Saturday, January 20, 2018

December 27, 2016

As far as digital photography goes, My father liked the 4 and 8 GB Compact Flash cards. They would allow him to shoot about 75 to 200 RAW exposures.  They were cheap, and easy to come by, and he had about a million of them.  I love having 32GB SD cards. They bring back memories of the past. See, I have a 24.2 megapixel Nikon D600, and when I put a 32GB card in it, it says I have 590 RAW exposures, but when I get 620 images on one, it still says I have 100 more. So, I could feasibly get 720 images on one 32GB SD card. I know it’s kind of stupid to fill up an SD card, and I have never done it. But, 720 is kind of a magic number for me. We used to travel with 20 rolls of Kodachrome 64 still in the cellophane sleeve they came in. If you multiply 36 exposures by 20…you get 720. My camera case had a film compartment that could take 2 sleeves. 20 rolls of Kodachrome 64, and 20 rolls of Kodachrome 200. 

Of course, we would have to have other film. I would always make sure and take a few rolls of T-Max 3200, because with an ISO of 3200 the X-ray would damage that film and it would force a hand check. And we were all about the hand check. 

See, back in the film days, airport security wanted to send film through the X-ray. They said it wouldn’t hurt anything. And it was true, they got the X-ray high tech enough that one pass wouldn’t really effect normal film much at all. That wasn’t what made us nervous. It was that we might have to go out of the secure area if a connecting flight was in the mix, so film might be subjected to two or three passes through the X-ray on the way back in, and then we had the return trip to worry about. Every time it went under the invisible radiation, past once, it would take a little bit more off the edge of the contrast, the saturation, and the shadow detail. 

So, it was very important to have, first, at least one roll of T-Max 3200. Second, as much of your film still in factory sealed cellophane sleeves, because that would be one object instead of twenty. Third, for any single rolls you might be carrying, keep them in the boxes they came in. 

This is the stuff we loved talking about. Film speeds, X-ray technology, and ways around it.

My father, and Gene Hattori devised taking many Fuji Film translucent plastic 35mm film containers and hot-glueing them together. If two were glued together bottom to bottom, and then several of those were glued together side to side to side, they looked like some sort of ammo clip or something. But the film can be plainly seen through the containers. Dad and I both bought hot glue guns. We made groups of four, six, eight, ten, and twelve. My dad liked the clips of 4, I liked the clips of 8, and Gene, he liked 12. They made it through security great, much faster to hand check than individual rolls.

This was back when it was called Airport Security, not TSA. Back when it was not mandatory to be checked in an hour before the flight.

My dad ran about an hour late on average. I remember trips with my father like Indiana Jones movies. First the was Raiders of the Lost Gate, then there was Airport of Doom, then The Last Convention, and finally the Kingdom of the Nikkor Lens. They all had the same exact plot line, we arrived at the airport five minutes before or five minutes after our plane was supposed to board. We had to have our film hand checked at security, then race to the gate. Honest to God, when I picture my dad moving through the airport, he’s swinging on the rafters from his whip. And honestly, I think if he could have gotten a whip through security, and there were rafters to swing from, and it would have got him to the gate any faster, he would have travelled that way. 

See, I think dad loved the rush of the hurry. Before, 9/11, dad seldom missed flights. Oh, he was always late. Always. I remember once, dad was late making it through security, having his film hand checked. We made it to the gate only to watch the plane back up to take off. He ran up to the gate desk and talked to the gate people. As I remember it, because it was security’s fault that we missed the flight, or that’s how dad put it…unbelievably, the plane returned to the gate to get us. In fact the first time he flew after 2001, and he had to be there, by law, an hour early, I remember him sitting at the gate with a big frown on his face. 

I asked him, “What’s wrong?”

He said, “I don’t understand this at all. What do they expect me to do for an hour, just sit here?

Now, I can’t put a 32GB SD card in my camera without thinking about that time in my life. It makes me smile. Seriously, swinging from his whip…probably yodeling.

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