Before Digital

Before digital there was film.

Film was a little roll of negatives, tightly wrapped and protected from the light, which slipped into a camera and advanced around a spool as you pushed the button. If you want to know more about negatives, I suggest you ask your parents or look up the word and the process on the Internet.
Negatives look like little, tiny x-rays, if that helps at all.
Also, you keep negatives, which you can use over and over to print more photographs. That is what we used to do but today that might be problematic.
Today, most photo development is from digital files.

I primarily bought Fuji Film in those days but now and then Kodak film.
Film was limited in most cases to 24 pictures per roll and could be purchased as either color or black and white film. If you used black and white film, that is the only way the photographs could be processed.
When all of the pictures on the roll had been taken the camera wound the roll to the end and you slipped the finished roll out of the camera and took it to the store to be processed. If you opened your camera before the roll was all used and had re-wound, the whole roll would be ruined by the light.
Sometimes the stores that  people went to to have their film “developed” were made entirely for photographic things. Such was the case with Inkley’s which was my favorite place to go.
I took many rolls of film to Inkley’s.
Stores like K-Mart had their own photo-processing operations and did a fairly good job. If you had used color film, you could choose to have your pictures processed as color, black and white or sepia.
This explanation leads me to share with you some of my favorite story-telling photographs from the year 2006, which, if you do the math and I expect you to become better and better at doing the math, is thirteen years ago.
Once again, as I expressed in a previous post titled Who Are They?, I love the quality of photographs taken with film as much or maybe more than those taken through a digital process.
There is something very crisp and serious about the way they look.
It might be that if I didn’t know the difference and you showed me digital versus film prints I wouldn’t be able to tell which was which.
See what you think.

A Day at the Great Salt Lake-2006

Grandpa, Talmage and Ivy

We used to take our children to The Great Salt Lake and that is why we also love taking our grandchildren.
We take treats and clean water in old milk cartons along with floaties and chairs. We take insect repellent and sunscreen. We take buckets and shovels and sometimes an umbrella.
Time was when the lake was higher and access to the water was closer from the rock-lined shore. These photographs were taken at the base of Black Rock, which used to be a favorite resort in its day and now is still fun to climb.
It is very fun to go there and walk along the vast sand beach to get to the water but, the lake has changed its look a million times and likely will again. Some say the lake is dying and I agree that is certainly low right now. I hope to see it’s beauty for the rest of my life and I hope you will see it for the rest of yours.
On this day I took many photographs and made a book about the day. I scanned the photos in the book to make this post possible.
The original photos were processed by Inkley’s and are 8×8 inches in size. Time was when there were many Inkley’s stores but today there is only one in our area and it is in Salt Lake City.
I used color film in my camera but selected sepia when I took the film for processing.

Grandpa and Talmage

The photograph above became one of Grandpa’s favorites.
He made a watercolor painting of it. If you have never been to this incredible lake, I will tell you that it can be a magical and enchanting place, especially in the evening.
Even though the water looks deep and rough in this photograph, it was fun to walk in and very shallow for a very long distance. That is one of the magical things about The Great Salt Lake. The beach is so gradual that you can walk great distances into the water and find it barely reaching to your waist.

Zane and Ivy

I will remind you why we take a lot of clean water to the lake.
It is because the water is VERY salty. After you have been in it for a short time, your clothes become stiff with salt. If you have a cut or get lake water in your eyes, you will beg for clean water to wash with.
In the “old” days when Grandpa and I were young, the beaches were dotted with wonderful buildings and showers so that before you went home you went into a little beach-side dressing booth to change your clothes. People could ride a train named the Bamburger Express from downtown Salt Lake City to the various beach resorts.
Grandpa and I both remember riding that train as little children.
(Parents brought clean clothes for children.)

Zane and Talmage

I never could get Talmage to take off his camo top.
He did shed his shorts in favor of underwear when his shorts became too stiff to wear but for some reason he loved his little jacket too much. It made me hot but he insisted that he was just right and who can argue with that.
Now and then Talmage would glance at his older cousin and do exactly what Zane did. That is the wonder and value of photography. You do get to capture time in a bottle. That is how I feel now when I look back to this day.

Grandpa and Talmage

Water and sand equals mud. Add salt and it equals SALT DOUGH.

Here is  salty water being carried to a particular spot where Talmage made a muddy track for his matchbox cars.

We used a can of sunscreen that day.

Just this morning, the local newspaper carried an article about the future of the lake.
Down 8 feet from the time when the pioneers first saw it and recorded its size and depth, its decline threatens to disrupt a very fragile ecosystem of creatures like migratory birds and may risk industries dependent upon the lake’s salty waters.
Businesses dependent on and related to the lake funnel 3.5 billion dollars per year into the state economy.
I hope this post is both a fond look back and a local history lesson.

Life is good at the lake.


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