Stuart Ord

Stuart Ord

I am a 70-yr-old retired chemical engineer, in which I specialised in technical safety studies of chemical factories. I live in Cheshire in the north west of England. Cheshire is a nice place, but I prefer my native Yorkshire for its variety and scenery.

I have been a photographer of sorts for a long time. I was loaned a camera by my Aunt when I was about 12. It was a little Voigtlander. I was hooked and started reading everything, and saved all my money until I was able to buy a Zenit 3M SLR when I was 14. I got a Saturday job in a camera shop when I was 16, when my wages went on film and darkroom materials, a 2x tele converter, an electronic flash, extension tubes and a Weston Master V. I took mainly colour slides and monochrome.

At Leeds University aged 20, I became the Chairman of the Photographic Society, and equipped our darkroom with a simple colour enlarger. Results were disappointing though due to the simple equipment and need for exact temperature control. My wife bought me a Krokus enlarger and I had a mono and slide darkroom in our loft.

I went through various SLRs and lenses, the best being a Pentax MX with a motor drive and an early Tamron zoom, but by my 40s I got fed up with carting around a heavy case. Most of that time I was only doing record photography. Interest dwindled and I sold up in my mid-40s.

I started to get interested again in my mid-50s as digital cameras became practicable. After a Canon compact I had a couple of bridge cameras, but dissatisfaction with their capability led me to getting my first DSLR, a Lumix G3, micro 4/3 as I was wary of the weight of DSLRs. After a couple of years I had outgrown the G3 and bought an Olympus OM-D E-M5 mk 2, which was light and very capable. I swapped for an E-M1 mk 2 which was a distinct step up from the 5 in terms of shutter speed and focussing ability. I love its macro stack feature too. When equipped with an Olympus 14-150mm lens, it's even a "take it everywhere" camera.

For a couple of years I also had some Canon equipment, starting with a 9D and a 100mm macro lens and an MP-E 1x - 5x macro lens. I didn't lke the 9D and changed to an M50 mk2, which I thought was a brilliant little camera. However I decided to revert to Olympus (or rather OM Systems now) for macro as well as general photography, and have sold all my Canon items.

Recently I have upgraded again to an OM Systems OM-1.

I have a wide selection of Olympus and Panasonic lenses. And a Weston Euro Master! I keep adapting my lenses as Olympus bring out new ones where they seem to fit my aims of light weight, versatility and image quality.

I'm programme secretary in my local camera club in Whitchurch.

I can not specialise in any one branch of photography, they are all so interesting! But macro and monochrome do have a special interest to me. I use Serif Affinity Photo for most photo editing, but I have NIK Silver Efex 2 and Franzis Silver Projects for mono conversions as well. Comparing these on any image is quite interesting.

I am a strong believer in a book I read in my teens which said something like, "If colour is important to your image, use colour; otherwise use monochrome". I think it is also true that mono should enhance a mono image, so strong form and/or texture are needed. Due to my darkroom days, I like monos to have all shades of grey from 0 to 255, but that is easier said than done.