Allen, the photographer is on the left standing.
Both Mom and Dad’s side of the family had encouraged us in traveling and taking pictures. Granddad on Mom’s side of the family would talk about traveling and would get out his National Geographic magazines. We would imagine the wonder of traveling through those exotic areas and living in other cultures. At 12, I was allowed to go on a camping trip with my granddad, grandmother, aunt, uncle and older cousin Allen. Allen patiently allowed me to tag along with him as he took pictures of Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and all the places in between. He shared his enthusiasm of photography and cameras; I would sit down and watch him as he carefully changed the film in his camera. When we returned home and his slides were processed, he gave a wonderful slide show at one of our family get-togethers. Awesome! I was hooked.
Interest in cameras, photography and travel brochures became almost an obsession. Many hours were spent looking through camera catalogs in the sixties at all the products not then affordable. With the coming of the next Christmas came a 35mm camera with adjustable settings. That Christmas was right up there with the one when I was 9 and received a new shinny red & white Western Flyer bicycle. Today when looking on Ebay, restraint has to be used to keep from buying some of that stuff dreamed about in youth. Also Dad’s brother, Uncle Sam, would bring his cameras and slides and show them to us. Usually we would be outside at night as Uncle Sam would be showing slides in my granddads front yard. We had to be careful when rolling up the slide screen not to roll up any bugs inside the screen when finished. He had some very unusual and interesting cameras. Looking back now one thinks of how family influenced so many of our interest. Age is showing, as time goes by we seem to get more sentimental. You can ask Beth, in the past when you stuck a camera in my hands I turned into a monkey looking for the best angle, the best lens, and would be taking 3 pictures of a subject. With the taking of many pictures comes mistakes, failures, successes, and funny stories.
Before we went to Turkey one of the the hard lessons learned was the following: Be sure the film is attached securely to the takeup spool after changing the film. At the age of 14 on one of our family trips I took three 36 exposure rolls of slide film. Upon receiving them back from processing 2 rolls were returned unmounted. Unrolling the film it was obvious they had never been exposed. I had taken 2 rolls of film never noticing the take-up spool was not moving. In loading the film it was not attached properly, wasting all that effort to take pictures of the family while traveling. I think of that every time I load a roll of film. What a disappointment that was!
With the above information you can began to grasp the excitement and anticipation Beth and I felt being in this part of the world; places that we had talked about in history classes, seen on TV, and talked about in Sunday School. Many of our friends were camera buffs and enjoyed history as well. We were literally living out our dreams. Few organizations can match the military in traveling. The military then gave 30 days of vacation a year, the dollar had a great exchange rate, and we could travel to just about anywhere either free or reduced military fare. Military BX prices were good. What an opportunity!
The 1960's and 1970's were the golden age of film cameras as far as I'm concerned. For someone to be interested in photography, to be in the military stationed in a foreign land rich in History, let me say it again; what an opportunity. My first 35mm camera was an AGFA Solina that I left in the states. It had a 45mm 3.5 lens and 4 shutter speeds plus Bulb. They were 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, and 1/200 of a second. That camera has a sharp a lens as I ever used. The camera cost less then $15.00 in 1961 but it took swell pictures. It was a great learning tool, everything on it was manual. Enough pictures were taken with it that after awhile, the hand held meter only came out in unusual circumstances. And slides have to be right on with their exposure. With a good lens and consistent shutter speeds it had all the necessary components to make good pictures. Maybe because it meant so much to me I never took it overseas.
I had purchased one single lens reflex camera before I went overseas. Shortly after buying it was returned. The light meter built into the camera was not consistent. If you moved the camera and brought it back to the same light source, the meter would give different readings each time. Disappointing.
When I first arrived in Turkey I used a Sears rangefinder camera that belonged to my Dad. But the Camera used to take most of the slides with was with a camera that Beth and I bought through the military order catalog. That camera was a Canon TLb. Not expensive, but rock solid and consistent. It took pictures in the rain and dust storms; and also took the jarring from constant usage. Two years after we had returned home, we sent it off to be worked on. The strap eyes were loose and the light meter had stopped working. We used it all the time until we bought our first digital camera. The digitals are just too light and convenient. And also immediate; no worry about developing, or having the film x-rayed at airports.
Things are changing too fast! I think of all the time, effort, and discipline poured into learning an operation; and then overnight its almost obsolete. With film cameras, we thought of things like exposure speed of the film, speed of the shutter, depth of field, and proper focus. Just like us, most of the shutterbugs that we hung around carried a heavy metal cameras with interchangeable lenses. This could easily add up to 10 lbs in a Camera Bag. Those cameras did take excellent pictures that were as sharp as a tack. Now if you go on Ebay those film cameras are available and numerous; some are cameras that I used to dream about owning because I could not afford to buy one. If we were still using film I would be collecting some of those cameras.
The digital cameras have changed all that. Since storage and image capabilities are increasing the newer digital cameras are beginning to brush shoulders with the their film counterparts. Where as I used to carry around 10 lbs of camera equipment, I now walk around with an 8 once camera stored in a small camera case attached to my belt. When viewed on a computer screen or on an 8x10 format the digital images look great, perhaps even superior. They take movies as well. To take the picture very little thinking is required, almost just point and shoot. And now who needs a darkroom. A good computer photo editor can do it all - just by clicking a mouse. In fact most mess ups and mistakes can be remedied to a very acceptable state. On the base at Karamursel we had the Photo-hobby shop with a darkroom and all kinds of equipment. Working with chemicals can be unforgiving if the sequence is wrong or the solutions are getting dirty. I know with these last few statements I am probably ruffling the feathers of some die hard film advocates. It reminds me of the operating system battle a few years ago of c:prompt vs. windows. You know who won that round. Still I have so many fond memories of using film. I pickup the film cameras, look through the view finder, and still feel some of the excitement of from all the past memories and sites focused upon. Which lens, F-stop, and shutter speed? What depth of field? How sharp, how bright, how dim? So many memories!
Cameras are great fun and now super convenient. Lets all get out and take more pictures!
Sherry, Beth, and Dave; at Dean and Maryann's house - Watching slides in Turkey