My Photo Story
I began my photographic hobby in 1964, when my grandmother gave me my Aunt Martha's old Kodak Bantam camera. This rangefinder camera uses 828-type roll film, and only takes 8 exposures. For the most part, I used Kodachrome II, which produced slides that were slightly larger than 35 mm, but still fit into 2x2 inch mounts.
I ran quite a few rolls of film through that camera in Wisconsin, then in Wyoming in the summer of 1965, and on through the summer of 1966. I quickly became jealous of my friend John Lorenz, who had an Olympus Pen EE, which was an interesting little half-frame 35-mm camera that produced almost 80 slides per roll of film (compared to my 8).
In 1966 I was hired by Bergman's Drug / Photo Store, where I had been an excellent customer, and started getting the dreaded employee discount on cameras, and bought first a Nikkorex F, then a used Nikon F, with various lenses up to 600 millimeters.
The Nikon F became my companion through my 6-1/2 year Air Force stint to Colorado, Delaware, British Columbia and North Dakota. The thing was seemingly bullet-proof, surviving numerous drops and salt-water splashings, and one time it slid the length of the cargo deck of an accelerating C-141 aircraft, hit the rear ramp, popped up into the air, then crashed back on the deck. A dent here and a scratch there, but it kept on ticking for another 15 years or so.
By the time I started to get involved in computers, I moved up to a Nikon FA, but all the while sticking primarily with Kodachrome. In 1990 I got the urge to convert my old slides to digital format, and started to play with scanners. At first, I had to be content to rent time on a slide scanner attached to a Mac Quadra at the Photographic Rental Service in Hollywood. Also at the PRS, I received a demonstration of the Kodak digital camera, which consisted of a Nikon F3 body with a CCD on the focal plane, connected to a shoulder-strap mounted hard drive (probably a couple hundred MB or so). The resolution was 1500 by 1000 or so, and the unit retailed for $24,000. We've come a long way, baby!
Finally, in 1995, I bought a Nikon Scantouch AX-1200 flat-bed scanner ($1100) and transparency adapter ($600). This gave me the versatility of flatbed scanning, up to 8-1/2 X 14 inches or scanning negatives or transparencies up to at least 4 X 5 inches. I have some old slides and negatives that are larger than 2 X 2 inches, so this feature is still essential to me, and means that I couldn't let go of this scanner for awhile.
In 1996 I took the digital camera plunge, but NOT $24K worth - I picked up the Epson PhotoPC camera with an extra 4 MB memory module, bringing the total memory to 5 MB. There was no LCD preview or on-board picture deletion. I had to hook the device up to a computer via a serial cable (slow!), and dump all the pictures into the computer at once. The maximum resolution was 640 X 480 pixels, which was OK for web work, but not for printing.
The year 1997 saw a new scanner, the HP PhotoSmart, which is a front-feed unit. It takes one 2x2 slide, or a strip of 4 35-mm negatives, or up to a 5x7 print. A lot easier to use, decent resolution.
At the end of 1999, an Olympus C2000Z digital camera came into the picture. Two mega-pixels, $700-plus, which dropped to $400 or so a month later when Olympus' 3 M-pixel unit hit the market. Oh, well... The resolution is 1600x1200, which is what I still have most of my home monitors displaying.
The Olympus served my needs for digital imagery for a couple years, augmented by the trusty old Nikon FA loaded with Kodachrome. But in January 2003, Kodak made a move that caused me to take another serious look at the digital state of the art. They quit developing Kodachrome in California, and all processing had to be sent to New Jersey, via the good old yellow mailer. Turn-around time, which had been a few days, changed to a few weeks.
February 26th, 2003 turned out to be a momentous day for me. I bought a Nikon D100 digital SLR from my local camera store, and got a great camera, and as it turned out, a new significant other in the process: the person who sold me the camera. But that, as "they" say, is another story.
With her, I "shot" weddings (!) and enjoyed them (!!!), and on my own, I've had my photos/images published in several books. The D100 had its second birthday in 2005, and wound up in the shop, having undergone fatigue after approximately 20,000 shutter clicks (the mirror box died). Not wanting to be without, I purchased a D70, which became my backup when the D100 came back.
In December of 2005, the significant other I mentioned left the picture. Alone again (naturally)...
I have added to my digital camera repertoire thrice more since the beginning of 2006. First, the Nikon D200, the the WATERPROOF Pentax Optio WPi, and finally (accidentally) a cell phone camera. The Pentax got its baptism under fire (er, water) recently on the rafting trip on the Grand Canyon. Even though it is a 6 Mega-pixel camera, it's no replacement for the Nikon 6 M-pix cameras. And even though I took 3 fully-charged batteries on the 8-day trip, the thing had run out of gas by the middle of the third day (and 500+ images). I used the Nikon D-70 for most of my photography, with no battery issues, and shot 1322 images. I also took a few shots with the camera phone, for novelty...
So, life and photography go on. I now am making a living as a photo-geologist or geo-photographer and mentor of same. I use my photographs in my renewed teaching career, including numerous images I've taken through the windows of commercial, military and private aircraft.
E-mail: photoguy AT philfarq.com