I am Andrew Bazeley and I started my long journey through photography at age 16 with my first camera -- a very used Nikon F Photomic T. I used Nikkor 35mm, 105mm and 200mm lenses, in addition to the 50mm f/2 that came with the camera. Used to roll my own Plus-X and Tri-X. At the time, my craze was car racing, specifically Can Am road racing, and I saw photography as a way to get closer to my dream. I lied about my age and was able to get photographers credentials to several of the California tracks -- Riverside, Lagnua Seca, Willow Springs -- and actually had a couple of photos published in Competition Press & Autoweek. And I was fortunate enough to get to live my dreams, competing in the Can Am series in 1977 and 1980 in cars that I designed and built myself. I am pictured here in my Can Am car at Laguna Seca Raceway during the Can Am Series races in 1977 and 1980.
The Nikon F Photomic T was replaced with a Leica M2 with 35mm & 50mm Sumicrons and a 90mm Tele-Elmarit. A wonderful camera to handle and wonderful optics. During my racing years, I didn't do much photography -- in fact the Leica was sold to help fund the racing habit.
In 1982, I bought a Nikon FM2 with a Nikkor 50mm f/2 lens and a 80-200mm f/4 -- a good, though not stunning, camera and solid optics. Got married, had children (a son in 1985 and a daughter in 1990) and the camera became the tool to document babies growing into toddlers, then children and teenagers. And in 1985, I started a company in San Diego, Tecnadyne, designing and manufacturing equipment for the offshore industry -- my wife, Susan, and I still own Tecnadyne (www.tecnadyne.com).
In the 90's I became a triathlete and did pretty well -- competed in the Hawaii Ironman and won my age group in several international triathlons. I also raced mountain bikes in California and Arizona in the NORBA Championship series. And in 1998, I bought my last film Nikon, an F5 and over the years bought many autofocus lenses, several of which I still own and use.
In 2006 I finally went digital, first a D70, then two D200's and a D40x with lenses ranging from a 12-24mm Nikkor zoom on the wide side to a 500mm f/4 AF-S on the long side. And now, in 2010, I have a D3S and a D3X, which are truly great cameras, a D300S and a D7000. The Nikon F Photomic T, the Nikon FM-2 and the Nikon F5 all sit idle, collecting dust -- and I doubt that I'll ever use film again.
Nowdays, I am shooting mostly big game with my Nikons -- polar bears in Canada, brown bears in Alaska and big cats, elephants and other game in Botswana and Tanzania. And my current all consuming project is a coffee table book on polar bears that I am doing with my long time guide, Dennis Compayre. Look for this book in late 2011.
MY VIEWS ON PHOTOGRAPHY
I consider myself a pretty good photographer. But I'm also an engineer and somewhat of a Nikon wonk. I really get into the technical aspects of the gear. I love photographing nature -- animals and landscapes. I don't take a huge number of photographs -- I much prefer to see the photograph, frame it in the camera and when it is what I want -- pull the trigger. I think this comes from growing up with film. I don't believe in the digital photography phenom of "spray and pray". In fact, there have been times I have come home from a day shooting -- without having taken a single photo. I have an obsession with sharpness and detail in my photographs -- this unfortunately means that I have gravitated to the higher end of Nikon equipment, especialy the so-called "big glass".
THE GEAR THAT I USE
I have owned and shot with over 40 different Nikon lenses over the years -- today I use prime lenses almost exclusively. So this is what I now own and use:
Bodies: Nikon D4, (3) Nikon D800e's, (2) Nikon D7000
Lenses: Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8D AF-S, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8D, Nikon 70-200 f/2.8D VRII, (3) Nikon 50mm f/1.4G, (3) Nikon 85mm f/1.4G AF-S, Nikon 105mm f/2.8D AF-S VR Micro, Nikon 200mm f/4 Micro, Nikon 300mm f/2.8 AF-S VR II, Nikon 600mm f/4 AF-S VR II and the TC-14E II, TC-17E II and TC-20E III teleconverters.
Other gear that I own and use is: (1) SB-800, (4) SB-600 flashes, (5) Pocket Wizard Multimax's, Gitzo GT5540LS tripod with my own design dual camera gimbal head, Gitzo G1588 Monopod with my own gimbal head