to be a travel and photography oriented blog, I finally settled on starting in the beginning. Or, more specifically, the beginning of my digital photography and travel journey.

Prior to 1999 I acquired my first “real” camera while in high school in the late 1980s- a Pentax K1000 fully manual 35mm film camera with a 50mm f/2 lens. I spent a most of my meager disposable income at the time on film processing, only to learn the hard way that fully manual photography requires a bit more skill than the point-and-shoot photography with 110 cameras I had dabbled in up until that point. It’s surprising to me, now that I think back on it, why I didn’t give it up after so many days of eager anticipation waiting on a roll of film to be developed and printed only to get back a pack of 24 or 36 under or over exposed and mostly blurry photographs with maybe only a handful of decent prints.

Instead of giving up I checked out a couple of basic photography books from the library and started taking detailed notes about the scene conditions and camera settings every time I pressed the shutter. The results were gradual but consistent improvement. As I started to unravel the mysteries of the exposure triangle, I started to get how the camera “sees” and my photography started to improve.

Now, I have always been obsessed with gadgets (no wonder I ended up an Industrial Designer!), so it stood to reason that once I had “mastered” my simple Pentax setup I would start looking for the next step up. That came in the form of a Nikon N70 35mm SLR. The N70 was a fully automatic 35mm SLR with autofocus, a built-in pop-up flash and numerous scene modes. Basically, it was the 35mm film equivalent of the entry-level Canon and Nikon DSLRs so many people buy today when they start getting serious about photography.

I had the N70 for a year or so and assembled a small lens collection during that time. That was my first experience learning about the concept of using different lenses to achieve different results. In 1998 Nikon had released the Coolpix 900 consumer grade digital camera. This was a 1MP compact point-and-shoot camera with a unique rotating split body design and a 3X optical zoom. I was skeptical at first but intrigued by the concept of digital photography. In 1999 Nikon released the D1 which blew my mind with it’s whopping 2.7MP and $5,000 price tag. I went to my local camera store to see one, and after drooling over it for some time decided to trade my entire Nikon N70 kit for a Coolpix 950.

The Coolpix 950 shared the Coolpix 900’s novel split body design but added improved ergonomics, better construction and a 2.1MP sensor (2X the resolution of the CoolPix 900!!) Shortly after purchasing the 950 my family decided that if the World was going to come to and end due to the Y2K Bug we might as well get stuck in our favorite Caribbean retreat of Nevis in the West Indies. So, loaded with my new camera we escaped to the tropics where there was virtually no internet and, while the power grid would routinely shut down, it was not because of computer failure but because the generator ran out of fuel.

While on Nevis we stayed in the Hurricane Cove Bungalows where we had stayed previously on our honeymoon in 1997. Unfortunately, it appears they are now for sale. If you have an extra $7M USD I’m sure it would be a wonderful investment. I know a number of people in my immediate family that will definitely be returning. We traveled over to St. Kitts where we enjoyed watching some carnival parades before ringing in the New Year at the Oualie Beach Resort. The rest of the time we just wandered around the island while I tried to got to know my new camera. Below is a selection of photos from that trip.

So, with all of that out of the way I officially kick off this new attempt at blogging. I don’t really have much of a plan other than going through my photo archives and building on what I started with this post. Hope you’ll come along for the ride.

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