ABOUT KARL BUHL
I am not a full-time photographer. Although, with a stock agent in Seattle and this fine art web site, I do consider myself to be a professional. With stints in advertising, software, mergers & acquisitions, and corporate finance—photography has always been an important and meaningful creative outlet.
Growing up near Crystal Lake, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago, my German father (Otto Buhl—an internationally renowned mink rancher in his day) inspired my interest in, and love of, photography. As far back as I can remember, dad had a Leica M3. In the late 60s, he purchased a Leicaflex—Leica’s first single-lens reflex (SLR) film camera. For those of you who don’t know your camera history, SLRs represented a technical breakthrough that enabled photographers to see through the lens to more accurately frame and focus the image (as opposed to the M3 that had a separate viewfinder).
That Leicaflex became my first camera.
I have difficulty keeping track of all my lenses today. But I will always remember my father’s three Leicaflex lenses:
All relatively heavy gear that I carried around faithfully.
I marveled at that 21mm F/4 Super Angulon with its square twist-on lens hood. Despite the curvature of the lens, the images were only mildly keystoned. (Interestingly, the Super Angulon was not made by Leitz, but rather it was manufactured by Schneider Kreuznach. The lens was manufactured until 1994—a 26-year run.)
It wasn’t until I moved to Seattle in the 80s that I learned how to shoot like a pro. One Saturday afternoon I participated in an Art Wolfe photography seminar held at the mid-level of the Space Needle. Art taught me how to stop-down my shots, under-exposing the film, resulting in more vivid transparency colors. That opened up my world.
I don’t want to talk about the “good old days,” but shooting with film was much easier and simpler. Calculate the light. Figure out if you wanted depth-of-field or shutter priority. Frame it. Stop it down. Shoot. My images back then were one-shot per image, with few second takes. There was an economic cost to snapping the shutter: You had to pay for developing.
Today, in the digital camera world, every shot has thousands of permutations at 90-frames- per-second. Don’t get me wrong … evolving photography technology is amazing, and no one finds more joy in that scent of new electronics when opening the box. Mirrorless cameras. Mavic drones. Capture One editing software. What’s not to like—except for the intense learning curve?
The challenge with all this new tech, however, is to maintain your style and not get distracted by endless tangents. As I indicated on the home page, I like to think of my photography as colorful, inquisitive, and cheerful. I try to maintain that perspective as a guiding philosophy in all my work.
Thanks for stopping by, and for taking a look. Use the contact page to send me an email and let me know what you think. (Or ask to be notified about new images on the site.)
Fort Myers, Florida