My first camera was a box camera that used 616 roll film size that was hard to find in the 50s and impossible to find now. My hands shook when I bought my first precision camera, A 35mm Yashica single lens reflex for $160.00 brought with money I made cleaning bricks with a hatchet. I have spent more money on Equipment, film, printing paper and all the rest that is required. photography also gave me discipline and the job skills that have carried me throughout life. U.S. Navy Photographer 3rd Class · 1963 to 1967 I was a photographer aboard the USS Ranger CVA 61 Attack Aircraft Carrier between the years 1964 to 1967 stationed in the Tonkin Golf. It was when aboard the ranger that my work was published in something other than a high school year book. Photographs I made of the first American POW to escape the North Vietnamese and be returned to the Ranger where published In the Saturday Evening Post December 3, 1966 issue in a story titled “I Escaped From a Red Prison”. Years later a movie was made about his capture and escape. The Photographs may not have been great, but I was the only photographer that got any. A 35 mm camera earned no respect then because the top of the line Nikon was less than $200.00 and everyone had one, or one of the other top brands. I used a 4x5 inch Speed Graphic With flash bulbs the size of light bulbs on this assignment and people got out of your way, that camera meant business and the slightest poke to the ribs with the speed graphic got their attention and out of your way no matter the rank. “Sorry Sir I’m just trying to do my job” always received cooperation from sometimes intimidating people. Within 6 months of my separation from active duty I moved to Maryland to just in side of the belt way. I worked for a number of different printing companies. Over the next few years learned a great deal about printing at first operating a number of different letter presses and offset presses. I gravitated toward the prepress end of the operation and I held a few management or foreman positions over the next 17 years.
I remember when I thought Photography would always be film, chemicals and darkrooms as I remembered from my childhood. I couldn't imagine it any other way. I always had a darkroom and most of my expendable money payed for film, paper, chemicals and the occasional new lens or camera. Although most of my life I made my living by working in fields other then, but allied to photography, I always approached how I did things in a professional manner when it came to equipment and print production, always being careful to process and print with archival methods. W hen digital cameras first came on the market I saw them as very expensive toys. The Nikon DCS 100 was less then 2 Mp camera and cost $13,000 in 1991 and was good only for newspapers, or so I thought. I remember that in 1991 $13,000 was the cost of all my equipment in total. 2003 I brought a Fuji S2 Pro it was 6 MP and cost $2,400, It was a Nikon mount so I had lens because I was A Nikon user. I could get 36 raw files on a 256 MB flash card that cost $250.00. I had two cards so I was always having to run home and download the files, it took forever to download 36 files. I thought that camera was wonderful and made some very large prints from it that looked better then anything from a 35 mm negative. My son now has that camera as I moved on from it.
Today I use a Nikon D700 and a Sony A6000 which is so small and light that is no burden to carry, most all of the photos in 2015 and 2016 come from the Sony.