Monday, June 22, 2015

Interest in photography

I don't remember ever taking a picture before 1971. The cameras I'd seen were point and shoot and you had to wait until the entire roll was taken before developing the film. Had I paused to consider the magic of photography it might have occurred to me that being able to take decent pictures would have been handy, but it wasn't my time.

Then when I was at Fort Monmouth in July of 1971, my friend Kirk Trachy was learning about photography. He had a Pentax as I recall and after taking pictures one afternoon, I went with him to the photographic darkroom on the base and watched in fascination under the amber safelight as the images began fading to life from a blank white sheet of paper.

The Army paid slave wages for the first several month but then things changed and I got a decent raise. I still couldn't afford an expensive camera, but owning a nice camera made it onto my wishlist.

As it turns out, most of the people in my communications training class all went to Central America together.

Soon after arriving in Panama, a group of us made our way to Panama City, Panama. I walked into a duty-free camera store and fell in love. On payday the following month, I took most of my money and bought a Canon FTb camera with a 1.2 lens. The camera in the U.S would have cost three times what it cost there.  I shot thousands of photographs while in the tropics, most of which were Ektachrome slides.

Yesterday I saw several emails from my old friend Kirk. When I looked at them, he apparently had discovered a cache of pictures that he'd taken during those days in Panama.

The picture here was taken on the breaker wall which separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Bay of Colón. I'm guessing I was about to snap a photograph of a seabird, or one of the exotic fish that lived in the bay.

It's been a while since my waist was thin and my hair was thick.


  1. Oh I remember those days of the camera and the rolls of film. How many pictures were botched due to a thumb in front or a head cut off. You seem to have a better camera in this picture than I ever did

  2. My sister-in-law was famous for the finger in front of the lens when she took pictures. I was one of those who jerked the whole camera down as I pressed on the button to take the picture. I have no talent for picture taking.

  3. I'm a terrible photographer but I dd enjoy working in a darkroom back in the day.

  4. Ah, yes, it's fun to find those old pictures, isn't it! I am so fortunate to have had a Dad who began his photography career for his Dad's newspaper when my Dad was just a child. At the age of 6 in 1910, my Dad accompanied my grandfather to "photo shoots" (town events, funerals, family portraits, etc.) His love for photography and his willingness to share his knowledge only ended when he died in 1998. I believe I had a camera in my hands soon after I was born, but my best pictures started in the late 80's when I received a Canon A-1 as a gift from Dad.

  5. You were trim but that's youth. Or maybe it "was" youth. No heavy kids when I was young but there are plenty of overweight kids now. And look at the way you were squatting with ease.
    I used to have a B/W darkroom too but that went when digital came on the scene.

  6. The digital camera brought a huge influx of pictures into my life. I never took that many before, it was expensive.

  7. My Dad loved photography and we had a dark room in a closet under the livingroom stairs. He had a really nice 35mm he took to Europe when he and Mom went for their 25th anniversary. Most of his shots were on slides and we still get a kick out of seeing those! I love the old black and cool. I enjoy photography you can tell by all my pics on my blog..but they are hit and miss OK..but I still have a good time with a camera. Love the shot of you! I hate when the hair and the waistline do a switcheroo!

  8. Anonymous1:21 PM

    I would not have recognized you!!

  9. At our 40th anniversary party, our nieces and nephews looked at our wedding photos. "You were hot, Aunt Sue!" and "You were skinny, Uncle John!" 1972--sigh.

    You discovered photography early and had a wonderful camera!

  10. Boy, do you ever looks skinny on this photo Rick...I can tell that your Mama wasn't feeding you back then and that you must have been spending most of your money on that camera and films and not on food.

    My uncle had a photographing studio and dark room but I never went in his dark room.

    I got my first Fuji digital camera maybe about 10 years ago and then I got a Canon Rebel T1i with a zoom lens but not much time to use it.


  11. I like the entry. Funny we all used to have hair. CAmera's have fascinated me, enough to buy a good NIkon and several lens. But I never learned how to use it properly. I wanted to get pictures of the boys moto cross and I did, not always good.

    You do well, but I know to get a good shot, takes a little planning, I was always a point and shoot. That is one of those things where I don't know how, but I sure can recognize a great picture. LOL
    The development of film intrigued me, but not enough to learn that either.

  12. I am always told that I suck at taking photos but I do try


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required