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Needless to say, my interests in railways, beers and photography have also seen me develop a keen interest in travel so I always try to fit in a bit of tourism and sightseeing during my trips as well as experiencing the multitude of societies and cultures around the world.

So far, I've visited 45 countries:-

Albania / America / Australia / Austria / Belgium / Bosnia / Bulgaria / Canada / China / Croatia / Czech Republic / Denmark / Egypt / Estonia / Finland / France / Germany / Greece / Hungary / India / Irish Republic / Israel / Italy / Latvia / Lithuania / Luxembourg / Macedonia / Morocco / Northern Ireland / Netherlands / Norway / Poland / Portugal / Romania / Russia / Serbia / Slovakia / Slovenia / Spain / Sri Lanka / Sweden / Switzerland / Taiwan / Tunisia / Ukraine!

Having visited almost every country in Europe and most of the major cities within those countries, some albeit briefly, I've started to spread my wings a bit more in the last few years although I do still return to some of my old favourites every now and again. I will try to upload some of my experiences and recommendations from my travels via my trip reports. June & I each had two Fotopics collections but as of March 2011 Fotopics folded. After a fair bit of research and hunting around for a new photo gallery I eventually set up a Flickr account. It's still in it's early stages but I've started by uploading some of my railway photo's and will continue by adding a selection of beer and tourism photos.

My love of photography started at a young age as my father was a keen railway photographer but I started to get serious in my teenage years when I borrowed one of my dads cameras before finally purchasing a Canon A1 camera. This set the precedent for me and I've owned Canon products ever since - I think it's a Marmite thing with cameras - I love Canon's but hate Nikon's whereas one of my mates is the other way round!

All have performed well from my A1 and AE1 Program through to my EOS300, however a fluke encounter with the Duty Free Dixons at Stansted in 2004 finally brought me into the digital age. The offer of what was basically a free trial while I was on holiday and a full no quibble refund when I got home which persuaded me to try out a Canon PowerShot A80 (point and shoot but with some excellent features!). I found the camera very easy to use and the flip screen was a gizmo that actually worked! Needless to say, on my return the camera was returned to the local Dixons and the same model complete with memory card was purchased cheaper from Amazon :-)

I am now a true advocate of digital photography and in 2007 I purchased a Canon EOS 400D which proved to be every bit as good as I thought. 2010 saw me visit Sri Lanka for the first time and it turned out to be a very memorable holiday but not all for the right reasons! My Powershot A80 finally gave up the ghost after six years of sterling service (I think the bright sunshine was too much for the sensor!) and I took an unexpected dip in the sea complete with my EOS400D and phone - Ouch! My wounds healed after a few months but the camera and phone were a right off so to tide me over I bought a Canon Powershot SX20, A very capable "intermediate" camera with many functions from the SLR range but with the addition of a big optical zoom and a flip screen. However, I soon discovered that it did have a few limitations - the digital viewfinder was difficult to use, the same finger was required for shutter release and zooming but probably most annoying was the slow start up and reset after taking a photo, something that caused me to miss numerous photos. In the end I took the plunge again and bought an EOS60D, a cracking bit of kit and a first for me - a digital SLR with a flip screen, very useful for taking both high and low level photo's without resorting to climbing on top of walls or lying on the floor!

Digital photo's are easy to store so I've found that I'm taking far more than I used to with my old film cameras - fine except for finding the time to sort through them all and index them! I'm slowly clearing the backlog (and making sure that I've got a copy of all my images) and uploading them to my Flickr collections so keep and eye on them for regular updates. Once that task is complete I can start scanning all my old prints and negatives.......

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© Neil Aitken 07/06/2007