September 6, 2008

John H. Gohde Took Snapshots

Posted in authored by John Gohde tagged , at 6:53 pm by John Gohde

During the tail end of High School John H. Gohde had managed to set up a darkroom of sorts in the basement of his parent’s house.  But it really did not compare to the darkroom that he got to use at college.  Developing your own film and printing pictures from negatives requires a workable darkroom.

John H. Gohde Upgrades Camera

John H. Gohde focused through the lens on his subjects in high school.

John H. Gohde focused through the lens on his subjects in high school.

John H. Gohde upgraded his brownie to a twin-lens  Yashica D 120 size film camera, with 2 and a quarter inch square negatives.  It had a neat Fresnel lens focusing system, that looked similar to the LCD focusing screens of today’s digital cameras.  With this camera everything was adjustable:  F Stop, shutter speed, and focus.  The flash and light meter were separate external units.  In those days of black and light negative photography, a light meter was usually used to manually calculate the correct exposure.  There were also simple rules of thumb that gave suggested exposures for different lighting conditions.

Of course, when you developed your own film correct exposures were not really all that critical. Goofs in film exposure could be corrected when you enlarged your pictures for printing.  And, you actually could push the film speed of ASA 400 film to a couple thousand by using special developers and processing techniques for low light level photography.

John’s parents started to support his photographic activities by building him a darkroom that was basically a small six foot by ten foot box made with two by fours and plywood.  It had a built in “U” shape table along both sides of its length.  It had a real light switch and over head light, but no running water.  There actually was a porcelain two basin sink, but the plumbing was never connected.  There was no door, just a heavy cloth drapery covering at one end.  All of which was built and paid for by his parents.  But, John did paint it with a couple of coats of black paint.

John, also, rigged a cumbersome system of tying 2 large 5 gallon water containers to the ceiling of the darkroom.  But getting those heavy water laden plastic jugs tied to the ceiling was quite a struggle.  John’s system of getting running water never did quite work out.  So, he usually ended washing his prints in the bathroom sink.

John H. Gohde Took Snapshots In High School

In High School John took pictures of his family, especially his baby sister who was born when he was 12 years old.  And, of his Boy Scout troop.

John H. Gohde got a cheap enlarger for 2 and a quarter inch negatives.  And, a number of different easels.  The adjustable “L” shape scissors easel really wasn’t very good.  As the margins on his developed pictures were never quite straight.  So, John H. Gohde preferred to used fixed size easels of various different standard sizes, such as 5 x 7 and 8 x 10.  With these you simply slipped a sheet of photographic paper into them and you ended up with a white margin around the edge of the picture which was quite popular for snapshots in those days.

All and all, John H. Gohde did not get very serious about photography until he went to college.



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