About Paul Ray Crowson
My photography, like my life, is full of interesting side-tracks, and I'm interested in photographing everything I see that is beautiful and interesting. I work in the realm of 'real' and don't go for extreme telephoto or extreme macro or 'fish-eye' photography very often. My goal is to share what I see with my eyes, or maybe a small pair of binoculars or 'opera glasses', with you.
I enjoy live music and take my camera with me wherever I go, so I take lots of photos of my favorite musicians. I also spend a few minutes each day in my yard in northeast Jackson, Mississippi and enjoy photographing the creatures and plants that I see there. When traveling, I hope to capture the uniqueness and flavor of each place I visit. You'll also find everything from architectural detail and fall foliage to astrophotos, abstractions, and the obligatory cat photos!
I hope you enjoy my work. As of this writing, I still have lots of archival work to add to the site, so please visit often to see what I've posted lately of my new work and of my older work. Thanks for visiting!
Right now my primary body is a Nikon D7000, though I do still use the old D100 for shooting jpgs for the websites I design and build and as a backup body, or to shoot stills with while the D7000 is on a tripod making a video.
I also occasionally carry a Nikon S570 "point and shoot" with me in my pocket when I can't bring my DSLR's with me.
My First Camera
The first camera I owned was a Polaroid 320. I got it for Christmas in 1972. I was ten years old. I used it for family photos at every gathering, experimented with all the things you could with polaroids, including smushing the emulsion around before it set, and all those other neat 'effects' you could get with Polaroid film. I even pressed the 320 into service for astrophotography, too. The black and white film was actually pretty good for astrophotography and I got my first star trails and constellation pictures with it.
I learned about photosensitive chemistry from books I checked out from the local public library and I remember learning to 'pre-flash' the film to increase its sensitivity for astrophotography and tying an ice pack on the back of the camera to keep the film cold while exposing it, to reduce the background noise in the image. It was amazing to me that I could really see a difference in the astrophotographs from those simple techniques. Those were the days...
My First SLR
In the summer of 1977, my father surprised me and took me to the Nikon camera store and arranged to buy me a Nikon EL2 with a 50mm f/2.0 lens. In spite of the fact that my parents were both public school teachers in one of the lowest paying school districts in America, they paid that camera off over time and gave me the perhaps the best gift I'd ever received or have ever received. Although the Polaroid 320 Christmas gift that started it all would have to be in the running for that, too, it can't top the day my dad helped pick out this Nikon and then haggled with the salesman while I worried how we would ever pay for it.
I used this camera or one exactly like it for twenty-five years, and added the Autowinder and several lenses over time. The first accessory I got was the AW-1 Autowinder, which allows you to keep your eye in the viewfinder and not have to move the camera away from your eye to advance the film manually with the lever. After my original EL2 was stolen, I replaced it with - an EL2! It was that good, and short of a very expensive Nikon F or F2 that I could have gotten at the time, I've always thought that it was overkill, with complicated settings and stuff that get in the way of just 'focusing' on making a photo.
My First DSLR
In early 2004, I bought a Nikon D100. I never bought any of the lenses intended for it, but continued to use my Nikon film camera lenses, and got the best possible use out of that body with the old lenses. Old Nikon 'glass' is still incredibly sharp and hard to beat, if you've taken care of your old lenses like I have. One of my prized possessions is a Nikkor 105mm f/2.5. It's still the sharpest lens I own and has a large enough aperture to give me a short depth of field when I really want it. I also still use my old 300mm f/4.5 and my 24mm f/2.8 lenses. I do have a couple of modern lenses now, though, because for any sort of action photos, I need the auto focus - my eyes aren't as good as they used to be and I need the help!
I've used Ken Rockwell's photo of a D100 and left the reference to his website kenrockwell.com because it's a great site for all things Nikon. The history of all the old bodies and lenses, comprehensive reviews and other interesting and useful details can be found there. If you own a NIkon or are thinking about purchasing one, you owe it to yourself to visit his site...