Classic Cameras

It's taken me about six years of buying and selling and lots of trial and error to final settle in with a collection of classic film cameras that I enjoy using. When the weekend comes, I feel like the wealthy guy who has a garage full of classic cars--"Let's see, which one will I drive today?" My investment in vintage Nikon, Pentax, Canon and even Leica is modest in comparison to classic car collecting, but the hobby gives me priceless pleasure and satisfaction.

One Sunday a few weeks back, I headed up the Northern California coast a bit to Salmon Creek. Word around town was that a fishing boat had washed ashore on the beach there and I thought it might make a good photographic subject. I went to my "camera garage" and pulled out the Nikon F2A and 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor lens. The 1.8 is probably the most common manual focus normal Nikon lens and the least expensive, but I have always found it to be very sharp. Some of my favorite images have been shot with this lens.

The beached fishing boat was just a short walk from the parking lot at Salmon Creek. The day was nice enough, so I slipped off my sneakers and sunk my feet into the warm sand as I scrambled over the dune to the beach.

I'm used to seeing lots of fishing boats like this one at Spud Point Marina in Bodega Bay. It was startling to see the sad Verna A II sunk into the sand, listing to port.

 Beached Fishing Boat, Salmon Creek, Sonoma Coast

Beached Fishing Boat, Salmon Creek, Sonoma Coast

It was nice day and the beach was crowded. I am sure many of the people who came out to enjoy an early Autumn walk along the coast were surprised to see this boat stuck in the sand. It was hard to get a shot without lots of onlookers in the frame.

 The Verna A II, home port Fort Bragg, CA

The Verna A II, home port Fort Bragg, CA

This was the first roll of film I had run through my Nikon F2A since getting her back from a Sover Wong tune-up. I think the F2A's old meter did a pretty good job helping me with my exposures on this slightly hazy day. The afternoon was perfect--a slight breeze and warm sunshine. I wandered down the beach and clicked off a few more frames of Tmax 100.

I feel that I am in sort of sweet spot now in my film photography hobby. I have a "garage" full of working vintage cameras, most of which have been restored to as designed functionality. It's fun to pick up a camera I haven't used in a while and get to know it again. While not as thrilling as taking a classic Porsche or an old American muscle car for a Sunday spin, my little collection of old cameras has provided hours of fun.