Don Conrard is a Seattle-based photographer specializing in black & white street, documentary, fine art and travel photography. He is the retired staff photographer for Alaska Airlines.
His interest in photography began in 1960 when his parents gave him an Imperial Mark 27 roll-film camera (photo below) they received for subscribing to the local newspaper in Seattle. The camera, which he still owns, features a plastic lens, two shutter speeds (one for black & white film, the other for color), and a flash bulb holder.
Don cut his photographic teeth working on school newspapers in junior high, high school and college. The latter as photo editor of the twice weekly Spectator at Seattle University.
While working on school papers Don developed an interest in photojournalism and street photography. After graduation, he studied with Ansel Adams during what he calls his "large format landscape phase," but quickly returned to social documentary-type photography.
Don's began his career writing and editing a bi-monthly employee magazine for Safeway Stores. He also completed other writing and photographic assignments for the Oakland-based grocery chain.
In 1987, Don joined Alaska Airlines. As the airline's manager of corporate communications he worked on the employee newspaper and website. This was in addition to other writing and photographic assignments.
Over the years, Don's writing, editing and photography have won numerous awards.
Working for an airline gave Don the opportunity to travel extensively in Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii and the US mainland. He also has traveled to more than 70 countries on five continents.
In retirement, he continues to prowl city streets and back alley's capturing life as it happens with 35mm film and DSLR cameras.
In my camera bag
I most often shoot with a pair of Nikon D610 cameras, generally fitted with 35mm and 85mm lenses.
I also use a Fuji X100F digital camera for candid street photography.
Gathering dust in a closet are an assortment of Nikon, Hasselblad, Pentax and Mamiya film cameras that I no longer use. A Horseman 4X5 view camera and Schneider lenses round out my pre-digital equipment.
Working for an airline I frequently traveled by air. This forced me to keep my camera bag as light as possible. Not easy given the size and weight of today's motor-driven wonder cameras and high-speed zoom lenses. Fortunately, the type of street and travel photography I do now doesn’t require long lenses, tripods or cases full of lighting equipment.
Below are the current contents of my Domke J-1 camera bag.
Fujifilm X100F (for street photography)
Two Nikon D610 camera bodies
Nikkor 35mm f/1,8 G lens
Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G lens
Nikkor 85mm f1.8 G lens
B+W skylight filter for each lens
Medium yellow filter for each lens (when shooting film)
Micro fiber cleaning cloth
Large plastic grocery bag (In case I get caught in the rain)
AA Lithium batteries
Small spiral notebook