You know – if you get lemons, you make…. Peering into the picture not many viewers are particularly interested – I daresay, none – to see two Nikon slide scanners. It’s not a good pic. One is lying on its side and the other is upright with a bulk loader, Oh boy! We’re going downhill and losing audience fast! My spiffy loader was making more noise than a blender on “smoothie” setting. It’s ok for a smoothie but for hours on end… even my cat objected. I started with one scanner and one bulk loader. One bulk loader failed – noisy. So I bid on eBay and won another scanner and bulk loader. Bidding is brutal. These things are in demand! I intended to ditch/sell the scanner but…. two scanners scan faster than one. I eventually bid on another bulk loader and won. Now I had two complete scanning systems with two laptops running simultaneously. You can see the new battery box in the background. That battery change meant following 99 steps. Amazing in itself, that darn thing turned on and worked – not quite right, but eventually. I’m pretty pleased. It saved me a lot of time. Hey! I’m retired. But, I was saved a lot of time. I did waste a lot of time getting to be efficient. Alas, I will promptly have forgotten when and if I ever scan again.
So, why photography? Technical? Science? Documentation and photojournalism. I was struck by the desire to document life in my family. I was not too good at doing so. I have sporadic pictures from my own childhood. My kids have a fairly comprehensive documentation of theirs. I hope they will document their own families. I was pretty good doing their childhood. I got a whole lot better. Lately, I’m the one who shoots the family photos at gatherings. I can’t be everywhere. And I still see lots of mediocre shots get passed around. Hell, I take a great number of them myself. But when I’m good, I am. And there are shots for the ages in and among my work. I’m better than I was and not as good as I will be someday.
The first camera I used was an Argus C3. Not a single useable picture resulted. The first camera I owned was a Kodak Instamatic 100. Yup, the first Instamatic model. It was pretty foolproof. Almost, not quite. The next real camera came in my freshman year of college – an Exakta. I lusted for a Nikon but settled on the Exakta at the recommendation of Chih Ming Pang (a long story). My Nikon was the FTn. Great camera, I was off into photography. SLR cameras dominated from then on. I made my way up the Nikon line buying as they improved. The biggest difference in a better camera – a higher percentage of usable pictures. The subject was exposed properly and in focus. This was a long long way from usable photography. I shot parsimoniously. Film was expensive as was developing. I eventually took about 40 rolls on a two-week trip. 1440 slides. I can shoot over 1000 digital images in a day. Needless to say, my development (photo education) was quite limited until digital came along. I’m still evolving and reinventing myself. Techniques don’t change that much. But for the first-time cameras are beginning to be able to keep up with my vision. Not always but more and more. I can shoot the moon and I can almost shoot the stars. I would have been pretty impossible for me to shoot the stars with film. Photography is only about 200 years old. We are a long way from box cameras.
What have I missed? I don’t have any of the Instamatic pictures. I have but don’t have access to the black and white negatives I shot and developed. Otherwise, the database I maintain dates to the ’70’s. The pictures of first twenty years of my life are scattered all around. I can lay my hands on about one early Christmas picture of me. As to my kids, their birth to present day is on my hard drives. I confess that tracking down everything is near to impossible.