LightCentric Photography by Andy Richards

My Story

I have been making photographs for nearly 45 years. A retired Estate Planning and Business Attorney, photography has always been my passion. I shoot primarily outdoor, nature, and "travel" subjects. I use digital editing software liberally to enhance my photographic vision. These days, I take every opportunity I can to travel to other places to photograph.

Beginnings

In 1977, I attended a small, rural college in Vermont for a year. There, I was inspired by one of my favorite professors, John Knox. A talented and avid photographer John is also the owner of the Facebook Page, "Vermont by a Vermonter." A very happy footnote to this part of my journey happened in October 2021 - by total chance, I bumped into John at a location we both were shooting on the same morning. While very brief, I had the chance to shake hands and catch up. Hope to see John again soon.

Armed with my dad's completely manual, Asahiflex 35 mm camera, a handheld light meter, and Kodachrome 25 film, I began my photographic journey. "Bitten" by the bug, I shortly purchased my first "modern" SLR Camera, a Canon TX, with a 50mm prime lens.

Moving On

In the early 1980's,  I was a staff photographer for my College Newspaper and College Yearbook. I traded the Canon for a Nikon (to go with the Kodachrome better, of course :-) ) body with a 50mm prime and two additional zoom lenses. That would begin my 30-year relationship with Nikon.

The best part of the college experience was the time I was able to spend in the darkroom. My darkroom experience was limited to B&W.  For years afterward, I dreamed of the day I would have my own color darkroom. Little did I know that when that day finally came around, my color darkroom would be my computer and my chemicals would be software!

New Beginnings

I attended Law School in the mid-1980's at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. I had a few nice photo ops there, but was mostly immersed in school, and trying to get my career started.

In the early 1990's, the spirit re-awakened, and it was time for something "new."  I bought my first "auto-everything" SLR - a Nikon N6006 - and began anew my self-study in photography, using resource materials like the Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure,"  as well as books by Arthur Morris, Larry West, and Ansel Adams, as well as materials from the New York Institute of Photography. 

The Digital Age   

In the early 1990s, along with every other consumer and most serious photographers, I became aware of digital media. Early DSLR bodies cost several thousand dollars. Finally, in early 2002, Nikon announced its first "prosumer" DSLR Body, the D100, at a consumer-affordable price.  By December 2002, I was shooting with the D100.  Two years later, I upgraded to the Nikon D200.  I subsequently "upgraded" my DSLR camera three more times: to a D700 "FX" ("full frame" sensor) body, a Nikon D7000 "DX" (APS-C sensor) backup body, and finally to a Nikon D800e FX body.  Occasionally I used a Canon G12 Point & Shoot Camera.

The "Next Big Thing"; Mirrorless

Each time that I have "upgraded" to a new "system," I have had some misgivings. But after having done so, I haven't looked back. In that spirit, in 2012, I traded all my "backup" camera gear for a Sony NEX-6 "mirrorless" interchangeable lens camera. The Sony mirrorless camera grew on me quickly, and shortly, I was shooting with a Carl Zeiss prime lens.

In 2013, after a happy 30+ years as a dedicated Nikon shooter, I "liquidated" my entire Nikon inventory in favor of the world's first mirrorless "full-frame" camera, the Sony A7r. At the time, Nikon just wasn't moving (fast enough) in the direction I was. !0 years later, they are rocking the mirrorless market - but too late for me.

In 2015, I bought a new Sony "point & shoot" camera; the RX100.  This little pocket camera makes some amazing images and is really a "pro" camera packaged in a very small box.  I like this little power-packed tool a lot.  So much that it has been my sole-carry camera on 2 out-of-country trips.  It is very freeing to carry a camera and a very small, light tripod for travel.

But nothing stays static. I recently had an opportunity to pick up an Olympus Micro 4/3 MFT) camera. It has a sensor that is smaller than the APS-C and "full Frame" equipment I have used for years. But it is substantially bigger than the little 1-inch sensor in the RX100. And in my limited experience with it, that shows in the results. Because the MFT sensor is smaller, it allows for the design and manufacture of very small lenses that are the focal equivalent of the lenses I carry today with my "serious" Sony a7rii. Very small in comparison. The 80-300 equivalent is 3" long, 2" in diameter, and very light. The 28-80 equivalent is a "pancake" style lens, which makes the setup strongly resemble an only slightly larger RX100.  The body, their so-called "entry-level" in the OMD line (it's as sophisticated as I will ever need and it is also the smallest body in that line), the OMD Em10 first generation, is only nominally larger than the RX100. It isn't quite as pocketable as the RX100, it is small enough to carry comfortably as a walk-around and travel lens. It's "retro" design has a lot of attraction for an "old-school" shooter like me. While like all digital bodies these days, it has a rear screen, the EVF viewfinder, combined with a popup flash, gives the top a bump quite like the old pentaprism, which would hinder pocket carry in all but maybe a jacket or cargo pocket. But it would easily fit in a very small bag. And I love the way it handles and shoots, very much like my bigger camera. It will undoubtedly become my go-to travel setup.

I will continue, for the foreseeable future, to shoot with the A7ii for my "serious" shooting, but will probably carry the Olympus for travel. Of course, the RX100vi will always be along for backup.

Yes, I "Photoshopped" it!

Photoshop has been in my software arsenal almost exclusively since early in its tenure, and I have read thousands of "how to" pages.  And I still have only scratched the surface on what can be done with post-processing software. There are, of course, alternatives to Photoshop, all of them pretty good. But for the moment, Photoshop continues to be the industry standard - and I am comfortable with it. I use Photoshop CC as my “workhorse” photo editor. I occasionally use other post-processing software - primarily in the form of "plugins" to Photoshop, but the Adobe built-in capability just gets better and better.

Most of my first 35 years of shooting was devoted to "natural" subjects; primarily landscapes and animals. However, I have more recently tried to foster a more creative approach, taking a turn back to B&W imagery, all through digital, post processing and experimenting with the "art" side of photography, using "painting" and "sketching" and combinations of these and B&W and color to make images.  It is fascinating. I look forward to continuing to learn about digital imagery through study, practice in the field, and work in the digital darkroom.

My photographic inspirations - in addition to John Knox, include photographic writer, Bryan Petersen, from whom I have learned so much without ever meeting him; the late, James Moore, a friend and mentor and skilled teacher and photographer in his own right, and the late, Arnold John Kaplan, who at 97 plus before his death, was still going strong, writing and shooting and inspiring me to live and photograph! The LightCentric Galleries include exemplars of all facets of my photographic work. I hope you will spend some time here, and enjoy.

If you are interested in an even longer, more detailed version of my story, go to my LightCentricPhotography Blog's "My Story" Page