I was given, or stole from my sisters, a Kodak Brownie Holiday camera in my higher elementary school years. That little brown plastic box, with the button on top, gave me instant memories from the drug store processed photographs.
In junior high I was given my great uncles Kodak 35 range finder camera that I used black and white Kodak Plus-X film in, photographing the military aircraft at Moffett Field during the annual Armed Forces Day. I used that camera throughout junior high and high school photographing more aircraft along with family vacations. I got pretty good at guessing the exposure using the Plus-X slip go paper that came with every box of Kodak film.
In 1966 Minolta came out with their new SR-T 101 with TTL (through-the-lens metering) and of course I had to have one. The next few years I added an SR-T 102 and various lenses. This setup I used throughout college. Of course I took every photography course the college offered with a few art classes thrown in. No, my major was not photography… After college I continued to use my Minolta SR-T’s, then in 1977 Minolta introduced the XD-11 (programed shutter) camera and again, I had to have one. In 1981 Minolta introduced the popular X-700 camera and I added this new camera to my camera bag. The Minolta Maxxum followed in 1985 which was the first auto focus camera with the motor inside the body. Yes, I had to have one of these too. After a couple more years I felt that Minolta was not going in the pro camera direction like Canon and Nikon, so I switched over to Canon with a pair of Canon T90’s and never looked back…
In the above time frame I got more serious about my photography moving into a Mamiya 645 medium format system and a Toyo field 4×5 view camera. The Mamiya 645 system I used for wedding photography for 3 or 4 years and the Toyo field camera for my serious field photography. My Canon T90’s still went with me no matter what I was photographing as back-up. I was also doing some teaching at a local camera store off hours which I enjoyed, always eager to help someone out. My slides and prints were mailed all over the world to different slide and print competitions and did pretty well against other photographers.
Towards the last half of the 1980’s my regular Silicon Valley job took over and my photography became more of an event somewhere instead of a creative goal. This sounds kind of sudden doesn’t it, but it did come up on me gradually. I did get a Kodak digital camera, a DC265 as my first digital camera that I used on vacations with pretty good results at the time. Then came a Canon Rebel XT that I could use my Canon film lenses on and finally a little Olympus Stylus 500 for a point and shoot eBay camera.
Before you knew it 2008 came around and in December I got laid off, merry Christmas. So, what did I do you ask? I got married to a wonderful understanding women within two weeks of being let go. I decided to retire at about that point as I didn’t want to look for a non-existent job with thousands of other laid off workers. In June of 2009 I bought the new Canon 5D Mark II for my retirement and promptly put it in the closet still in it’s box. I guess for safe keeping. A little after a year of marriage, my wife in her wisdom, asked me if I wanted to take up photography again? I thought about it and this seemed like a great idea. Amazingly I couldn’t think of this myself. In February 2010 I took the 5D out of the box and again, never looked back. In September I did take a workshop and took a few great images just like I did when I used my film cameras, but had no idea what all those buttons on the camera did and what in the world was a digital darkroom. I still had my eye for good photographs but was embarrassed to ask the workshop leader what all these buttons were for.
Now it is 2017 and I know a lot more about this digital camera world and the digital darkroom, so, lets continue the journey…