Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leif the Photographer

When Leif was in junior high school in Highland Park, he started on four new interests that consumed him, learning to play the electric guitar, building and running radio controlled model cars, computers, and photography. The computer wasn't completely new, since we'd had one in Japan and Hawaii, but it was in Illinois that his interest blossomed and he also began using it for school assignments. I've already written about the RC cars and his guitars.

There was a camera shop in Highland Park that also sold used cameras. I was doing a lot of photography for publication in those days, as well as the usual family photos, and Leif was with me at times when I went to the camera shop to request special processing. My entire family seems to have the photography bug, at least in my generation, and Peter W. has it as well. I think it rubbed off on Leif. He spotted a Minolta 7000 SLR camera that he wanted and lobbied hard to get it as a gift. The set was considerably more expensive than what we usually spent for either Christmas or birthday for our sons, and I wasn't sure that expensive a camera was a good idea for a young teen. However, Leif was very technically savvy, and had some obvious artistic talent, and we wondered whether this might prove to be a really good thing for him. In the end, we made one of our many bargains with him. He would get the camera and the superb MD lens that came with it, one which went from wide angle to a short telephoto, and a flash apparatus as well, but they were for both Christmas and birthday, and he had to work off the remainder of the price that was above our gift budget.

The first couple of years he had the camera, he took quite a few rolls of film. His favorite subjects in those days were cool sports cars, whether seen on the street or at a car show, and our cat, Scamp. He also liked photographing ultramodern architecture. When we moved to Puerto Rico after his freshman year of high school, he photographed his first love, K., when they were on a date, and his friends at a party.

After that, he used the camera less and less and although he kept it, it mostly gathered dust. One reason for that was the cost of film and developing. He did take some pictures of Nikko when they were at Fort Drum, and a few with his army buddies, but after that, he acquired an inexpensive digital camera and the combination of that and his computer made it much easier to take pictures. From that time on, his main subjects were himself, his computers, his guns, his cars and motorcycles, and photos of the two women he was involved with and loved after his divorce. He also liked to take photos and video with his cell phones. I've posted quite a few of his photos on this blog already.

Eventually, when we were moving him to Florida, I asked him whether he wanted to keep the Minolta. He just shrugged. It was plain he wasn't going to use it any longer, and over the years the shoe mount for the flash had gotten cracked, so he thought it wasn't worth anything. I sold it with some camera equipment of mine and Peter W.'s and he was happy with the digital camera he had until it quit working. The last birthday gift we gave him was a new Fuji digital pocket camera he had his eye on, January 27, 2008, when he was here for dinner the day before his birthday. Sadly, in the two-and-a-half months he had it, he hardly used it.

The photos above are of Leif in Puerto Rico with his Minolta 7000 camera in 1992 when he was photographing the Tall Ships coming into San Juan during the celebration of the 500 years since Columbus discovered America, his camera, and one of the photos he took of a Ferrari in December 1986.

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