Friday, February 19, 2021

More Nostalgia

 I went to Japan in 1980 for the first time, returning in 1981 and again in 1983. There are lots of great stories that go with those deployments. Some are still classified. Not by the government, but by me. Most of them can now be told.

The second tour, in 1981, I was good friends with a guy nicknamed Rocky. Rocky was an amateur photographer. He was serious about it. Had an Olympus OM-1, several lenses, tripods, and a bag full of accessories.

I was a cyclist. Knowing a lot more going over the second time I managed to get my own bicycle to Japan. 

I bought an OM-1, mostly so I could use Rocky's lenses until I could afford my own and he started to teach me what he knew. I helped him pick out a touring bike and get him outfitted. 

I used that camera and a second OM-1 I bought used, accumulated lenses over time, and photography became a serious hobby. We sharpened our skills with what money we had for film, bicycled as far from the base as we could, took thousands of pictures. I learned how shoot Kodachrome 64. It became my favorite film.

Got to where I didn't need a light meter much. An OM-1 is completely manual, no electronics to operate, you learn by making mistakes. Light, aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, film speed, focus, you are on your own. All of that must be dealt with successfully before you pick a subject.

I brought that camera home and continued. Thousands more pictures of the kids, the family, events, vacations, whatever caught my eye. It was an extra effort to have the camera there, ready, to capture a moment. The ease of use and automation of modern cameras and cell phones wasn't even a dream yet.

The modern cameras arrived. I stuck with the Olympus and film for years. The crossover arrived when the prices dropped for digital and the features and results all surpassed what I was getting with film. The film camera and lenses became an artifact. I gave them away. Kodak quit making Kodachrome. The era ended.

I bought a quality slide scanner and saved the best of them. This picture was taken during that project. It's not lost on me that I took this with a Sony digital camera.




Borepatch said...

Loved Kodachrome 64.

SiGraybeard said...

I loved Kodachrome 64, too, but ended up using Ektachrome 200 as my walking around film most of the time. Just because ASA200 vs ASA64.

Was the OM-1 a match needle camera? I still have my Minolta SRT-202 from the mid-70s, and that's the way it worked. You matched the needles to set the exposure for some "normal" conditions. You always messed around within a couple of f-stops depending on the conditions.

ASM826 said...


Yes, it had a built in light meter that you could use. It worked great in normal light. Night shooting, pictures of neon, etc. it became more of an art form.

Tom K said...

I was never much of a photographer. I just remember the flash cubes were cool.

ruralcounsel said...

I enjoyed my OM-1 for many years. Bought it new in 1980. Finally tossed it and all the lenses I had for it in the dumpster in 2008 after a divorce nearly bankrupted me and I had to auction off most everything I owned to move for a new job in another state. I had so much stuff I had to get rid of within such a short amount of time, there was no time to dispose of stuff gracefully. Figured in this age of digital cameras, it was virtually worthless.