Category Archives: photography

A personal photographic evolution

A bost tied to a street sign on the Rhine River at Mainz when the Rhine flooded in 1980.

A bost tied to a street sign on the Rhine River at Mainz when the Rhine flooded in 1980.

Photography quickly became a passion when I got my first SLR camera in 1979. Prior to that I was using a Kodak Pocket Instamatic I got when I was in high school. When I joined the US Air Force that was the only camera that came with me.

My first camera — a Kodak Pocket Instamatic that went with me everywhere.

My first camera — a Kodak Pocket Instamatic that went with me everywhere.

My first camera — a Kodak Pocket Instamatic that went with me everywhere.For years, while living outside of Madrid, this was the only camera I had. I took it with me everywhere. When I moved to Germany (still known as West Germany in 1979 when I got there), I went on a trip to Paris. I was so disappointed with my photographs I realized it was time to upgrade. I got my first Olympus 35mm SLR and started out by getting a zoom lens.

Two vintage Kodak cameras using 620 film. They had a place in my camera bag for years.

Two vintage Kodak cameras using 620 film. They had a place in my camera bag for years.

Before long I had camera gear to fill two bags. I had two Olympus SLRs — one always had black and white film and they other had color, usually Kodak Ektachrome slide film. I liked the rich color from slide film. For black and white I would always carry PlusX and TriX. I liked the high contrast of the TriX and found it was the film I used most when experimenting.

My camera bag quickly got full as I added other lens, flashes, motor drives, rolls of film, and batteries. Lots of batteries. Then I started working with various filters. I would carry Vaseline in case I wanted to smear my filters to create effects. Then there were tripods big and small. When I would go hiking or camping I had to leave room for 20 pounds of camera gear.

A fountaining in Saarbrucken, Germany.

A fountaining in Saarbrucken, Germany. Using Kodak PlusX.

Around this time I got two of my mother’s old Kodak cameras. A Kodak Brownie was one of the first mass produced consumer cameras. One used Kodak Brownie and the other a Kodak Dualflex. They both used 620 film. Finding film for these cameras was never easy, even back in the 70s. When I started to use them I found out how to use light leaks creatively.

Then there was the darkroom. Being stationed in Germany meant I had access to a darkroom. It seems some days I would live there — always experimenting with new techniques to help me achieve a new look. Oftentimes, I wanted to achieve an old look. The old film styles from generations ago has always held an appeal. Using the old Kodak cameras helped me get close to achieving this style.

The same photo altered in the darkroom using a Kodalith process.

The same photo altered in the darkroom using a Kodalith process.

Photography was always a hobby for me — a creative output. While in Germany I gave a still life I took to a friend. He framed it and sold it at a garage sale. Said he got $10 for it. What I thought was someone actually paid money for a picture of mine. I decided then I would become a professional photographer.

Fast forward a few years, I’m out of the Air Force, working in motion picture production, taking stills as well, and now my hobby became my profession. Everything changed. I lost track of the enjoyment of my hobby and started running a business.

Then I got my iPhone.