Friday, April 19, 2013

I Am So Excited I Can’t Breathe!

I’ve loved photography since I was old enough to hold a camera.  I never said I was any GOOD at it, but I’ve always loved it.  My Dad (also a shutterbug) gave me the old family Kodak Brownie when he got a new one, and I played with it endlessly.  When Dad saw that I was really trying to take pictures, he started buying me film and flashbulbs.  None of those survived (fortunately).

SLR cameras came out and became affordable. Dad and I both got one at about the same time.  Canon had come out with the AE1-Program, and they had their top-of-the-line A-1.  Santa brought me an AE1-Program, and Santa brought Santa an A-1.  Dad and I were both in Hog Heaven, taking lots and lots and lots of pictures—including one that has always been a favorite:  (this is Christmas Day, 1981)


Ok, some semi-snide observations—Wowee, look at that cloud of puff-cut hair on me!  Look how MUCH hair DAD had!  The portraits on the wall are my sister and me, each at age 2, each from Olan Mills.  The mirror in which we’re taking the picture is on Mother and Dad’s dresser, which is in my bedroom now.  Dad was 58 in this picture; I am 56 now.

But, I digress.

I loved that camera, and I loved that lens.  It was a good lens, nothing special, but it was a 28-80 3.5 macro zoom.  I took many photos with that setup, and it went with me on all my travels.

Unlike me, Dad had a retirement income; then, he went to work on his third career and made pretty good money.  Ergo, he had money for some nice toys—like some nice lenses to go with his A-1.

But, tragedy struck—Mother and Dad came to visit me in Dallas.  They were bringing the suitcases in, and sometime between Dad’s last trip and his next (he having left the van door not just unlocked but open), someone zipped in and took his camera case, with his camera and all his lenses.  He was heartbroken.  The insurance company paid to replace everything, and he upgraded the Canon A-1 to a Canon T-90, but somehow that took some of the shine off it for him.

He kept that equipment all these years, even after having stopped using it.  It cost a pretty penny, and was worth something at the time.

(movie voice) Time…passes…

When Canon came out with their EOS system, they changed mounts.  This means they abandoned their loyal customer base, forcing everyone to buy all new lenses if they wanted to upgrade.  Canon made a converter, but it was both hideously expensive and not broadly available.  By that time, the digital revolution was in full swing, and the little point-and-shoots (like most people have today) had come out.  Computers had gone from room-sized to business-applications-only to “everybody’s got one” to Windows 98 to Windows XP.  Dad and I both had Canon point and shoots (we both still have them).  The T-90 and its lens family stayed in their Halliburton case in the hall closet while we all went digital.

In 2006, I upgraded to a Nikon D50 (at the time, one step under state of the art).  I paid $700 at Bedford Camera in Little Rock (you can get them on ebay now for about $70) for the camera and lens.  Most (not all) of the photos with which you’ve been inflicted on this blog (the ones I took at least) were made with this camera and lens.  I think the camera is good for what it is; the lens was always “ok”, but a temporary stop-gap till I could buy what I really wanted.  Well, what I want is STILL $900 (!!!).  I don’t have $900 for that, so it’s just got to wait.

When Mother and Dad moved from their house in Arkansas to an apartment in Texas, Dad gave me all his equipment.  By then, film had become as archaic as buggy whips, fax machines, and other technology-gone-by.  Kodak stopped making Kodachrome! 

The camera and lenses have been in my bedroom closet, untouched, for 5 years.  My old AE-1 Program was in my top dresser drawer, dusty as hell and non-working.

YESTERDAY, I discovered (I’m a little slow, but I do catch on eventually) that they make ADAPTERS so that all these old Canon FD lenses will not only fit on a Canon—they make an adapter to fit it on a NIKON DSLR!  Like, for example, my D50!

$42 and 24 hours later, the adapter was delivered to my house.  (I remain amazed that you can select something from Amazon at 5:16 pm CDT and have the item—from their warehouse in Indiana in this case—delivered to your house at 3:00 the following afternoon).

After I ordered the adapter, I went in and pulled the Halliburton case out.  The foam interior had degenerated into effectively molten goo.  The big telephoto lens had it all stuck to the side.  Oh, NO!  But, Google to the rescue—Rubbing alcohol and a soft toothbrush.  By golly, worked like a charm.

So, today, the adapter came.  I have never taken the lens off the Nikon.  I used to change out lenses all the time, but it’s been years and I was very nervous.  Afraid to get my hopes up.

Lens off, I carefully installed the adapter (insert, turn ring, “click”).  Then I got one of Dad’s favorite lenses and thought, well, here goes nothing….

Would it work?  Would it even FUNCTION after all these years????

I don’t know, you tell me!!!!  (big smile)


Ok, acid test 1 passed.  Now for acid test 2.  I went in and opened the dresser drawer and got out the trusty old AE1-Program.  Should have said DUSTY old AE-1 Program.  Cleaned it up, carefully removed my 28-80 Macro Zoom lens.  I loved that lens.  I guess I could have stood it if it didn’t work, but I was holding my breath.

It slid into my hand, and my HAND remembered how to work all the various rings—macro, zoom, focus.  Hello, old friend….


So I am thrilled to death—I’VE GOT A WHOLE NEW COLLECTION OF CAMERA LENSES!  Including one dear old friend!  (Did you miss me?  I missed you…).

Now, using these (effectively antique) lenses means NO automatics AT ALL.  I’ve had an auto-focus, auto-everything camera for a long time, and I’m going to have to study up and remember basic Photography 101.  f-stops (you have to stop down at least 3 stops to use these with the Nikon), shutter speed, light meters (my light meter still works!).  But I used to know how, and I can learn again.

So, dear reader (those few but dear ones), get ready, because I am going on a photo expedition this weekend with my new old lenses!

(And, more money to be spent; I’ve got to have a new cap for the Promaster, plus I’ve got to have multiple all-new filters, the ones I have are mostly ruined, and I’ve got to replace all that foam in the Halliburton…but what FUN!!!)

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