The History of Photography: 1973

by Matthew Cole
1972 The 1970s 1974

Look Ma, No Hands!
Use Your Electronic Flash to Stop Action: Using the Mighty Vivitar 152, we discover the ability to stop action. Here Steve O'Brien floats above my sister's bed, caught on some cheapo Eastman 5254 movie stock slide film which as you can see has held its color well over the years. Budding Edgertons we are.
Add Vivitar 152 electronic flash. Completely manual, 2 AA batteries, GN of about 64 with ASA 100 film. I still have this unit. Try out some movie film deal called Cord Enterprises using Eastman 5254 motion picture negative film, kind of like the current (well, in 1999 when I wrote this page) Seattle Filmworks. In fact, these guys are from Seattle as well. This requires an 85A filter since the film is tungsten-balanced. Find Series 5 filter adapter for Paxette to hold this filter, also get close-up lens set and take close ups by measuring everything with a tape and referring to tables. To my shock and surprise, this actually works. The film stock, however, is not satisfying. The cool feature of getting both plastic-mounted slides and a set of negatives (and another roll of film! A whole 36 exposures!) leaves you with horrible color fading after 20 years when the Kodachromes still look great. Well, as great as they can look off a Paxette. Remember when they re-released the original Star Wars movie in 1998? They had to restore the film. This on a movie that has made hundreds of millions of dollars and presumably where the negative was properly stored. You can imagine how well my slides have held up!
Set 'em to Stun!
Use Your Tripod for Cool Special Effects: Still using that 5254 film, this time we set up the cheapo tripod, kill the lights, fire the flash to catch Captain Kirk here, and then, using a flashlight, make the phasar's beam! Damn we were advanced!

Do lots of experiments using outdated Focal (K Mart brand) slide film which is about $2 a roll with processing mailer included. Ahh! Much better! Try first darkroom work using George Washington fake million dollar bill thermometer (souvenir of Colorado) for temperature control. Use cool LPL developing tank with thermometer built into lid. Many problems but am so amazed to get any image at all we don't care. Break thermometer. For timer, use white kitchen clock with holes shot in it with BB gun. Still have clock. BB gun long gone. Paxette has Leica screw-mount lens, so I look around and find another lens in same mount...a 300mm! Wow, this would be cool! Turns out to be very difficult to scale-focus a 300 when I try it out in store plus with only 1/300th top shutter speed there is not a lot of room for hand holding. Negatives very blurry. I don't buy it. Around this time Steve O'Brien and I buy a Bogen T-35 enlarger at Woolco, a department store, and a print dryer. This puts us way ahead of high school friend Brent McManus who enlarges by mounting negatives in slide mounts and using his Bell & Howell cube projector to quickly flash the image on paper taped on a wall. Steve O'Brien buys a Practika SLR for $102.86 at K Mart. He is major stud with this camera while I still have lowly Paxette. I buy some cheapo tripod from K Mart. The legs are U-channel and have a steel slug in the end to keep them from falling out. Over time these slugs get moved, but not to the same degree, so after a while all three legs are slightly different lengths. Steve and I experiment with single-frame movies (it is very efficient in its use of film). Francis Ford Coppola apparently hears about us, rips off idea to make Koyanisquaqi or however you spell it.

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