I started my picture taking with some sort of Instamatic with the rotating cube for a flash. I may have even used a Brownie at one time or another but it didn't belong to my family. The Instamatics were like a 35mm film camera except you put your film cartridge in as a unit. You could see the progression of frames in a little window in the back lid that opened for the loading. These cameras progressed to built in flashes so the cubes went to wayside.
My dad went to England on a TDY mission (Temporary Duty Yonder) for those that aren't military, and brought back with him two Petri 7 English 35mm cameras. One for himself and one for my brother who was showing interest in photography. My brother actually got pretty good. He set up his camera for night shots and took the cars going by our house at night. He even got into taking pictures, not with this camera, in one of those small hobby rocket kits. It launched and when out of fuel it would start to fall to earth where a parachute would deploy and the jerk would pull a lever and a camera in the nose would work. He also sent a mouse up once. It lived but if my memory serves me correctly, it got away. I've never seen a mouse run that fast.
Well, somehow I ended up with one of the Petri's. I believe it was my brothers. He ended up in the middle east after college so I just kind of took it over. The first time I used it I took it to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car track west of Lexington, OH. I had never been there and had never taken pictures of moving cars. A school buddy of mine owned a Fiat 124 Spyder invited me to go. SCCA races the old Camel GT and Can Am series were running there.
There weren't' any attachments, at least that we had, at the time for the camera. Mid-Ohio is over 2.25 miles plus long and you can see most of the track from the infield. There was a decreasing radius turn that was difficult to get to but there was plenty more track to see. The problem would be the distance for the lens. Still, I got some pretty good if not amazing shots for such a rookie. For economics, most of my pictures were on slides. You only paid for the processing of the film, not putting the picture on paper. You could really get low numbers in your ISO film. I think mine was 64 and yet you could still get good action photos. It's been 38 years since the first ones were taken. Long forgotten and poor storage left the 38 year old pictures rendered useless. The film deteriorated to where they turned black. I had pictures of Jackie Stewart, George Fullmer and Mark Donahue (deceased). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Donohue
His son David just won the Le Mans this past summer. I had some, what I would call, really good pictures of the Porsche 917 in action. Possibly the fastest track car ever. Totally unlimited of restrictions like today.
I moved up from the Petri 7 to a Canon AE-1 that my brother brought home with him in 1980. He got it in Egypt of some other middle eastern country while stationed there.
I used this camera until my daughter went to college. I had gotten a telephoto lens and a multiplier lens for it as well as a bounce flash. In her second year of college she needed a camera for class. She was a graphic design major. I gave her my camera and for that I got a total surprise, my wife bought me a Canon Rebel Xti. I couldn't believe the weight difference. I added a telephoto macro lens and a flash to this one also. My daughter got me a filter, which I knew nothing about, but she was a good student and helped me. She still has the AE-1 but I do not have the Rebel or any other part of it.
About a year and a half ago I went to a local camera shop and bought the digital version of my Rebel. 10 mega pixels, I waited for this camera to come out. The reason, I was able to use my film lenses on this camera so I kept my costs down. Everything transferred that I needed. This camera however has a built in flash. That is convenient but I like the bounce better. More control. Yea, this camera also has a hot shoe so either one can be used.
This past summer I went to Mid-Ohio again. This time with the digital and all the gear. Lug, lug. Camera bag, two lenses, mono pod, umbrella (it rained off and on), food and drink because the car can be a long ways off. Great time but I'm an amateur, not a track photographer with the vest and three cameras banging together to take shots.
A couple of weeks ago one of the local camera shops had a three day sale, with vendors on site. I had just read about an all in one lens that covered my two lenses plus some. I took my camera and lenses to do the comparo thing. Yea for me. I thought about the Canon lens but wound up getting the new Tamaron 18.0- 270mm http://www.tamron.com/B003special/index.html. In film it equates to an 18mm /410mm. It is a macro so I can take pictures as close as 19" from the center of the camera body to the object. It even has a anti shake for the semi long hand held exposures. You can turn this on or off, heck, mine is always on. I'm older, I have to do the breath and hold, or in my case let it out, to steady myself more today that in days past. I really love this lens. I am just getting use to it and it has made me do more reading and experimenting with my camera than ever before. I now want to learn my camera. I have been looking for places to actually take some courses in photography. I may even join a photo club.
I will post some shots on this site starting today. What is real interesting with digital is that you can edit what you took if it didnt' come out the way you wanted it to or you want to make some changes. You can enhance to picture to the way you thought you saw it. Here, I need to acknowledge my son-in-law. He's an industrial designer and graphic designer with a world of talent. He sat down with me while visiting one day and showed me shortcuts and how to's in 30 minutes that have been so much help. I'll bend his ear again and show him some stuff and let him advance me some more.