My love of Photography

The Grinning Empress’s History of Photography…

I got my first camera at age 9 from McDonalds. It was a cheap but reusable 110 camera.

LMAO! I just did an image search McDonalds seems to have given out cameras plenty of times, but there are NO pictures of the 110s.

If anyone finds a picture of one from then please share with me!


Closest Stock Photo of “My 110 Camera”

I spent several years buying film, taking pictures, and paying for developing all by myself, so I became very careful about what I’d use my precious film allowance for.

My step-Dad got a big hug from me when he “Upgraded” my camera when I turned 13. During grades 8-12 I used a disc camera that would allow 15 photos, and looked like the film should be used in view-finder toys. It was so unusual that for a while some of my classmates thought I had a brand new state of the art “CD DISK” camera (Do they even exist now?) I had to send the film away to Minneapolis to get developed, and it wasn’t cheap. I was never so frustrated as when the pictures didn’t turn out when I was paying a dollar a print for them. I loved this camera, but I finally reached the point where I couldn’t enlarge the images enough without grain, and the film became stupidly expensive to develop anyway so I lovingly put this camera to rest. (I’m shedding a tear now)

camera 1

Stock Photo of “My Disc Camera”

I especially loved that little mirror in the front, provided best “Selfies” you could take back then!

Disc Film

Stock Photo of Disc film

This pretty film was the bane of my existence from grade 8-12. So hard to find, expensive to buy, expensive to develop.

Got a job and UPGRADED TO 35MM for my 1st year of College!

My first 35mm camera was a major upgrade for me, in 2 ways. The first was that I got a job at a camera store and developing center. I did the one hour photo developing back in the days when you still had to look at the actual negatives and reverse color in your own mind. (Not to mention all the other details involved in making peoples pictures look great)

I quickly decided that the “NEW” style cameras, the Advanced Photo System ones, were a waste of money and time. I took a pass on the APS cameras and always tried to get customers to pass on them too, unless film storage was their only priority. I HATED APS film. It was more of a pain in the ass to develop and print, although it was supposed to be easier for us, it wasn’t, and it added the extra step of reloading the film into the canister.

I got my first paycheck and bought my first 35mm. I was ecstatic. I had a detachable flash, a split-lens for focusing and could take 36 pictures at a time! I’m ashamed to admit there was a hunk of time where I was ‘Wasting’ film again, because I suddenly had the means to take decent closeups and portraits. My friends were dodging my camera non-stop for a year!

camera 2

Stock Photo of camera just like mine was

I had it made, I could take more photos, more often, and I was allowed to develop my own photos so they were “Perfect” at half-price! I really enjoyed working at a photo-lab, so I made a point of working for 3 more photo-labs in future years. I got to move from negatives straight-up to “Real Image” developing which was easier, after all, what you saw on the screen was what ended up in the print. I kinda missed the negatives. I was developing more and more of the annoying APS film, it was really taking off… for about 2 years, then suddenly the best cameras ever showed up on the scene… Digital!

To be fair, the first ones still sucked and it was weird to develop pictures for people using a computer instead of the negatives, but after the cameras started getting really good I finally bought a digital. It had 3Megapixels! I could print 8X10s and they were OK! If I zoomed in they’d get grainy and I’d lament the film camera being out of film (What? Buy FILM now that I had a digital? Was I crazy?) But I honestly loved the camera. I could take unlimited photos (Supposing I had a good memory card) and only print the ones I REALLY liked. Which meant a lot less prints. Which is a mixed blessing. I lost a lot of photos to crashed computers. I have finally learned to backup EVERYTHING.

Incidentally, this is about the time when my Daughter, The Cheeky Princess, was born. So yeah, pictures of EVERYTHING to do with her. I also started doing portraits for all my friends and family, just to make sure I kept busy. I was having a bit of an obsession with landscape photography at the time and was “balancing” myself out. I can’t think of a 24 hour period of time for a couple years where I DIDN’T have a camera in my hand.


Yep, she was about 3 years old when I put my old Minolta in her hands, fully loaded with 400 film. She took some fascinating pictures. I fully advocate handing toddlers cameras. Especially now, because digital is awesome, and unlimited. The kids really see things differently than adults, it’s cool to see.

When the Cheeky Princess was 8 I got to Upgrade again (Squee!) to the camera I use now. It’s a Sony Cybershot. I have 20X Optical Zoom, with ANOTHER 10X Digital Zoom so I can get nice close-ups, and I can also get HD quality 16X9 video. It’s by far the best camera I’ve ever had.

Camera 4

Stock photo of similar camera to mine

It’s been 5 years and I still have no complaints.


One thought on “My love of Photography

  1. Pingback: Another Gratitude Project: Day 83 | The Grinning Empress

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