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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Saturday, April 04, 2009


I think it was yesterday in DVM’s Wife’s post (Sky Watch Friday) that she spoke of cameras and her love of photography. She went on to ask about the possibility of sharing her experiences with a camera with the rest of us. I think we have a LOT of photo nuts out there and I am anxious for us to be able to share experiences and tips.

And while none of you asked for it, because I can be selfish and controlling (and this is my blog!), I’m going to share how and when I became interested in photography and I hope the rest of you will do the same.

I think I was a Jr. in high school (so that has been a LONG time ago considering I graduated in 1970!) when my Dad decided to take up photography. Dad never did anything in a small way. He started out with one Haselblad and the big old heavy over the shoulder battery pack and a Leica…WAY BEFORE DIGITAL WAS EVER A THOUGHT. He turned his old shop into a portrait studio and the rest of the shop into a dark room for developing black and whites. I’m sure he must have taken classes but I don’t remember. I just remember HIM trying to teach ME all about light meters, fstops and aperture.

I learned how to develop film and make photos (again, just black and white). I also learned that I did not grab the concept of fstops and I did NOT enjoy shooting people but that was the business. He got Mom involved too so many times they were away photographing weddings. Once in a while I would get to be the 2nd photographer, but it seemed a lot of people were uncomfortable with a teenager being part the photo team shooting their wedding (and probably because I did NOT enjoy that part, it showed). I think our biggest “claim to fame” was being the official photographers of the Miss Michigan pageant which was held in Muskegon. I don’t remember what year it was, but I DID enjoy that job. It meant I got to wear a pass and be ‘back stage’ where all the excitement was, where the contestants primped, took naps, nursed headaches, etc. It also meant that we had special seats close to the stage so we could get the shots needed. By this time Dad had 2 Haselblads and 2 battery packs so we worked in tandem; he’d fire a shot, then I would. This way it gave our packs time to ‘catch up’ so they would fire for the next shot.

I’m not quite sure why Dad had a dark room for b & w’s because most everything I can remember that we shot was in color. There did come a time though that I remember Mom doing oil portraits from black and white photos. And there was something that I had taken up which required b & w photos. I can’t remember if there was a name for it, but it involved using a b & w photo with a matte finish (which you managed to obtain by how you ran the photo through the dryer…or was it a combination of that and the paper??). Anyway, with this b & w photo, I took a quill pen, dipped it in black ink and then outlined or filled in the portions of the shot that I wanted to “draw”. After the ink had completely dried, then the photo went to the dark room because that is where the pans and chemicals were. As I recall the photo was then put through a bath of potassium ferricyanide and I think I alternated it with a bath of water but I can’t remember. Anyway, the end result was the photo disappeared but the ink “drawing” remained. It was kind of a neat thing, especially with flowers (not so good for people as far as I was concerned!)

I don’t remember when Dad decided to sell Magi Photography and the equipment, but I think it was a bit after I graduated from high school.

My only cameras between then and in 1986 were plain old instamatic types. I still enjoyed photography, but it was mainly about scenery, my horse, sunsets, and later on my baby daughter.

A year after Dan and I married, we planned a trip out west so I bought my Canon 35mm and managed to really develop my interest in scenic photography…nothing fancy, just to please my tastes.

So that is how I got started. I guess that is one thing I can really thank my Dad for…even though I still don’t get fstops!


  1. Creativity runs in your family. I really know nothing about photography for my blog other than just inserting my digital pics into the blog. I want to learn about some of the more advanced methods using a web site. I have no idea what Flcker is either! Should I?

  2. I haven't grown fond of Flick'r (I guess the best definition of it is a photo sharing website...go to www.flick'r.com and you can read about it)but I know a LOT of people use it and swear by it. Maybe I just need to use it more. There must be larger advantages to it than I am realizing. Maybe some of our other readers will have input.

    I enjoy your blog very much, with or without photos!

  3. How interesting.
    Now, what the hell is an f-stop?
    (See, I TOLD you I had a LOT to learn!)
    The only F stop I know is when I was a driving teenager...speeding along...seeing a stop sign too late and yelling: "F-----, StOP!)
    Anything the two of you can share about your beautiful photography would be a delight!

  4. Anonymous4:31 PM

    Wow! Cathy! I didn't realize that you had such a long background in photography. NO wonder your pictures look so good! Myself , I started with a baby brownie camera when I was 8 and have always been a camera buff since then. Strangely, I took a college course in photography when I lived in Nevada and it was fun( I took it with a friend and we did a lot of giggling in the dark room) but by the end of the course I was much less excited about photography than I had been before. It was having to do the assignment each week. I guess I like to shoot what appeals to me which isn't always what is "photographicly correct". When digital came around what a great new world! Love it! Anyway, I am finding being a photographer in retirement and mixing with others who are much more accomplished and being considered part of the local arts community here so exciting and so much fun. And when someone really likes a piece that I have done, that is a real kick. Our FeVa Fotos motto is "Share the Joy" and that is really what it is all about.

    As for Flickr, I find it an interesting place to be. We are on Flickr as FeVa Fotos. It is easy to use and nice to get the feedback. It is so huge. . that I find that I can easily spend hours browsing photography instead of doing more useful things!


  5. Retired One, you NEVER cease to crack me up! There are huge, long drawn out definitions of f stop and I'm putting a smidgeon of it here for you. I got it from a website titled A TEDIUS EXPLANATION OF F STOP...ALL THE GORY DETAILS. Here is a snippet of it;
    Photographers set their exposure using a combination of shutter speeds and f/stops to get the correct amount of light on the film (or sensor--this all works for digital too). The shutter speed regulates how long the film is exposed to light coming through the lens. The f/stop regulates how much light is allowed through the lens by varying the area of the hole the light comes through. For any given film speed and lighting combination there is one correct amount of light for the proper exposure. This amount of light can be achieved with many different combinations of f/stops and shutter speeds.

    I think I have so much trouble with it because I'm left handed (hence left brained for most stuff) and because I suck at math! It is bass ackwards for me!

  6. Sandy, AH...memories of the dark room...and trying to show my boyfriend what actually can develop. I was fortunate to have had those experiences and I'm sure that was what got me interested in photography.

    A BROWNIE!!?? WOW!! That is a while ago!

    I DO enjoy your Flick'r site and the photos. I got started with it due to posting snowmobile trail shots for the report that I did. But this past winter, I just didn't dare be outside to get those shots. I may have to get into Flick'r again. I do however like my Google web albums. Those are public too (well mine are anyway).

  7. SANDY!!!! OMG!!!! I just re-read what I commented back to you and it sure didn't come out the way I intended! It IS actually kind of funny,but I didn't mean my experiences in the dark room with my boyfriend were fortunate and got me interested in photography! HA!

  8. Oh you ladies are way too funny. I laughed so hard just now after reading what else Fstop means! Too funny!
    Cathy, it is so interesting to read about all the photography in your family. Course now digital photography has changed what used to be "photography". I think we have it so easy now with these digital cameras. I can't imagine ever going back to film, although I am tempted to try and see how I do, knowing what I know now.
    Once you figure out Flickr, you'll be addicted and become a student of FlickrU. There probably is a forum for your type of camera!

  9. DVM's Wife..I can't imagaine going back either! The last time I used my 35mm was in 2004 (and I think I posted about that trip out west and how disappointed I was in the shots). The trip in 2004 was the first time I'd had a chance to really use my first digital (which I still have) and it is "only" an Olympus D-560 zoom, so just a point and shoot. But it took good shots. When we took our trip this fall and went on the train ride through the gorge at Big South Fork, I ended up using the small digital because I couldn't focus fast enough with the larger one (and it was WAY too bumpy to NOT use a point and shoot)

    Maybe you have posted it before, but what do you use?


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