Old Cameras and A Reel Off
We are having a lot of fun with the NEW On the Rocks series and hope you are enjoying it too. We appreciate the encouraging comments and are working hard on a lot of ideas. I think you’ll enjoy this episode as we talk about the cameras of yesteryear. A lot of our audience will most likely remember the film days. When I started in photography, there was no such thing as auto-exposure or auto-focus. You had to match up a needle in the viewfinder window by varying f-stops or shutter speeds to get proper exposure. You had to do all this while actually focusing the camera. With experience, you could get to be very good at this.
My very first camera was an Argus C3. It was an ugly-looking square corner box with big dials, and in no way had any thought been given to it regarding ergonomics. I took many a fine image with this camera, and it is the camera that got me hooked on photography.
From there, I was given a Mamiya/Sekor 500DTL as a Christmas gift from my parents. This was the Christmas gift that changed everything. It was the camera that launched me into a career in photography. Like a good Marine is never without his rifle, I was never without my camera. The 500DTL had a screw mount for lenses, similar to the Pentax Spotmatic cameras of that era.
I soon saved enough money to purchase a 70-200mm Vivitar lens as well as a wide-angle lens. I started shooting photos of everything. My dad helped me set up a darkroom in a corner of the basement, and my parents’ nerdy son soon became a hermit, shooting pictures by day, developing at night. While my film dried, I did my homework. I knew at the very early age of 13 that I was going to be a photographer.
I soon had my first photo—of a high school tennis match—published in a newspaper. I still have that photo. I actually started to make money with my photography and was being paid by the newspaper in town for pictures they had published.
I kept taking pictures and making money and buying new gear. You know the routine. That part of photography hasn’t changed, as there is always something new to buy. It was the best time of my life.
In this episode, Jody, Phil and I get a chance to revisit and talk about some of the cameras from the true analog days. As always, we have fun doing this and share some of our own personal adventures about taking photos back in the day.
After seeing and working with these cameras, I am reminded of the fun I had shooting film. You thought in terms of 36 exposures. So different when compared to how we shoot today. I have made a mental note to borrow a few cameras and get back out and shoot with a film camera. In particular, I want to shoot some Polaroid SX70 pictures.
I hope you enjoy this episode of On the Rocks. We have even more fun on the next episode when we resurrect the Toy Shop. Stay tuned.