Monthly Archives: September 2009

Retro Heaven

I was sitting at home minding my own business when a friend called and said he’d found a  local flea market that sold old cameras.  That was really all I needed to hear, then I got the picture he sent from his phone: A wall of old cameras–from box cameras, to movie cameras, SLRs and bakelites. It was amazing! He said he wanted to go back this weekend for a few more things and asked if I wanted to tag along (well, duh!).

Chesapeake Retro Media, located at 314 Centreville Rd in Queenstown, MD is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and has a great collection of not only vintage cameras and old darkroom equipment but also DVDs, VHS tapes (including Beta), reel-to-reel machines and tapes, slides and slide projectors, books, amps, speakers, turntables, instruments, well, you get the picture. I was amazed and impressed by the variety of cameras on display yesterday; lots of 35mm SLRs, some movie cameras, a few fold-outs, a box camera and brands such as Ansco, Argus, Minolta, Voigtlander, Brownie, Zenit and Olympus.

The first camera I decided on was a gold-colored Brownie Bull’s Eye from 1950. It’s made of metal and is quite heavy. Since I have a few Brownies I thought this would be a nice addition to my collection. I was thrilled to find my second camera, the Zenit-E among the mostly American inventory. I’d been searching for one of these SLRs for a few months. The Ansco Ready Flash with the big, metal flash reflector still attached was a no-brainer. It’s lovely little Bakelite body needs a good scrub and will then be ready to go. Lastly I chose the Voigtlander Brillant which I originally thought was a TLR camera but upon further research and inspection proves not to be so. Still, it looks cool and I’ve heard nice things about this camera. It even came with what appear to be two little close-up lenses hidden in a little compartment on the side of the camera. I can’t wait to goof around with some macro-type shots with that one.

4 new cameras

I also picked up a great stiff pleather camera bag for eight bucks that held all four cameras on their journey home, a little Ansco Cadet carrying case in the original box and a stainless steel single reel film developing container with a stainless steel reel inside.

JoAnne, the owner’s wife, was kind enough to give me a phone number where I can contact her husband, whom she says has hundreds of more cameras at home (gasp!!). She said her husband and son get most of the retro media goodies through estate sales (can I tag along next time?). She said if I left the names of some cameras I was interested in finding he’d keep his eye out for me.

As if these goodies weren’t enough the cool Diana Clone (a Mark L) that I ordered from eBay came in the mail today, complete with the original box and instruction booklet, plus–BONUS–a roll of film from 1960-something still inside. There’s one frame left, too!

Mark L

I think I’ll be busy cleaning and testing out my new toys for awhile!


Shout Outs

Big shout out of thanks to Andrew at Fuzzy Eyeballs for giving me the opportunity to share some thoughts on foul weather photography and lo-fi photography. He contacted me a few weeks ago after seeing some of my photos on Flickr and asked to interview me about some of the shots I took in rainy, foggy weather last fall (see the Snow and Fog Pictures and Foggy Picture Practice was worth it!). It was fun to answer his questions and really got me to thinking how most of my favorite shots are from my experimental photo adventures. Most of the photos I ‘plan’ turn out nicely, some even great, but by far most of the works I really love come from seeing what will happen if I try something new. It really served to remind me that experimentation is the only way to get better and further reinforces me to embrace imperfection.

Big shout out #2 to Nic Nichols of Four Corners Dark.com for his candid and spot-on thoughts about Photoshop and it’s place in photography. Nichols helped develop and taught for the University of DE’s digital imaging program. Not credentials you’d expect from an accomplished toy camera photographer. Check out his article, it’ll make you think and give you some encouragement. I’m also VERY thankful he reviewed the new Diana Mini, a camera I was seriously considering buying (with piggy points, but still). Again, another honest article from Nic reminds us of the old saying ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.’

Plastic Rules!


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