I have been involved with photography for a very long time. When I was a child, the first camera I can remember was a Kodak Brownie box camera which shot square negatives (120, I think). As time wore on, I upgraded a couple of times, finally having an Instamatic for quite a while.
Shortly after I joined the Air Force, one of my first purchases was my first 35mm film camera. After much research I found one that fit my needs as well as my budget … with budget being the operative word!! The camera was a Yashica Electro-35 GSM rangefinder. I don’t remember how much it cost, but I think it was somewhere around $75-100. This at a time when my take home pay was around $700 a month!! Although I upgraded several times over the years I had fond memories of the Electro 35 … and was pleased when I recently found one available on eBay.
It featured some automation but was basically a “manual” camera. And I loved it. (Unfortunately, over the years most of those pictures have vanished so I can’t share any examples!!)
Next I moved to a Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) and since most of the “professionals” at the time used Nikon’s, I had to have one as well. My first was a Nikkormat (as it was the least expensive), and over the years I steadily moved up to newer, and more capable, models. The last film camera I had was a Nikon FA which I had while stationed in Japan and most of my photos from that period are courtesy of that camera. The FA was also the camera that accompanied me when I was helping a photojournalist (Michael Stanley), who lived in Tokyo, complete a spectacular photo book about the USAF and Japanese Air Self Defense Force. Standing next to Michael as he worked on his book gave me essentially a Master’s Degree in photography, and I only wish I had better quality digital versions of many of those images. Here are a few of Japanese Air Force flight training, and some pictures I captured while working next to Michael.
Today, I use my iPhone and a Nikon D750 for my photography. I find using the iPhone is a lot like my old Yashica rangefinder … fixed lens and somewhat limited choices for aperture/exposure control but easy to carry and great image quality. But, the D750 is my main workhorse. The images are stunning!!
Every time I use either of these technical marvels, I cannot help but wish I could somehow go back in time and use them to capture places, people, and events, that were important in my life. Dang!