I started taking pictures when I was in high school in the 1960s. My brother gave me the same camera James Bond used to take pictures of secret documents. The camera worked great for Bond but not so hot for me. The negatives were tiny and consequently the pictures were grainy. Forget about printing enlargements.

In college, I used scholarship money to buy my first 35mm SLR camera. I was supposed to use the money to buy books but whoever gave me the money, it was so long ago I can’t remember who, gave me more that I needed. I used that camera for 20 years or more both for my personal use and for two jobs as a reporter, for the Times Argus in Barre, Vermont and the Black River Tribune in Ludlow, which has since closed.

I also did some freelance photography for extra money, mostly weddings. I found taking wedding pictures fairly easy, or at least it was in the 1980s, because pretty much all weddings are the same even though everybody thinks their wedding is different from everybody else’s wedding. It isn’t. I glad I no longer take wedding pictures. They photo sessions have gotten awful cornball. I’m not a big fan of the couple’s face reflected in the wine glass or the sunset behind the loving couple who are standing in the doorway of a barn. For the most part I did fine although one time a bar was celebrating its 25th anniversary and they hired me to take pictures. To celebrate they passed out free Schnapps. I drank too much. When I loaded my camera I didn’t attached the film securely so when I turned the dial to advance the film nothing was happening but I was too drunk to notice. Fortunately, there were no Yelp reviews back then.

I stuck with film way too long. I switched to digital when I retired in 2016. Why I waited so long, I don’t know, except for the fact that I am stubborn boomer. Digital is so much easier and so much cheaper. I still hear defense of film – the quality is higher, the reprints are sharper, blah, blah, blah. That may have been true a few years ago but not anymore. I have two film cameras in my closet. I paid about $600 for each camera. I think they are worth about $20 now, maybe nothing.

The pictures I take now are mostly taken when I am hiking or kayaking.

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