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The Early Years – 1978

Orchard, Randolph Center, VT Copyright Andy Richards 1978

Orchard, Randolph Center, VT
Copyright Andy Richards 1978

As I noted in my last blog, I shot in the 1970’s with a couple different “fundamental” SLR cameras; my dad’s all manual (I mean really manual) Asahiflex and a Canon “automatic” TX.  While I made a number of images with both of them, only 2 (one from each body) reside in my digitally-scanned archives.

The Orchard in Randolph Center, Vermont, was somewhere on campus at Vermont Technical College, where my math professor, John Knox, inspired me to pick up the camera and begin shooting.  While the image shows many hallmarks of a “newbie” amateur, there are some elements of decent composition.  One of the things I remember about the images made with the Asahiflex camera was how great the color rendition and sharpness was from the Kogaku Takumar lenses, wonderfully built with stainless steel bodies, small (but heavy) size, and great, sharp, contrasty glass.  Both images were made with Kodak’s Kodachrome 25 color transparency film (my film of choice for many years).

By contrast (and surprisingly, as Canon lenses are currently highly regarded), the Canon did not seem to render as nicely, in either sharpness or detail.  And the color was even less accurate on most of the images made with this camera-lens combination.

Canon TX Kodachrome 25 Canon 50mm Slides - Scenic Vol. 1 #14

Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 1978

The image here was made in Stowe, Vermont, at the famous Trapp Family Lodge.  The second image illustrates a regret, and a takeaway from modern digital development.  I used to be pretty heartless about culling my own images (which means, to my regret, that some of the technically poor results might have been salvaged today, if I’d had the foresight to keep them).  Today, I am very much less so.  Part of this is because of the ease and relatively low cost of digital storage.  But a large part is because with every advance in digital imagery and post processing technology, there is more of a chance to “salvage” an image that might not have been a keeper.

Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 1978

Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 1978 Color corrected with NIK Viveza

The Stowe image – while not a glowing example – is nonetheless, an example.  The shot was taken in relatively harsh, early afternoon light.  The color suffers, as well as the quality of light.  The fix – done with Google’s NIK Viveza – doesn’t transform the image into an award-winning, magazine cover.  But it does illustrate the ability of digital post-processing to do things that traditional wet darkroom processing was essentially incapable of.

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