Saturday, February 22, 2020

Those were the days...

I recently started scanning in some of my 35mm slides from 1980.  That was my first trip to the Southwestern US.  At the time, I was a graduate student at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, NY, and was working on a master's degree in entomology.  Roy Norton, a professor in the department asked if I wanted to go on a two-week trip to the Sonoran Desert,  camping out along the way, and collecting insects at many locations (none from the national parks, of course).  It was a great trip in Roy's Ford Pinto station wagon, the back crammed with gear and supplies.  It's the trip where I learned to drive a manual-shift car, and my introduction to a real road trip across the USA.  We hit a lot of traditional destinations - Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon, Great Sand Dunes National Monument, Monument Valley, the Painted Desert, Flagstaff, Tuscon, Organ Pipe Cactus National Park, and Saguaro National Park. Mostly we took secondary roads once we got into Colorado, and I wish that I had kept a journal of that trip.  I did take a borrowed Pentax Spotmatic camera, which was certainly an upgarade over my old Exa Ia SLR.    There were no electronics, we navigated with road maps, and we always carried plenty of water. 

1980 is the year that I think everything started to change.  I wish that I had been thinking as a photographer at the time and shot some of the town that we went through. The funky old towns hadn't yet been ravaged by Walmarts, and the uniformity we see today of chain stores and restaurants along strips had yet to happen.  Sure, we stopped at McDonald's when we were traveling, but we ate on a budget, and I have a memory of stopping somewhere in Arkansas for bread to make sandwiches (PB&J, of course), and all the store had was that awful white Wonder bread.  At the Grand Canyon, we camped at one of the campsites- and I found that the 25-cent shower was certainly a quick one.  That low-alcohol Coors sure tasted pretty good, too.

The trip was a great success, and I have a fair number of slides from it.  I scanned a few slides earlier this week, and all of the scans require minutes of removing dust spots.  I shot Ektachrome and Kodachrome, and all of the slides have aged pretty well. Over 40 years, they have been moved around, and at some point in the mid-1980s, I transferred them from the slide boxes to plastic storage sheets in binders.  Now that I have more time, I'll continue to scan the slides in, and I am finding that I did pretty well with most of my shots.  It just takes some time to clean up the images after the scan.

Here are a few... some have not been cleaned up.

Great Sand Dunes National Monument

Great Sand Dunes National Monument

Great Sand Dunes National Monument

Great Sand Dunes National Monument

near Oak Creek Canyon, AZ

The Grand Canyon, of course

Arizona Snow Bowl near Flagstaff

Monument Valley, converted from color slide.

1 comment:

The Padre said...

That Is One Outstanding Monument Valley Photo - Then, Those Duchess Co NY Shots Are Amazing - Well Done