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Smile for the camera….

I’m on my 5th SLR camera now. Add that to a few point-and-shoots and my dad’s Argus rangefinder cameras and it’s quite a collection.

Digital is great. I shoot a Canon 5D Mark III most of the time – but there’s still something special about the look and artistry of film.

I’ll set the stage: this all started by the time I was age 10. The first camera I owned was an old Instamatic-type camera (it’s in a box somewhere…). It was my own – a Christmas gift one year. All I really could afford at first was B&W film. Though I scraped up allowance to be able to buy color film. My first color roll was bought with Christmas money from the Adams Drugs across from my grandparent’s house.

But that wasn’t really the start of it. I used Mom’s old 620-based camera a few times and one of my dad’s cameras several times. And that continued even after I had my own.

My dad had 2 Argus C3s and a Bell and Howell 8 MM movie camera. And a variety of accessories. I learned later that he bought the Argus’ in the ’40’s when he was in the Navy I’ve still got one (maybe both… ) of the Argus cameras. I don’t recall what happened to the Olympus OM-1 that he had in later years. The Argus’ holds a special place in my heart, even if I never shoot film with it again – a little restoration is probably needed.

He’d haul the cameras out at vacation and for the Holidays. It was always a treat to see them come out – klieg lights (well, as kids they were – really it was 4 bright floodlights) for the movie camera, and the old flash bulbs (the ones that go “pop”) for the stills. He mostly took pictures on Kodachrome, with the nice bright colors…, and sometimes Tri-X. We’d dress up after tearing into the gifts and for Thanksgiving, then pose for family photos. Those are treasure today.

Come to think of it, he also had a Polaroid – but as fast as those photos were, they weren’t nearly the quality of film. Nor did they last as long.

So that piqued my interest. I used their cameras a bit, then moved on with my own. First the 126 camera, then I saved up from my part-time job to buy a Minolta SLR in high school (still have it…). A Canon EOS-3 replaced it some time later, followed by 3 levels of Canon DSLRs to where I am now. I use the EOS-3 for those occasions I want to shoot film these days. I use the 7D for things like shooting the eclipse where a slight mistake will damage the camera. And I use the 5D for most everything else. I tried the video thing – I’ve still got an 8 MM video camera, but if I shoot it now, it’s brief projects and the DSLR does a great job.

I’m slowly adding photos to a gallery hosted at photos.commbiz.com – a few galleries now, more to come. The digital ones will come first, though some of my scanned negatives really are more compelling. Most are from travel….

A few years ago, I discovered a treasure-trove of old photos my dad had taken back in the ’40’s, 50’s and 60’s that we never knew about as kids. We used some of them to help him after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (a dreadful disease), but finding them spawned a project that I’m undertaking. More on that in a later post.

Enough for now, the stories will continue very soon, I promise.

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