The History of Photography: 1978

by Matthew Cole
1977 The 1970s 1979

Have Fun with Your Shutter Open I
Have Fun with Your Shutter Open I: Aye, Cap'n, we're going to Warp Speed! Or maybe through the Interstate 80/235 Interchange northeast of Des Moines. Fujica ST-801, Vivitar TX 28mm f/2.5 lens, Tri-X Pan

College buddy Dave Dahms builds a sound-trigger for flash. Initial contact prints as we test this out are very amusing; bricks dropped through records, light bulbs dropped and smashed, bricks into a bucket of water, pumpkin out of the fifth floor. We like the light bulbs the best and have obliging house members save up their burnt-out bulbs for several months. Then one night we reserve an uncarpeted conference room and bust them all, smashing them all up along with some beer bottles and a tube.

Dave and I discover value of two photographers at a wedding when we both shoot the cake cutting with the shutter speeds set too high for the flash sync. Fortunately we happen to mention this to each other before the cake's all eaten and can re-shoot. During visit to another wedding location with Dahms, stop to take pictures of Palo nuclear power plant. While shooting through fence bunch of guards come out and take us inside for questioning. Quotations of Mao still in camera bag, fortunately not discovered. Released without further ado. This book, by the way, is just unbelievably dull, especially so when it later turns out that Mao was a real babe hound. Another photo trip. Around Lake Michigan. Really bad photos. I think the light meter was screwing up and I didn't notice. Many underexposed. Oh well. Somewhere along here I sell the Vivitar zoom. Rolleicord needs work; springs to hold removable finder on are weak, Paul Salamon replaces with bits of Bic Clic spring which are still there and work great. Shutter speeds lazy in slow range, disassemble camera and uses some of Dave Dahms' aviation instrument oil on shutter. On my shutter, this works pretty well. On Dave's Minolta Autocord shutter, which was screwing up in the more crucial fast range, it sticks the shutter open. Oh well.

More Photo Hints from 1978

Have Fun with Your Shutter Open II
Have Fun With Your Shutter Open II: Dahms came up with the sound trigger and a variable time delay. You turned off all the lights, opened the shutters, then whacked the bulb with a hammer, no easy task in the dark, closed the shutters and turned the lights back on. About 30 times. Made quite a mess, it did. Fujica ST-801, 50mm f/1.8, Agfachrome 50, Vivitar 283
Watch Your Step
Watch Your Step: Or you might get hauled in for taking pictures of nuclear facilities by bored security personnel while carrying Communist literature in your camera bag. The Vivitar 28's fine optics once again show their stuff. The next negative on the contact has my gloved hand trying to shield the lens. I wonder if low-level radiation makes film grainy? Fujica ST-801, Vivitar 28mm f/2.5, Tri-X Pan
Beware of Fakes
Beware of Fakes: Ah yes, college days, and sometimes you drank a lot and it's funny what started to look good. I don't remember why Mark Carson was in drag particularly but I'm guessing from the cup in his hand and the balloons in his shirt that there was a keg involved. Ah, the good old days when the drinking age was 18 like it ought to be! Pearson House, Iowa State, September 1978
Fujica ST-801, Vivitar TX 28 f/2.5 lens, Vivitar 283

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