Nothing better to do on a dark rainy day than scan old negatives. I came across this one and thought I’d share. I took this picture on a camping trip in late autumn of 1977. The campsite is somewhere in the Davis area but the exact location has long slipped from memory.
I was young, dumb, and poor and the only camera I owned back then was a Nikkormat FTN with a 50mm f2 Nikkor H-C lens. The 50mm was the only lens I had at the time. In fact, it and the Nikkormat FTN were the only Nikon equipment I’ve ever owned. I still have them both. The film was Kodak “Pan-X Plus 125”. I never have used B/W much so this was a treat when I came across the negative.
I wish I still had that tent, too. It’s an 8×10 Coleman “American Heritage”. Having straight sides there really was a lot of room in it. I recall once, we had four cots setup inside. Speaking of cots, I have no explanation why my cot is outside; I can’t remember a thing. I wish I still had it because it would make a good cold weather tent for me. It’s canvas and because it didn’t have a rain fly, the windows on the side zipped up tight. It wouldn’t carry much of a load of snow, but it’d be warmer than the tent I have now.
Please excuse the scratches on the negative. Back then, I kept negatives in the original paper envelopes in which they were shipped from the labs. Again, I was young, dumb, and poor and didn’t preserve them properly. It was years later when I finally bought sleeves and began to keep my negatives in them. Of course, the damage was already done.
I went camping this past weekend. I needed to get away from people, get closer to myself and nature, and reconnect with my photography. The part about getting closer to nature and reconnecting with my photography was true enough, but getting away from people was anything but that! I think everyone who owned, or could borrow, a tent had the same idea and showed up at the same campground. Heck, some didn’t even have a tent. They slept in their car. It reminded me of camping at Catfish Bay, Lake Texoma over 40 years ago: leaving an overcrowded urban trailer park to stay in an even more overcrowded tent city. It was fun back then; it ain’t today! So my intention for a weekend of gritting my teeth through the pain in solitude while pursuing a great photograph was blown first rattle out of the box.
I still had the gritting and gnashing of teeth in response to pain, but I also had the irritation of people to deal with: people who don’t even bring a flashlight to camp, people who use charcoal lighter fluid to start a campfire, people who bring large screen TVs to keep their kids occupied, and a divorced dad trying to impress their kid and wind up being a total jerk. However, I was determined to put myself in the right place at the right time for the best opportunity to make a good image. Since I barely slept a wink, waiting for sunrise was not big deal, and after spending the afternoon observing the loonies around camp, it was real easy to leave camp early enough to be set up for sunset. All I really wanted was GOD to paint the sky in magic.