Thursday, May 03, 2012

A repost from the past ...It was 1976, and I had an Exa 1a

I have been going through some of my old web pages that used to be up on my server at UM, and here is one that I am reproducing as a blog post, and slightly updated...

My first “real” camera was an Ihagee Exa 1a. My parents bought it for me in 1974 (probably from Cambridge Camera in NYC) while I was a junior in high school. I used that camera for nearly 10 years, when I replaced it with a Pentax MG. I learned basic photography with that Exa 1a and shot mostly slide film with it. I used the sunny-16 rule. Plus, the pocket Kodak Photoguide was my only source of photography information. No meters, no eye-level prism, either. It had the el-cheapo waist-level viewfinder. Good thing my eyes were better then. I certainly didn't know any better that a prism would have been a wonderful thing.

In the summer of 1976 I was a summer camp counselor at Wavus Camps on Lake Damariscotta, Maine. Weekends, I hitched rides up and down US 1 to places that are probably now a lot less picturesque. I didn’t have a lot of money, and I didn’t shoot a lot of film, but I did get a few good images, and amazingly enough, I still have all of my photographs from then. Best of all, I shot mostly Kodachrome 64.

The Exa 1a is a strange SLR. The mirror is the shutter, which all one unit. Not a horizontal cloth shutter like the beefier Exaktas. There is a very limited range of shutter speeds and of course, the shutter release is on the left side! I sold that camera about 12 years ago on I wish I still had it, even if it was not the easiest to use camera. Still, it taught me a lot about photography. About 7 years ago, I ended up with a lot of Exakta equipment which I used for a time, and then sold off. However, I kept an Exa 1a as a reminder of my early days in photography. The images below were taken in Wiscasset, Maine in July 1976. The two ships are now gone, having been removed in 2004 or so.
There was a lot of crud on the slides, and removed most of it in Photoshop. Considering that they survived moving around in college and nearly 30 years of being left in a slide box, they are in pretty good shape. I doubt anyone’s CD-ROM of images taken in college today will be around 30 years from now.

Last... not from 1976, but May of 1977. It was the first spring with my girlfriend Adrienne, now wife (we married in 1978). We were roaming the countryside near Sharon, CT when I shot this (not so great) photo of a fern growing out of a fissure in a rock. Same camera, but not Kodachrome. Might have been Ektachrome.

1 comment:

Panagiotis Giannakis said...

Ahh.. May 1977, the month I was born!