Without the Pentax K1000 and Yearbook/Newspaper class in my junior and senior years of high school, my entire life would have been on a completely different path. For better or worse, once my longtime buddy and classmate Brian Story taught me how to use the school's only camera (the K1000), and darkroom techniques, I was hooked for a lifetime!
The Pentax K1000 was the foundation of an entire life of photography. It's amazing how a little 6" piece of well built metal and plastic and mold a human life. It molded mine. It sent me on a path of creativity that, while absent at times, has always been a part of who I am.
Brian and I spent our senior year roaming the high school halls snapping photos of everything that moved (and some that didn't). After all, we weren't paying for the film and darkroom printing supplies, we were shooting for the school newspaper and yearbook, every photo was justified. I learned the basics of photography during that year, and still use some of those learned lessons to this day.
After graduation, I went on to take a photojournalism course in college, but dropped out in my second year to take a job as a sports editor at a very, very, very small newspaper in southern Indiana. I believe my weekly pay was $175, and without the help of my parents, could never have afforded to live on my own. But I learned a lot about writing, editing and photojournalism at that little three-man staffed newspaper, and continued to use those practices throughout the rest of my life as well.
But a dying newspaper industry, and marriage/child, forced me into the radio business (another dying industry some 30 years later), but I've always stayed in touch with my photography passion, even though at times there were gaps of several years between the times I would use my cameras.
Upon re-entering the photography world around 2009, of course digital was all the rage, and appeared to be the most economical way to get back into my beloved hobby. But now, over a decade later, I have become very bored with the digital medium. Of course there is no alternative when talking about commercial work, including real estate, shopping centers, modeling, etc that I'll occassionally do, but when it comes to just personally going out to shoot, the thrill was quickly disappearing.
After finding slight success on my youtube channel during the 2020 covid season with street photography videos using my Ricoh GR III digital APS-C sensor compact camera, I was propelled back into shooting on a regular basis, and was thankful for that outlet. People were responding very enthusiastically to my videos, and still do. It's always an accomplishing feeling to know your work is being viewed by more than your family and handful of friends on facebook.
But even though I'm thankful for the success of my Ricoh videos, and will continue to create those as a creative outlet, as a creator, I need more to keep the creative juices flowing. That's where film has entered the picture, and we've come full circle from those glorious high school days of roaming the halls looking for photos (and girls, let's not hide the real reason!).
Now that I've been around for a little over a half-century, I've learned a lot about life, and am comfortable with my place in this world. I enjoy where I'm at and thankful for the ability to continue to explore my passion for creative outlets. And I have come to enjoy the idea and practice of going to back to film photography, and bringing a bit of that nostalgia back in to my life.
While the still working, 40-year-old Pentax K1000 that I found in my parents' garage a few weeks ago rekindled my interest in film photography, I found that the price of all those great old film cameras to be rock bottom, and incredibly affordable to not only purchase, but purchase in volume and experience with.
A quick search on Ebay will reveal hundreds, and maybe even thousands of working film cameras for under $25. Some with lenses, most not. I've puchased up to eight of these cameras, along with my personal Pentax K1000 and Mamiya ZE (which was also found in my parents' garage), and plan to feature all of these cameras on my youtube channel this year. I started the series with my Pentax K1000, and will continue with a different film camera review video every Friday afternoon.
Notes about the Pentax K1000:
- The Pentax K1000 with a 50mm f/2 lens listed at $154.50 in 1978. Adjusted for inflation, that would cost you $632.12 today.
- Performing a battery check (LR44 batteries) on the Pentax K1000 is done by settings the ASA to 100 and setting the shutter to bulb mode (B). If the battery is good, the meter indicator needle will stay in the up position. If the needle does not stay steady or is not in the up position, replace the battery.
- The Pentax K1000 uses through the lens (TTL) center weighted metering. Metering is done with the lens wide open, which makes focusing easier.