Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Scanning The Family Photos and Observations Made Along The Way

Some projects have had to take a back seat - like blogging - while I continue to scan the family photos. Do you remember back in the day when there were no digital cameras? Some people can't imagine a time when their photo results meant waiting until an entire roll of film was exposed - because sometimes ya just took a shot or two and let the camera lay around for a while until the next photo opportunity (not 'photo op', that's not a term we used back then) came along. And then, because sometimes the price of developing film was expensive, you just waited until you had the money to take the roll in to get developed. I've noticed many a print that was dated much later than the event pictured:

This photo was taken at my sisters house on Christmas day 1969 but the print wasn't made until February 1970. No instant gratification in those days!

And how about cameras? Box cameras, compact cameras, 110mm, 35mm, 126mm, Polaroid. None of my family dared to invest the money in an expensive 35mm camera but we did have others. Perhaps they were intimidated or perhaps it was the cost. Many of the family photos are in the distinct square format of a 126mm type camera and Kodak made these popular gizmo's by the gazillions. 

Here's a scan of an old airline ticket holder I had from 1978 with an ad for a Kodak 110mm camera. I must've had several 110mm film cameras over the years and they were okay as a quick alternative when you didn't have film for the larger camera. Because 110 film was cheaper it was easier to have the 110 ready to go...

...but you were always at risk for cutting off your subject because the @#!^*%^ viewfinder was offset, never lining up with the thing you were taking pictures of. That always made the subject off-center! Even when you backed up it was hard to judge and sometimes, well, sometimes you get clipped wings as in this photo. 

And then there was the good ol' Polaroid
(This is my camera purchased in the mid-1970s. I started getting it ready to sell on fleaBay). 
Our family had a couple of Polaroids, the traditional type that required you to wait until peeling off the protective cover from the photo and you had better not handle the print until it was dry! But I opted for this and it was pretty cool. The instructions clearly stated you need not blow on the print or wave it in the air to dry it off. All the developing action was taking place under the clear plastic layer of the print and didn't require air drying. However....

....even on a nice bright, sunny day this was the best you could hope for.  Also, like the 126mm camera you were relegated to a square format print. Although highly innovative, it was a great gadget, but not a great camera..

1978 The coke ovens at Fayette, MI (Upper Peninsula)

...heaven forbid if the sun didn't come out! This was one of the last photos I ever took with my SX-70

A Canadian Pacific engine visiting Wisconsin from British Columbia, Canada
By 1978 I was really ready to step-up my photo game. I started traveling more and more and then joined the Air Force later that year. Knowing that 110's and Polaroid's just wouldn't cut it anymore I broke down and bought this Minolta XD-11, the world's first 'dual-mode' camera with both aperture priority and shutter priority. After reading the reviews at the time I decided to take the plunge:

Here's my XD-11 getting ready for sale on fleaBay (but not yet listed)
I had gone through several lenses, including a 400mm brute but I ended up with this Soligor 28mm-80mm telephoto lens as my all-round lens and it gave me lots of great shots

...and here are some of the first shots taken with the Minolta!

1978-07 Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill, Wisconsin

1978-07 Shawano Lake, Wisconsin

A big difference having a quality camera and lens can make! I'd like to post some more of my early photography efforts in the upcoming weeks just to take a break from toys. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina


  1. Great post guys. Its fascinating how you've chronicled your family snaps over the years using different cameras. I'm afraid I take all my pics on my mobile now!

    1. Thanx Woodsy! I made a joke previously on your blog that I have like a million pictures. Not quite. Right now I've only got about 220,000 photos saved in Amazon! Yup! I do take an occasional pic with my cell phone but I find it to be w-a-y to cumbersome: turn on phone, enter pin, try to find camera app, press on app icon and wait. When it decides to turn on make sure camera is pointing away from you not at you (unless doing a selfie of course), the 'click'. What a crock of s _ _ _! Nope, I'm sticking with regular cameras for 99.9999% of my work!