Brian’s Photographic Journey — Part 1: 1975
My photographic journey has lasted for about 44 years now, and has taken numerous interesting twists and turns. Over the decades, I have had numerous high-tech and low-tech tools at my disposal to help me capture and express my artistic vision.
I really like a line that the Santa Maria Camera Club put on their Web site: "all the members are legends in their own minds and world famous at home." That pretty much sums up my life as a wanna-be photographer! Ah well — I do what I can, and let the photographs speak for themselves.
As I was going through a box of my old photos recently, I came across some 3½ inch square pictures. My memory is very hazy, but I believe that my parents gave me some sort of Kodak Instamatic camera when I was 13 or 14 years old. I still have a stack of photos I took with this camera at various locations in California: San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, the Freedom Train in Santa Barbara, the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant (my old photo to the right — a composite of two separate pictures) near Avila Beach, my family in Santa Maria and Riverside, my pets, Disneyland in Anaheim. I would estimate that these photos were taken sometime during 1975 and maybe into 1976.
Around this same time, when I was in junior high, two things happened which began to fuel the fire of photographic passion. The first catalyst was a photography class I took at school. Can you believe it? I don't think a junior high would ever offer a class like that these days! I don't remember if it was a special after-school class or during normal class hours. But I do recall that it was a great class, I learned a lot, and I really liked it.
The second event was my being given a new camera. And not just any old cheap, junky, boxy camera. No, this one was really cool! And definitely a step up from my Instamatic. My uncle Jerry was an air force pilot and used to travel overseas. On one of his trips he picked up a Minolta 16 II "spy" camera. I'm not sure who he gave it to — my dad, or grandfather, or someone. Whoever it was decided to give it to me, probably because of the photography class I was taking.
This photo of my sister, Kristin, is one of the first photos I took with my new little "spy" camera. As you can see from the photo to the right, which shows the camera in its extended, picture-taking mode, it really is pretty tiny. When the extended part is pushed back into the camera, it is miniature indeed! I started bringing the camera to school, taking photos of my friends and teachers. It was an exciting way to get started on the adventure of photography.

But, as typical with us humans, it wasn't long before I started longing for "more!" A better camera — a real SLR! — was my dream, but was that a dream that would ever come true, or was it totally out of reach for a 14-year-old kid?

Continue on to Part 2: 19761985 to find out!