Camera Gear, Photography

When is a Camera like a Computer?

camerasWhen you are ready to buy a new one! You see the question you should be asking yourself when buying a computer or a camera, is what are you going to do with it….then this determines the type and ultimately how much you will pay for it. Many times I would hear friends say ” I love your photographs, you must have a really good camera”!  The reality is that it’s not so much the camera as it is the photographer who is making the composition, judging the aperture, speed and ISO settings to KNOW how the picture will come out. I have a few friends who have spent hundreds of dollars on expensive DSLR’s to take “better” snaps of their kids and family, always leaving the setting on “A” for Automatic  and never shooting in RAW or manaul settings, and learning HOW the camera works and what it can do.

So the question should be, what do you intend to do with the pictures you take with your camera? If the answer lies in the realm of just posting to Facebook, Instagram or other social media repositories, then just use your camera phone. But if you intend to create art, enlarge images, printing and learning  to be a photographer by using post processing software, then that will determine the camera for you.

As I stated in my last post, the photo taken with a simple camera can still evoke an emotion as much as an expensive one……….so, what do you want to do?



Photography, Vintage Photography

A Simple Life

Larry Birthday 1959I have an affinity for the simple life. Here is Larry Dean celebrating what I think is my 4th birthday in 1959. Growing up in this era was so far unrelated to today, let’s take a stroll. My blue collar parents gave only one or two gifts for birthdays and Christmas and the only thing to occupy our conversations at dinner was, well a good conversation. No TV, no iPhones or digital games to pre-occupy our time. Just family. We played outside for hours and always went to other friends to play and sometimes stay for dinner. Sorta like Leave it to Beaver. Maybe this explains why I love so many things from the sixties and remember them with fondness, usually asking myself, remember when? Yeah, we would watch Ozzie & Harriet, Andy Griffith, Beaver and Father Knows Best. And many more.Did you ever see Fireball XL5? I used to love watching this futuristic marionette British TV program. I bought the DVD set a few years ago just to reminisce.

I love going through old pictures and think of the technology that created the art back then versus what we have today. A picture from a simple Brownie camera would still evoke an emotion just as much as today’s top megapixel DSLR. And just think, it was very simple. As I said before, I miss the simpler life. How about you?

Garage Sale Finds, Photography, Vintage Photography

Will we ever have another Vivian Maier moment?

img_3910  I just love the story of Vivian Maier. If you are not familiar with this fascinating story, go to and check it out. In a nutshell, she was a nanny who loved taking pictures over 50 years ago. After her passing, her rolls of film were discovered in a storage locker, and there were approx. 100,000 negatives and slides, according to the web site. These were purchased at auction and prints were being made and released about her work.

Although my post here is not about her, but more along the lines of finding exposed rolls of film at local estate sales or finding them inside used cameras and having them developed and scanned.What would you find? For me personally, I was excited to find about 8 rolls of undeveloped exposed 120 film. I was excited to get these black and white rolls processed  to see what I might find. However, I was a bit disappointed as most rolls had no images on them at all. One roll was of pictures taken in a museum and one roll had images of a nude male model in a variety of poses. No clue as to who he was, or when the pictures might have been taken. But I will continue to hunt for these at estate sales.

But the question I ask today, with all the millions of digital images being taken and possibly hidden on some old PC or storage cards, will we ever discover another Vivian Maier?

Also check out the documentary, Finding Vivian Maier.


Camera Gear, Garage Sale Finds, Photography

Rite of Passage-What the VW bug and Pentax had in Common.

Back in the 60’s and 70’s it was quite common for a young mans first car to be a VW bug. They were plentiful and cheap and often seen at many high school parking lots. The bug was a rite of passage for a 16 year old boy to drive. I always wanted one, had many friends that did. However my first car was a 1962 Ford Falcon that I bought for 75 bucks from a good friend. Looked like crap, but hey, it was transportation. The other right of passage to any aspiring photographer was their first camera. In school, the instructor made everyone get the Pentax K1000 because it was the best camera to learn photography. Everything was manual. I never had one of these either. Certainly having my Canon AE-1 Program which was fully automatic (except focusing) you didn’t need to learn about the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and ISO. I kinda missed all that whilst setting my camera to P for Program, almost all of the time. Never did use manual. Today with my Canon EOS 60D, I almost always shoot in manual mode, unless I am somewhere and the situation calls for speedy transitions. However, back to Pentax. So I missed out on learning photography the right way and a few years ago I bought one off of Craigslist for $25. Can I tell you I absolutely love this camera? There is a certain feeling you get when you are controlling the process, turning the aperture ring on the lens, setting the shutter speed and watching where the match needle hits thru the viewfinder. It took me awhile, but I finally had my rite of passage with this camera. How about you, did you have one?

News Commentary, Vintage Photography

Photograph Your Namesake


For me it was James Dean. It was 1955 and my mom loved him. So like today, baby names tend to follow what’s popular at the time, whether inspired from movies or musical artists. I did not know a lot about him, nor have I seen a lot of his movies. I just know he died young at the age of 24, in 1955 the year I was born. What I did know, was that he liked to take photographs, something I would like to explore more.But here, thanks to website there are several photos of him with camera, and stories he was a good photographer. Anyway, this is my brush with celebrity.Need to explore more. What’s your story?

News Commentary, Vintage Photography

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie?

film-canistersI admit that I am not a professional photographer, just one who enjoys the art and creating it. However, it was 1982 that I acquired my first camera from a professional photographer friend who owned a camera store. He recommended I buy the Canon AE-1 Program. He always use to say “Buy your second camera first”. I think it was because we would accelerate in our growth of photography and we would want to keep buying cameras. The thing is, at that time all we had was film, so upgrading every two years wasn’t necessary. Today, new cameras with more megapixels are sold to us every year, creating an envy for the new stuff with all the new features. Wow, can you image a camera that has both Wifi and Bluetooth, and GPS built in. Articulating screen or not? Nikon or Canon, Sony or Fuji or Olympus, DSLR, Mirrorless or Micro four thirds (I still can’t wrap my head around that one). One thing is for sure, no matter how many megapixels is in your camera, the cost to shoot one frame is FREE compared to the cost of film. I have purchased 35mm film, taken pictures and had it developed and scanned the negatives onto a disc. The result is, that the quality is never what I can get out of my DSLR. And then add in the post processing, I have a beautiful image to print. With all the news about film making a comeback, does it really have to? I do not get enjoyment from spending money on 24-36 images (if I am lucky). My bet is that some people will rush to eBay to buy a used film camera for nostalgia sake or to try it out for the very first time. That’s fine. It was expensive for me back in 1982 and it still is today. What do you think?

Camera Gear, Photography, Vintage Photography

My Dream Camera

img_2424I remember as a young boy wanting to get into photography, but just could not afford the cost of a new Nikon or Canon SLR. We often face those dilemmas in real life, cost vs. value or quality. What do we concentrate on? Well for a long time when I was 13-14, I used to look in the back of Popular Photography  or Modern Photography magazine and browse the ads for cheap cameras, or lower cost cameras I should say. I would scour the ads from Cambridge Photo or 42nd St. Photo every month drooling over the cameras, lenses and anything photography related.. There was something magical, yet educational in reading those ads. That’s how I learned. By reading ads.Even to this day I will still read ads to see what was being advertised then look up more information about the item. What lenses were being advertised and for what purpose. Why was a 50mm 1.4 better than a 1.8 and so on. Remember Spiratone lenses? I never bought one, but always wanted one. I settled on a Hanimex Praktica to be my first camera. Because it was cheaper than all the others. I still couldn’t muster the few hundred dollars to buy one. But many years later I did see one on Ebay , and bought it. Only to be disappointed that it didn’t work. It seemed the shutter didn’t work properly and it was a fairly common thing with those cameras.I bought the camera because it reminded me of an innocent time in my youth. And I just wanted to be there again. Sadly we move on from broken things, but just can’t seem to part with the idea of what we thought we could do with them. But we still hope.