Today’s post is part of my continuing effort to show my British 35mmc colleagues that California is not all freeways and rapidly built neighborhoods. There are pockets of history here, if you know where to look! Your local pub may predate the Magna Carta, but we have our own gems here and there.
Agfa film running through an Agfa camera, once quite common, is now increasingly rare as stocks of the film dwindle and the cameras fall into disrepair. But with help from my daughter, I was able to make this rare pairing once again.
This post began a few months ago as my daughter was walking around her neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, looking for yard sales (like a “boot sale” in England, but held in the front yard or garage of the home). At one sale, Sarah came across several large plastic bins full of film, all supposedly stored in a freezer until they ended up on sale for a very low price ($4 US per roll). There were dozens of rolls, color and black and white, from various manufacturers. She quickly texted me a photo, and I just as quickly called her back and asked her to buy ten rolls of 35mm color film for me.
Let me start by admitting that here in California we have a slightly different view of what is “historic” than our fellow 35MMC readers in England and the rest of Europe. Where I live in Northern California, anything more than 50 years old is considered old. A building 100 years old is really old… the state of California, after all, as existed for just over 170 years.
Readers in England, no doubt, are thinking, “My local pub is older than that!” True enough, but here in California we value what history we have.
I’ve been going to Disneyland in Southern California for… well, for a while. Suffice to say that when I started going with friends in high school, digital photography was decades in the future and if we took pictures, we used film.
My wife and I still enjoy Disneyland, and we try to get there as often as we can. A trip in 2020 was cancelled due to COVID, but in 2021 we got vaccinated, the park opened again, and we set off again for Anaheim, CA.
When we packed, I put several film cameras in my bag. It seemed right to focus such an iconic place on film, the way I did as a kid.
Apart from photography, cycling – and especially cycling long distances – has been a passion of mine for most of my life. I discovered early on that I enjoyed setting ambitious goals of riding 100, 200 or more miles in a day, and I’ve been doing it ever since. For most of those rides, I’ve carried a camera. I started with disposable film cameras in the 1980s, transitioned to digital cameras, and now have swung back to film cameras. I’ve probably taken thousands of pictures, many of which in the past would prompt my wife to say something like, “Oh, another picture of a road. How nice.”
These days, my rides have grown to include more photography, and I’ve striven to take photos of more than just the road in front of me. As I tell my friends, cycling nowadays is half riding, half art project. I process the film at home after the ride, and share the memories with friends and on Instagram.