Saturday, November 3, 2007

My Gateway Drug (1975 to 1980)

So this is how the obsession started. At the age of 12 I had a friend who's father was a real estate photographer. I thought what he did was so cool, I think it was the chemicals in the dark room as it all seemed a bit like magic. So my father being the encouraging man he was picked up a Canon TX for me. It was full manual film body with a top shutter speed of 1/500 sec and center weighted metering.

This was the coolest thing I ever held. It was heavy, awkward, and almost impossible to figure out. Since my father bought it used from a co-worker it had no manual and I had no books or internet in which to do research. Literally it was trial and error, and let me tell you the film was expensive for a 12 year old. I was washing dishes for money and all my pay was going to B&W 36 shot rolls of film.

My big day was about a month after I got the TX when I figured out what the light meter did. Suddenly my pics were more than black or white, I saw gradations of grey, it was amazing. I remember taking a picture of a Willow tree at the local park which turned out great as far as I was concerned. I literally spent hours looking at how the darks moved to light and visa-versa.

The TX served me well for 5 years when the shutter finally gave out. I don't think I could tell you how many rolls of film I took with my trusty TX. I have no idea how many acutations were on it when the shutter gave but I'm sure it was in the tens of thousands. And as a rough teen I'm sure I didn't treat it as well as I should have. I know one thing for sure, I would not treat my digital equipment like that today.

Well, that is body #1. Next we will take a look at the replacement to the TX, the AE-1.

Credit: Thanks to the Canon Museum from where I got the pic above.