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 Old Route 66 and Williamson Avenue singing the Eagles epic verse “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 exposure triad and film characteristics. Polarizing filters? What are they? With that, I did compose some decent photos of the saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert, near Tucson. I think the cacti felt sorry for me.

Cross Country II – 1979. In early 1979, I made my first strategic camera body purchase: a Nikon FM. I also purchased several additional lenses to supplement the 50mm kit lens including a wide angle and a zoom telephoto. Money was tight – so it was just the basics and they were all manual focus – autofocus was still in its infancy.

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. Fortunately, the camera stayed intact.

North Window, Arches National Park, 1979

But I did take some decent photos – my skill was gradually improving. Most of my photos from that 1979 trip were slides. Sorry to say, I sold my old FM several years ago to a novice photographer. I still have most of my original F-Bayonet Mount manual-focus lenses; I experiment with them on my Nikon digital cameras. Film seemed so long ago now that we are in the Digital Image 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