Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery

I'm not a real Cowboy, but I play one in the movies.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Old Friends

I got interested in photography as a wee lad when Grandma gave me a book on the subject. It was all theoretical knowledge until high school, when a Journalism class assignment gave me an excuse to borrow Mom's ancient Brownie Hawkeye to make a photo journal of the notable buildings in my home town. After that, Dad lent me his Olympus Pen EE for recreational shooting during school field trips and Explorer Post events. That's when I learned the dangers of the little half-frame camera; it went twice as far on a normal roll of film, but that meant there were twice as many prints to pay for! Goodness, you should see the stack of boring pics I took of the many buildings and monuments at West Point.

Dad lent me the Oly to take with me to USAF tech school, but the limitations of the little camera conflicted with my increased experience and motivation to take better pictures. When I got to Korea 30 years ago (oh, jeez, am I that old?), I bought an Asahi Pentax K1000, flash, and a few lenses for the totally manual camera. If I wasn't a total shutterbug by then, I was in deep now. When I wasn't being a flash pest at flight or squadron social functions, I was haunting the flightline and glide path of the air base with my telephoto mounted. Before long, I got a remote cable and tripod -- years later I found myself chasing a thunderstorm through Bavaria trying to capture some lightning strikes. Korea wasn't very conducive to Big Lightning.

A few Korean tours later, I left the K1000 behind and moved up to the Pentax ME Super, with some automatic features. It served me exceptionally well for a decade until the first digital cameras came out. I still used the Super once in a while, but since then, I burned through an Epson, Panasonic, and a Canon PowerShot (on my 2nd now). The cheapie digitals worked for what I needed -- social snapshots and some occasional scenery.

Looked way up in the closet this week and took notice of the pair of old friends who've been gathering dust for a decade or two. I wonder what's on that roll of film I found in the Super? I've never been a real photographer like Les Jones, DaGoddess, or Robert Langham; just a journeyman snap-shooter who's gravitated to video over the still stuff. Now that I'm (re)learning about lighting and such, wouldn't it be cool to dust off these relics and take some cool pics... without falling for the temptation of getting a high-end Canon or Nikon (which would require me to get gainfully employed)? This pic is actually a screen shot from my Flip video cam because I left my PowerShot up in Phoenix last weekend. Lit by a Lowell "Pepper" 100W movie light as a key; the room light was utterly insufficient as a fill light, but I was too lazy to set up a second stand. Looks like I answered my own question... I'm probably too lazy for film photography again.



  • At 4:35 PM, Blogger Sigivald said…

    A used K100D or K110D would be reasonably inexpensive, and let you use those lenses.

  • At 3:57 PM, Anonymous ExurbanKevin said…

    I started out on a KX, went to an ME Super and then switched to Nikons for my pro career, but my favourite camera was (and is) the Olympus XA. Great lens, compact size, just enough controls to give you the tools you need but not enough to make it complicated.

    Now 99% of the shots I take are done with the 5mp camera in my iPhone.

    What's te best camera for you? The one you have with you when you need to take a picture.

  • At 1:29 PM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said…

    Neat cameras. There's just a certain ambiance about old photo gear.



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