The Benefits of Hindsight

10thgradeI suppose that if we were all able to rewind the tapes of our lives, we might make different choices.

Let’s revisit my 10th grade class photo.

This was in the day before they shot five different poses, and you got to select your favorite. This was in the day when you sat in front of a screen, smiled, “click” and away you went.

It usually was in the auditorium or lunch room or maybe the school gymnasium.

On this day, I’m sure that I felt my long hair would make up for my inability to grow sideburns. And that shirt was a favorite, mostly because it was warm, and I didn’t look too skinny in it. I think that I usually paired this shirt with searsucker-print pants. Wow!

In hindsight, my hair would have been shorter, and I’d have worn a plain pullover.

But there is one thing about the past. You can never undo it. You can only learn from it.

Film photography

Rolleiflex SL35 camera
Rolleiflex SL35 camera

One of the things that I like about “real” cameras is that they don’t deliver instant results.

With film photography, there is always a wait, especially with older cameras, such as the one here. This camera has no autoexposure, so you must first meter the scene and then set the shutter speed and aperture (lens opening).

After making sure that you’ve advanced the film, which tensions the shutter, you focus and press the shutter release at the precise moment. If you want to take a second photo, you must advance the film to the next frame and repeat the process. It’s a deliberate process in that every part of it requires you to think and be aware, and you are limited to 36 shots.

After you finish the roll of film, you have to rewind it and have it processed. If it’s black and white film – yes, you can still buy black and white film – I will take it home and either develop it right away or slip the roll into a drawer and hopefully get to it sometime within the next three months. If it’s color film, it will either go to a drug store or sent via mail order to Dan’s Camera City in Allentown, Pa, , which does excellent work.

These days, after I develop the film, I then start the task of scanning it into a digital form. If there is a shot that I really like, I will then make a real print in the bathroom, which can double as a darkroom/enlarging station at night.

It’s a lengthy process and one that I don’t mind. As the world gets ever faster and more instant, it’s nice to slow down and take part in something that requires your undivided attention.

About the camera: This is a Rolleiflex SL35. It was the first in a series of single-lens reflex cameras using 35mm film. The earliest cameras were made in Germany before Rollei shifted production to Singapore. This particular camera was made in Singapore and is mechanically identical to those made in Germany. Cameras and lenses made in Germany usually command a higher price these days. The lens is the f/1.8 50mm Carl Zeiss Planar. Zeiss has often said that the Planar was the most plagiarized lens design in history. Most 50mm lenses are based on the Planar.


On Being Laid Off, Part II


Something came to mind the other day. It’s how we feel about people who have been laid off.

No. 1 – No one gives a crap, so get over it. People will say that they care, but I wonder if they also think, “Man, I’m glad that isn’t me.”

I’ll be up front and confess that I’ve thought that before. I sort of feel bad about your job loss, but I don’t. Most of us are so caught up with our own lives that we just don’t have time to take on the problems of our family, friends and colleagues. We’d like to, but we don’t.

That’s a lot of “don’ts.”

No. 2 – What are you going to do now? You better get a job. These were the first words out of my brother’s mouth when I told him that I had been laid off.

Then we had a testy argument.

In a way, most people will think Nos. 1 and 2, although they probably won’t say No. 1, and they’ll only say the first half of No. 2. It sounds a bit harsh, but that’s just how it is.

Life goes on for all of us.