Opportunity Lost – Lesson Learned

September 02, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

 

As long as I can remember, I have had a fascination with the camera, of the images it makes and of photography. The bug first bit, and probably for many, on a family vacation.  

 

I was eight – remember it as clear as day. My grandmother came to visit us in Dallas, Texas. She lived in Kansas and we decided to take a trip to show her the Alamo. So we packed up and headed to San Antonio, a few hundred miles to the south. I was in charge of the camera.

 

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It was (is) a camera made by Kodak – a Brownie Hawkeye; high tech at the time.  Basically a light-tight box, with a fixed lens set up so that the depth of field guaranteed anything you pointed it at was in focus, because there was no way to actually focus the camera. The box was held just above belt level and the photographer would peer down into the viewfinder so most photos were taken at an upward angle.  Now there is a tip for taking chest up portraits, a technique basically lost on the masses with their fancy schmancy DSLRs.

 

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Attached to the box was a flash with a gangly arm with a nice sized reflector-diffuser.  Modern day photographers can take a note – get your flash away from the lens AND diffuse the light.  There was no such a thing as red eye with this relic.  Only with the modern conveniences of the point-and-shoot and the pop up flash was this malady introduced to images.  Red eye is prevalent in amateur-land and easy to prevent, or fix.

 

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We arrive at the Alamo with great anticipation. I felt this was going to be a wonderful photographic opportunity and I was to take full advantage for our family scrapbook.  I walked around the grounds of the old church, fort, and battleground and “found” many photos.

 

The Brownie Hawkeye is a film camera. Pre-dating the 35mm canister, you had to insert the roll and thread it around the back to the opposite spindle and turn it to frame #1.  I shot lots of frames.

 

We enter for the most exciting part of the tour- a place where Sam Houston, Jim Bowie, and many other heroes made their last stand.  What was the first thing I saw…. a sign:  NO PHOTOS.   Ugh.

 

What was a poor boy to do?  I made a decision that I believe many true-blooded photographers have made as well.  I was going to shoot till asked to stop. That call never came and I quickly got my treasures. 

 

As we drove as away from this historic Texas landmark I knew I had something special - photos when most would simply put their cameras away in quiet obedience.  I wanted to insure these would make it to the local developer and to do this I felt it best to get a little air to the film seeing how it was all enclosed in the air-tight camera back.  So in the mind of an eight-year-old, I OPENED the camera back to allow a little air to the film.  When my dad realized what I had done, without words, he simply raised an eyebrow, and I knew what I had done.  Ugh --- big surprise when we picked up the pictures from the developer.  Opportunity lost and lesson learned.

 

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Many years later I returned, camera NOT in hand.  I simply walked through the museum and just enjoyed the artifacts and reflected back to an earlier time when at the spark of my fascination of photographic art, I knew it would be life-long.

 

Can you remember your first photograph? Leave a comment...

good shooting.

 

 


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