The 1970’s: Raw Images

Over the years, I progressed to shooting 35mm with a Taron film camera inherited from my father. Taron’s were made by a Japanese company, starting in 1940, during World War II. It was a fixed-lens rangefinder, and so your options were limited. My dad’s model was probably made in the early 60’s.

Road Trip to Arizona – 1975. On a month long college travel/study trip to Arizona and Mexico in 1975, I took a number of photos at the Grand Canyon, in the Sonoran Desert, and Guaymas, Mexico. Unfortunately, when we were in Winslow, Arizona I did not get a selfie-group photo of three of us standing on Route 66 near Williamson singing the Eagles “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…” but we were definitely there.

My shooting technique was raw as it gets – minimal composition skills, no understanding of light, the photographic triad, film characteristics…I do remember taking some decent photos of the saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert, near Tuscon.

1979. Then, in early 1979, I made my first strategic camera purchase: a Nikon FM. I also purchased several additional lenses to supplement the 50mm kit lens including a wide angle and a zoom telephoto. Soon after, during the summer of 1979, I made another epic trip across the country by car, visiting many national parks – including a few that I visited in 1964. The trip was memorable because the second gas crisis was going on, a deer crashed into our tent at night (at Yellowstone) and to boot, the car had a series of mechanical issues. These things happen when you travel 14,000 miles. But I did take some decent photos – my skill was gradually improving.

Most of my photos from that 1979 trip were slides. I still have the camera and for the fun of it, I experiment with the F Bayonet Mount manual-focus lenses on my Nikon digital cameras. Film seemed so long ago now that we are in the Digital Age, although I confess that I keep a couple of rolls of Kodachrome and Ektachrome, long expired, in my photographic supply room as mementos.

Next Page: The 1980’s