Archive for February 15th, 2011

The first frame

This week, I rekindled several very old friendships.  I was on the phone with two old college pals named Rick, and I put a roll of film through a camera.  The camera part of this needs some explaining…

In 1971, I was a geeky high school kid with no artistic or athletic abilities.  I had a beginning interest in photography and earned a few hundred bucks and found a used Nikon F, the ultimate press camera of the time.  I added a few more bucks and found a used copy of the widest angle lens Nikon made, a 20mm f3.5 masterpiece of glass and brass…  Imagine a square edged brick with an exposure needle and a shutter release.  An ergonomic nightmare.  I loved it for what the lens could do – it helped me see artistically.  My first big photo trip was to Chicago on a field trip, and I still remember how on fire I was to take photos. Of everything.  The challenge was that the lens meant I had to work within 2 feet of most subjects – an issue when working with strangers in a big city.

The old Nikon was on the shelf for the last 20 years, abandoned as I moved up through the ranks – F2, n90, d70, d90. 

When Barbara said she wanted to go to Chicago for our anniversary trip, my chats with old friends resonated with the memories of that early photo trip.  On the way out the door, I grabbed the original Nikon off the shelf.  I rummaged and found one roll of film in an old camera bag, and felt the old reflexes take over.  Pull the back off, pull the film leader out, thread the slot, fire a shot and wind it.  Just like riding a bicycle – you never forget.  Felt good.

The first photo was of my dad at lunch that day.  When I set the exposure, focused and fired, it felt odd.  So mechanical in a digital world.  No indication of what the photo was, except for a memory of what I saw in the viewfinder.

On to Chicago.  When we walked the streets, I was back in photography mode.

Frame 2


The shops, the skies, the theater.  It was a challenge because I had forgotten how tough it is to fly blind with film – no feedback from a digital screen.

Chicago Theater

With only 24 shots, no overshooting.  More often than not, I looked, composed, set the exposure, then did not shoot – I waited for the good ones.  Again, very different from the digital photo experience.

The trip was over – and I ran to the local CVS for processing. Want to see what I got?   The results are here.

I will be doing this again.

You can never go home again – Thomas Wolfe.  (…but you can rekindle an old passion with the right camera and lens)

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