Ben Gundy is a California native photographer who specialises in the western United States, Canada, and Alaska. His primary photography is landscapes with nature and a little urban photography thrown in.
I was given, or stole from my sisters, a Kodak Brownie Holiday camera in my higher elementary school years. That little brown plastic box with the button on top gave me instant memories, well, they did when the photographs came back from the drug store. In junior high I was given my great uncles’ Kodak 35 camera that I used black and white film in to photograph the military aircraft at the naval base during armed forces day. I used that camera throughout high school photographing more aircraft and going on vacation with the family. I got pretty good at guessing the expose using plus-X black and white film. In 1966 Minolta came out with their new SR-T 101 with TTL (through-the-lens metering) and of course I had to have one. The next few years I added an SR-T 102 and a slew of lenses and used this set-up through college. Of course I took every photographic class in college I could with a few art classes thrown in. No, my major was not photography…After college I continued to use the Minolta SR-T’s and in 1977 Minolta introduced the XD-11 programed shutter and again I had to have one. In 1981 Minolta introduced the popular X-700 camera and I added that to my camera bag. The Minolta Maxxum followed in 1985 which was the first auto focus camera with the motor inside the body, yes, I had to have this one also. After a couple of years I was feeling that Minolta was not going in the pro camera direction like Nikon and Canon so I switched to Canon with a pair of T90′s and never looked back.
In the above time frame I got more serious about my photography and also moved into a Mamiya 645 system and a Toyo field 4×5 view camera. The medium format Mamiya system I used for wedding photography for 3 or 4 years and the view camera I used for my serious field photography. My 35mm still went with me no matter what I was photographing as a back-up camera. I was also doing some teaching at a local camera store off hours which I enjoyed, always eager to help someone out. My slides and prints were mailed all over the world to different slide and print competitions and did well against other photographers.
Towards the last half of the 1980′s my regular job took over and my photography became more of a recording of an event somewhere instead of a creative goal. This sounds kind of sudden doesn’t it but it did come up on me gradually. I did get a Kodak digital DC265 as my first digital camera that I used on vacations with pretty good luck. Then came a Canon Rebel XT that I could use my Canon EF film lenses on and finally a little Olympus Stylus 500 for my eBay pictures.
Well, 2008 came around and in December I lost my job. So, what did I do…I got married to a wonderful understanding woman within two weeks of being let go. I decided to retire at that point as I didn’t want to look for a non-existent job with thousands of other folks. In June of 2009 I bought a new Canon 5D MarkII for my retirement and promptly put it in the closet, I guess for safe keeping. A little after a year of marriage my wife, in her wisdom, asked me if I wanted to take up photography again…I thought about it and this seemed like a great idea. Amazing, I couldn’t think of this myself…In February2010 I took the 5D out of the box and again, never looked back. However, in September I did take a workshop and took a few great pictures just like I did when I used film cameras, but had no idea what all those buttons on the camera did and what in the world was a digital darkroom…using what kind of software! Well, I still had my eye for a good photograph but was embarrassed to ask the pro (workshop leader) what all this other stuff was for.
Now it is 2011 and I know more about my camera and more about the software that makes all this digital stuff happen, so, let’s begin the journey…again.