Tales of the Trip


Shot 87 or 90 rolls of film, depending on whether I lost three rolls or merely mistotaled. All were 100 ASA, 'cept for a few 200's that sneaked in. (Four, maybe five rolls.) All were also Fuji film, purchased primarily at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or Target. (And one rural grocery store in Anne Arundal County, Maryland.) Processing was split between Target one-hour (four rolls only) and Sam's Club three-day (the rest). The latter were further divvied up between three Raleigh-area stores, to minimize the risk of mass-loss. (Used address labels on the envelopes. Usually use 'em on the individual rolls as well. Didn't have enough.) Written on the Target envelopes was note noting apparent heat damage. This isn't a surprise. The Great Grape lacked a trunk and the Great Grape's driver, moi, lacked the foresight to store the film in the coolest place possible. (Many of the spent rolls were mailed from the road and, perhaps, exposed to high temps during the postal process.)

The camera was borrowed-- an older, 35mm, auto-focus SLR with three lenses-- a 28mm wide, a 35-70mm "regular" zoom, and a something-mm "long" zoom. Most of the snaps were shot with the first two. The pictures also "got better" as they went. Yours Point-and-Shoot had never used an SLR before, so there was a learning curve to contend. Invariably, I'd leave the manual focus switched on. Or not attach a lens properly. Or, as happened halfway through the road trip, got some sticky stuff on the internal shutter mechanism, resulting in a regrettable number of "wasted shots." (If anyone can recommend a camera-cleaning establishment in the Raleigh area, please drop a line.) A flash attachment was used for incidental indoor shots-- at the Seattle Zoo, while poking around firehouses, or inside Cousin Kathi's super-photogenic log-home in Provo, Utah. And, considering the film speed, they turned out okay. Maybe a bit dark.

Early-morning and late-afternoon outdoor shots were less successful. Any shadows or shady areas appeared much harsher in the prints. Also shot several rolls while driving, the camera pointed straight ahead and Yours Risk-Taking using the viewfinder to steer. They turned out splendid and with very little window distortion. Especially the Utah shots. (Also mastered a "side shooting" technique, using my left eye to shoot while my right eye remained open, watching the road.) Had equally near-uniform success with a dozen-or-so panoramas, where I spun and snapped and made accompanying sound-effects. Or, in the case of Seattle's Space Needle, walked the circumference while shooting as close as possible to the same height and angle each time. It worked. Developing costs totaled $310. Film another $120. Photo albums another $55. "Booked" about 900 of the 2088 snapshots. That's one out of every two-point-three. Nope, not a bad ratio at all.

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros


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Copyright 2020 by Michael J. Legeros