In the Old Days…

I used the same setup but with a telephoto. Rugged Canon F-1 with a 250 exposure back.  Heap of moolah back then.

In the “old days”, we shot with 35mm cameras that used something called…film.

You loaded your own bulk film if you shot a lot.

You manipulated something called “ASA”.

You had to meter the light and set your shutter speed and f/stop.

There was no auto focus.

Me on the left with my motor driven Canon F-1 dangling from my shoulder. This was my mom and aunt’s war time refuge in the town of Fukui. At my relative’s home.

The cameras were made out of steel with metal gears – weighed a ton…especially if you carried an external motor drive with EIGHT AA batteries.

You developed your negatives at home – according to temperature.

Processing tanks. For 250 exposure lengths, I used a tub.

There was no “Photoshop”.  You used an enlarger and “dodged” and “burned” your prints to make corrections.

You all have it easy now.  Well, I guess me too.


Just for memory’s sake (and my ego), here are two of my award-winning sports shots from 1972.  From one statewide photo contest.  These are surviving test prints, i.e., boo-boo prints that had been stashed away by luck. 🙂

The final prints – from the best printing efforts – were mounted and submitted.

Available light (and lighting was poor, believe me).  I didn’t use flash as I felt it distracted the players trying their best to win.

Exposed Tri-X at 2400 ASA and “cooked” the negatives in HC-110 replenisher.  Brutal stuff.

I usually shot from the stands, rim level, for a different perspective.

You had to anticipate the play and pre-focus.

And some luck.


1st Place

Recently scanned and unretouched. That’ll be cheating now, wouldn’t it?

Honorable Mention:


Not bad for not having taken photo classes.  All self-taught.


My ego’s placated…and no criticisms from the pros who might be peeking.

Bad for ego.

17 thoughts on “In the Old Days…”

    1. LOL. I don’t even remember how old I am! But while I carried around a 250 exposure back, I found that clicking off one shot at a time yielded the best results. I used the back so I could get through the game without having to change rolls… Now, I’m just snapping away with my digital… Never was good at anything else besides sports photography so my pictures now amount to nothing more than candids.

  1. Wonderful Mustang.Koji! More, More, More!!!!!

    I don’t know enough about photography to comment about any of the technical stuff you talked about. But I have enjoyed all of your pictures. So I hope there are more.

    1. Well, there aren’t many more…nothing notable, at least, from pre-74. These two prints were shoved in between some stuff that remained in the house and not the garage that got flooded out… 😦

      1. 😦 That truly makes my heart hurt that you lost all of those precious pictures. Though, none are as precious as that little one who accidentally lost them! I have always loved taking pictures. Though I am not good at “photography”. I see what I want a picture of, but am always disappointed in the way the picture turns out. Some day I will take a class on operating cameras. I don’t know how to use the equipment. I will learn, one day. Anyway…I do enjoy your pictures. And the stories behind them.

      1. I understand the dirt broke part. It seems to pop up quite often now days too!!!! 🙂 One more thing. You need to pop the hood on the Tang and get a few shots for a blog post. It’s a guy thing…..

  2. Great shots…that is something I am still working on – action shots. I like the idea of a photo blog…would love to see more of your work.

      1. When I am ready to purchase a new camera I will be in touch, in the mean time as I start looking I will keep that in mind.

  3. Your photography “back in the day” was really quite great! I have several nice old film cameras that I will hold on to, I guess, but I won’t be eager to return to film. I love the flexibility of digital, which works really well for me, since I rarely really know what I’m doing! 🙂 A good camera today takes very nice photos without a particularly talented photographer!

    1. Well, thank you humbly. I did want to continue with sports photography but I only got paid $25 by a newspaper ONLY if my print was used. Not much for six-seven hours of work…especially every Friday night and the Saturday games.

      Somehow, I beg to differ somewhat on with cameras today, you don’t need to be a good photographer. A person with an eye will always get the shot – even with a 99 cent special digital camera. I was never good with lighting. That’s why sports photography was good for me. The event was evenly lit up, whether it be sunlight or artificial.

  4. I sort of miss the old school days. I had darkroom training overseas, courtesy of the Army way back when I was a teenager. Really kewl. Bought my first camera – a Minolta 35mm with a 30-80 zoom – set me back about $800 (PX, Germany). I earned the dough working as a mess hall KP for 75 cents an hour – took a long time.

    The good ol’ days of making a living as a photographer are about gone, it seems – there is so much public content out ‘there’ – and its hard to miss a shot with one of these fancy new digitals when you can burn a hundred shots a second – and it doesn’t cost a dime. Everyone’s a photographer now.

    However, I’ve found that a lot of people are depending too much on their computer skills to make a ‘good shot’. The truly great photos, when they are not luck, are a matter of an artist eye, recognition and/or appreciation of a situation or scene; no photo manipulation later on. That’s how you can tell the great masters. They take one shot and they are done. They know how to frame a subject and pay attention to the background. That kind of stuff. LOL, the stuff I got pounded in my head until I got sick of it, LOL.

    But on the other hand – the digital format has a lot going for it, IMO – and with the higher “ISO” rates, no cost for film – the ability to do on your computer what was once relegated only to artists in darkrooms – it is good. I think.

    We are a visual species, that’s for sure. Have you noticed: more news is in video format (which I hate) instead of an article you can read? There is that, too . . . (frowning).

    Will be interesting to see what develops in the future for sure.

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