While going through some boxes recently, I ran across some of my old photographs that I had taken and photographs that I was in.
Growing up, we always had some sort of camera in the household, whether it was a Polaroid instant camera or a 35 mm camera or for that matter even a movie camera. My parents loved to take photographs – and I am glad that they did. Photographs capture a lot of memories.
I remember one summer we traveled to Washington D.C. – when Jimmy Carter was president. I was around 7 years old and I remember going to some of the monuments such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington Cemetery. That was the summer that my father decided to start growing a beard. There is a picture of Greg and I standing by tourist attraction with Dad.
Birthdays were always a great event in the Higdon household. Mom would be cutting the cake, family and presents lined the tables as Greg and I would carefully – well kind of carefully – unwrap the presents and visit with family. Dad would have two cameras on him, one for still photographs and the other was an 8 mm movie camera.
Once in a while growing up, we would have a movie night, where we would show other family members our photographs and homemade movies of the trips or birthdays. Now the movie camera did not have sound, so we would have to remember what we said.
Getting back to the photos that I have at the house, a few of the trips that I have found included Yellowstone National Park, Gettysburg, of course, Washington D.C., Smoky Mountains, to just name a few. Along with that, there are also school yearbooks, school portraits, to name a few.
Dad would always teach us how to use a camera – and that would help out later on in my career. When I was a senior at East Newton High School, I took a photography class. We took photos, learned about the different styles and even developed black and white film. (Sometimes I can still smell the developing fluid in my mind).
My photography teacher in school was Mrs. Marble and she instilled in us to always carry a camera in our car, because you never know what you might be able to take a photograph of.
One of the worst mistakes that I did was back in 1996. I was in Springfield, Ill., touring Abraham Lincoln’s home and the tour guide stated since it was cloudy outside, we could use flash photography inside the house. You see, prior to taking photographs inside the house, you could not use flash photography, it would cause damage to the wallpaper, which dated back to Lincoln’s time. With 36 photos to take, I snapped everything from the photos on the wall, to furniture to the staircase to well, you name it, I took a photo of. I was impressed. Next stop was the Lincoln Tomb and I took some photos there as well. Now comes the bad part. I looked down and realized that the camera dial registered 38, no, now 39 photos taken. I was ecstatic, I thought that the roll had extra photos available, but then I soon realized the truth. Using my darkroom experience, I went into a bathroom, closed off all lights and windows and slowly opened the back of the camera. You guessed it, the film did not advance and not one photo was taken. Now it was closing time at the Lincoln house and there was no way to race back to the house and take the tour again. Oh well, had to purchase slide photos already done.
I never did take photography in college, but still had a camera in my possession.
Who would have known that in 2003, I would use my skills as a photographer and reporter to work at the Neosho Daily News. Even though we don’t use film for our cameras at the Daily News, I can still remember my darkroom techniques.
On a side note, even though everyone has gone to a digital camera, I still miss my 35 mm camera days.
Todd G. Higdon is a staff writer and writes a weekly column for the Neosho Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter at @toddghigdonNDN