Cameras


I was assigned to the Herm from 1969 to 1972. My photographic career began when someone suggested me for Ship's Photographer. I do not know who recommended me, but he changed my life. The Captain was on the admiral track (he made it). He wanted his command on the HERMITAGE documented.

I was sent for a week's training at the NAVPHIBASE photo lab. At the photo lab, I learned about bankruptcy. A second class photographer's mate bragged how after he filed for bankruptcy, he was beseiged with credit card offers. Now that he was broke, his credit was better than ever.

MM3 Nelson A. Rolon and I operated a darkroom in the Athletic Gear Locker. We found a cheap hobby-style enlarger, some cans of Navy developer, old photo paper, a print dryer, and developing trays. We upgraded the lab. Welfare and Recreation funds were used to purchase a Durst enlarger, and new chemicals. We bought our own paper. We developed film and printed photographs we took on board. Most of the photographs in our cruisebook, Horizons, were printed there.
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I received training on the ship's intelligence camera, a Mamiya C-3. This camera was a twin-lens reflex. It is held at the waist and focused through a ground glass. The camera is difficult to focus and slow to set up shots. However, the 2-1/4 inch square negatives are wonderful in the darkroom. My photographs with the Mamiya, often backlit, though often posed, show a starkness absent from my later, more candid photographs.
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Before our Med cruise of November 1970, LTJG Redmond gave me a catalog from Kinephoto, Ltd., in Hong Kong. I purchased a Minolta SRT-101 single lens reflex. This camera was the state of the art, mid-priced camera. Only the light meter was electronic. All other controls were manual. I picked the Minolta for its clean lines. The other mid-priced cameras were the Canon, Pentax and Mamiya-Sekor. They cost about $200. The low price cameras were the Yashica, Ricoh and Petri, which cost about $160. The "Cadillac" was the Nikon, costing about $400. It was heavy and very smoothly engineered. LTJG Goddard, a talented photographer, had one. After three decades and two or three overhauls, the Minolta still takes great photos. I use it for flash and color. It has been my partner for rolls and rolls and rolls of film.


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