After four years of high school and a year of college, I realized that I really had nothing personal to remind me of those years. So I borrowed the family's Hawkeye Brownie and started taking pictures. I became good at it despite the lack of decent equipment.

Then I took a step backward and purchased the Kodak Instamatic. The name is misleading. Often people thought that the picture came out right away. That was true with a Polaroid.

Then I purchased a Kodak Signet 40, a wonderful rangefinder. I loved it. Eventually I lent it to my parish and never asked to get it back.

While using the Kodak Signet 40, I was talking to a priest who also was a photographer and I told him about my aspiration and he told me that I would need to get a professional camera. I took what I thought was a step forward by getting a Practica FX3, but that camera was in the repair shop twice within the first year.

Then one day after I left college, Joanne McKenna told me that her father told her sister Bunny that he can get cameras from Japan much cheaper than we can in the United States. So I ordered a Nikon F and a Mamiya C33. I used both cameras until the mid 1990s when they were stolen in a burgarly here in Baltimore.

I had purchased and disposed of several cameras, but I always considered the Nikon as my main 35mm and the Mamiya as my main camera until I went digital. I also owned two Kowa SIX systems. We call this a "poor man's Hasselblad." It had everything that I wanted from Hasselblad without the hefty price tag.

I also did my own darkroom work. I purchased a Besler 4xMCRX enlarger from a store in New York and had it until a fire around 2003. I did my own color processing and printing also. It took me a few years to go that route, but once I started, there was no stopping.

When I first decided to do my own color processing, I went to the camera store and told the man what I wanted to do. He gave me two words of advice which I utter rejected: "Forget it." I am glad that I did reject his advice.

Today I have no interest in going back into the darkroom. If somebody has a negative which he needs printed, I simply scan it and print it on my computer. I can print up to 11x17 right now and I hope that by the end of 2010 I will be able to print up to 16x20 or larger.

I have played around with digital cameas, but I was not impressed, especially because of the shutter delay. Around 2005 Jennie showed me her Canon Rebel and let me play around with it. I was very satisfied with it and then when CompUSA had it on sale for $650 in Glen Burnie, I purchased it.

However, there was one major problem with the Canon and within one month it was in the shop because of bent pins when I took out the card to upload the pictures to a computer. I was without it for the Russian Festival and Jennie's wedding. What a bummer!!!

The following year I purchased a Nikon D50 just before the Russian Festival. Since then I have purchased an external flash, 70-300mm lens, second body, and 50mm f/1.8 lens and my next purchase will be the 18-50mm lens so that I can have a wider angle. The Nikon is easily a better camera. The Canon has been in the shop twice since I had it and one of the Nikon only once because somebody sat it on a slick cover of a book on a slanted stand and it went crashing to a marlbe floor. It still worked that day, but not afterwards.

My nickname at church is Photo Deacon. I'm constantly taking photographs and I also spend too much time with PhotoShop Elements. I use legal software and I go well beyond what Micro$oft intends for us to do. Incidentally, I do not use Micro$oft products when I can avoid it. I use WordPerfect X4 for my word processing and desktop publishing. I use Mozilla for my Internet browser and e-mail client.


Page updated Friday 30 October 2009.

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