My photography story ... and cameras

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

In 1969, our family made a trip to some places on the western coast and that was the first time we were going like that and that too in a hired car. My maternal uncle had a little box camera with him [he was not interested in photography, and I don't know how it came to him]. It used the old photographic (red/black) paper rolls for taking snaps. Just 12 in a roll. I was 11 when I was handed this camera on the tour to take a snap here and there - I still preserve those b&w pics from that tour from one or two rolls - expensive, so only two. I'll post them a bit later in this thread. He had given us the camera for the trip and later he allowed us to keep. We exposed just a few rolls as time rolled by because cost was unaffordable for us. It had to be outdoors only.

This is the one on the left in this picture. Ansco Pioneer. The one on the right is an Agfa "Synchro Box". This is not ours. Some friend gave it to me a few years back as they did not need it anymore. This was when such paper rolls were extinct! So it is just lying with me as an antique. It's shutter mechanism is beautiful!

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Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

For a religious function celebrated at home in 1970, we had bought a box camera [no idea now which it was] for that occasion as a gift. But it worked only outdoors! The function was indoors. We had all lights on to aid, but when the rolls were exposed after the event, none of them "came". The only pic existing with us to record the event was one taken by an uncle who had returned from US from his research trip with his camera. Many years later, after we exposed a few rolls, I gave it to a friend as I did not need it much. His mother unknowingly gave it away to someone after some years. She honestly told me what had happened. But in return, she gave me her son's old camera which he had thrown as he did not need it because it was faulty. I took it and after much research, exposing a couple of b&w rolls, I found a mechanical problem in it and repaired it myself using some things including a little spring from my junkbox! It worked! I was not happy with the focussing and I spent hours standardizing it and was successful to match the one on the dial with the actual distance using a brightened object and a measured distance while adjusting the focus and then fixing it. It was a lot of work! Now I needed a flash which another friend did not need - and he was my teammate in another city. He left for the US for greener pastures and he passed it on to me through his colleague. I used it after getting it repaired and it worked well for some time but the contacts were loose and I had to find it out where it got 'short circuted'. There is a story of this which I have mentioned in a thread where I have posted my published articles in the paper. Will link that here later.

This is the one

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Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

The digital era arrives.

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Morpeth, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

How fascinating! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story :)

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

From my memory, I must consider this as my first ever picture. It was that Ansco Pioneer in 1969 during the tourI mentioned above. My late cousin [seen extreme right] guided me how to hold and click - I think so. Very vague memory on that. It is on the beach at Gokarna and that is the Arabian Sea. It was a long journey and we had stopped by so many places in the Western Ghats where I had seen for the first time, thousands of butterflies in one flock! It was a memorable trip, that car driver had become our good friend who was happy to hire his car on a few subsequent trips for short distances as well. My mother is there in this picture curiously looking at me.

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Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

Here is the article published about my drama as a photographer at my SIL's wedding.

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Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

That last article is great! I know that at the time it was not funny but looking back it is hillarious. Both cameras and the photographer have come a long way since that wedding.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

You are right Zany, it was a serious excercise but I was caught doing, but the camera caught me unawares! And you may be right on the second point too as that happened in 1993 and a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then.

Like a know-all, I loaded that film roll in that borrowed camera which was the first auto cam I was handling (simple operations) but a simple error on my part in not consulting others was what led to that funny situation. Luckily they were not dependent on my pics!

I exposed a couple of rolls from that 1970 box camera (the one my friend's mother gave it away) in 1973-74. I loved looking through that big square viewfinder, camera held in front of my chest. I loved lenses somehow.

Around 1971-72 I had pestered my father to buy me a film movie projector which was a handmade model available for Rupees 25. This was a big sum in those days and with great difficulty I got the money and bought one. It worked on an electric bulb and had a hand wound spool movement {understand what I mean to say?}. There were those junk film rolls available in the market and they were used for this toy! I still have that roll in the junk yard! I used to invite kids from the neighbourhood for my film show on our wall. Then I remember how we used to roll back those "spent film" from the ground {no auto wind}. It was fun though. I later dismantled the wooden projector and got three lenses from it.. which I still use for my "zoom shots"! The FZ8 might put them back in the box!

Dinu

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Dinu, your article made me laugh because it hit home for me. Years ago, probably in 1993 or 1994, Howie and I went to a local festival. It was the Paul Bunyan Show, sponsored by the Ohio Forestry Association and highlighting lumberjack competitions and other forestry-related tools and industries. Anyway, I happily snapped pictures with my 35mm all day long. It was only as we neared the car at the end of the day that I realized I had NO FILM IN THE CAMERA! The indicator had been changing all the day, making me think frames had advanced. Howie burst out laughing, not the most sensitive thing. LOL I still have beautiful mental images from that day, but absolutely no way to share them.

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

Dinu and Gardenwife, some images need no film and you just shared mental images of yourselves standing there with a look of disbelief on your faces as you realize what had happened that is priceless!

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Oh, yes, I suppose those images surpass any we could have captured had we been in our right minds. ;)

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

In my case also, I was seeing the indicator wheel rotate as the next "film" advanced!

Zany, well said! These mental images are even more priceless, because I realized the folly and even enjoyed it! I enjoyed because they were not dependent on my shots.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

I must now add that a Sony W150 arrived last year August.

Perth, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

I've still got my Dads old Zeiss camera from the 1960's, it sticks on some of the slower shutter speeds but about 1/60th second and above still takes great pictures. I used to have a Nikon F3 camera but sold it a couple of years ago as I just didn't use it anymore after getting a digital camera. Its slightly shocking how quickly the demise of film cameras has come about (if you think back to the 80's it seemed film cameras would be around forever), just 10 years ago digital was still one of those new fangled technologies that many photographers (including me) scoffed at but theres no getting away from it these days unless you're a real diehard devotee of film cameras. But I think film cameras are outdated these days, a site such as Daves Garden could hardly exist without the convenience of uploading digital images, the whole point of pictures is showing them to other people and digital photography (combined with the internet) has increased the ability to do this immensely.

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Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

How nice DMersh! Film cameras are already into museums. No one imagined they would be sidelined so quickly. I had forgot to mention that I had bought a Canon Prima Zoom 76 only 9 years ago for a good price, but I took only 8-10 rolls of film from it when digital cameras arrived - even to me! It is now sitting idle, with me knowing not what to do with it!

Pensacola, FL

Its so funny because I learned how to take pictures on my Dad's Leica IIIc that he bought in Italy after WWII when he was in the service. Its funny because I used it up to my teens and I had to hand cut the film leaders because they changed the way film is made since that camera came out. It is completely mechanical - no batteries. It taught me a lot about photography. It still works beautifully today and I still have it and a number of the lens, lightmeters, and Leica fittings that go with it. Even all the original cases and straps. Somebody broke into our car one time on vacation and the idiots stole everything we had with us including our library books. Everything except that camera - they must have thought because it was old it was nothing... That was actually the most valuable thing in the car... Now of course I have "moved up" and have a bunch of the various iterations of the digital Canon 1D pro line cameras, and a bunch of L lens, but gosh I still love that old Leica ...

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

http://mysoreanmusings.blogspot.com/2009/12/worlds-first-photograph-and-our-oldest.html
I am linking my blogpost here.

Another here: http://mysoreanmusings.blogspot.com/2009/09/photo-studios-and-old-photographs.html

I thought this might interest you and others too.

I must now add that there is a Canon 550d which came last month - my DD is bitten by the shutterbug. She has a lot on facebook - me too. Here is a shot from it - just trying out how it focuses as it was the first time I was having a DSLR in my hand.

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Oostburg, WI(Zone 5b)

Fun thread and beautiful shot there, dinu.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

kooger, thanks, but did you get to see my two blogposts linked there? If not, they might be interesting too.

Just 11 years ago I had bought a Canon film camera. I hadn't used it much, but in 3-4 years digital cameras arrived! Now it lying idle having no resale value!

Oostburg, WI(Zone 5b)

I read one of your blogs fairly regularly for awhile but have not recently. I'll do that again as I did so enjoy them! :) Your doorstop is on my 'bucket' list of places to visit before I go .... :)

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

Am so delighted to know that kooger. Will wait for your response - there are a few new posts too.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

The Sony W150 served me for two years. Now it is not switching on, despite a full charge battery. What could be wrong?

Ellendale, DE(Zone 7a)

Hello. I visited Dinu's blogs and found myself caught up in the stories, wow! What a slice of history presented in such a sweet manner. I, too, am amazed at just how quickly we had to put our film cameras away and embrace digital photography.

Nevertheless, there seems to be a market for "retro" cameras which will only increase with time, I believe. And there are still folks who continue to shoot with film. I am not sure how available film prints are for the consumer market, but I aim to find out.

Adorama.com has a place to list your old camera gear; they will assess the value and offer you a price if you want to dump off your old stuff.(http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?op=Used).

I am not sure how well you would be compensated for your gear since I have not personally tried that, but is is available to the public. Nice site, too.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

timmijo,
Thanks for the appreciation of my blog. I just added one more story just now, to it.
I'll peek into the link you have given. The info. you have provided can be useful to many. Let me see.
I read about a certain camera collector here in Chennai, India. It was in our newspaper - a feature article some years ago.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

http://aditidinakar.com/
Now, this has led to my DD starting her website. Photography has rubbed on to her. I'm happy to link it here. DG has an indirect role, but a direct role in my 'gardening story' which is here in my new blog: http://dinusyarden.blogspot.in/

Dinu

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

My newest pocket camera is a Lumix XS1. Compact. A friend who was coming down from CO to Mysore offered to bring for me anything and I chose this. It cost $90 on Amazon. That Sony W120 has become useless. I still have its battery in good condition - what to do with this? Also the memory stick.

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Oostburg, WI(Zone 5b)

I have a Panasonic camera also. Mine is about 6 years old and is about the same height as your camera but thicker. You have more zoom, also. Are you using this camera primarily for plant photography or everything?

Ellendale, DE(Zone 7a)

Hey there, Dinu.

I briefly went to both of those links and made a mental note to go back and spend time enjoying them soon. Your lady takes lovely pictures.

Me, I feel like I jumped on the DSLR wagon late in life (I am 53) while everyone else is using smart phone cameras and pocket cameras.

Even though I am approaching (or even IN) middle age, I am fascinated with my DSLR, a Pentax K-r, my first ever interchangeable lens digital camera.

Sure, it's a lot of heft to carry a camera and lenses around, but the end result is worth the work. By the way, even though this is the digital age, I am shooting manually on my DSLR whenever possible. I even use old film Pentax lenses on my modern DSLR.

I currently study photography on my own time by looking up information on-line and by going out and shooting events and everything else I can think of.

Thanks for posting, and be sure to catch my article when it goes to press here on Dave's Garden; it's about macro photography. Your lady might be interested. (What does DD mean?)

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

I have my now favourite Lumix FZ8. Thaks timmijo. DD = dear daughter. She is the one who is into photography. She has already covered about 10 weddings now and she likes candid shots which is getting good response. I'm also not fully familiar with the DSLR - my DD's, though I take many pictures with them if it is on hand. It takes good pictures also from its various lens attachments. I'm two years older to you and still learning. It's a continuous process!! :) Age is just some number we only count!! Right? So let's enjoy learning when we can!

Do prompt me when your article is up [macro]. I may sometimes miss the alerts I get on the homepage.

Best wishes.
Dinu

kooger,
I use mostly the FZ8 for my pictures. The new compact is supposed to go around with me in the shirt pocket to shoot anything that I may see interesting. Sometimes I'm lazy to take it out and sometimes I even forget I have a camera! This sounds strange, but it happens to me. I don't carry this FZ8 all the time.

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