Minolta SRT-101: Feeling Nostalgic

I'm not going to deny that I sometimes get caught up in lusting after new camera gear. Just read this blog and that should be pretty obvious. I can't help myself and the opportunity to play with new toys is a big part of what makes photography fun. My bank account may hate it, but being an adult means I can treat myself to birthday presents any ol' time I want to. That is why my house has the dedicated "camera shelf" full of old film bodies, and lenses, and light meters, and film backs, all acquired from thrift stores and estate sales. 

Image above: An old Minolta SRT-101 Advertisement. Image below: A frame from a roll of Ilford HP5 shot by my 16 year old self. 

However, the older I get the more my thirst for new cameras gives way to a different sort of emotion... nostalgia. 

The other day I was digging through my closet, looking for an old camera manual to solve a problem figuring out how to find the battery in Canon SLR (don't ask...) when my eye was drawn to my Minolta SRT-101. I've written about the SRT-101 on this very blog before and talked about the important role this camera plays in my own road as a photographer. It was my first "real" camera given to me by my parents on my 16th birthday and for at least four years it was the only camera I owned.

I ran hundreds of rolls of film through my trusty SRT-101 and for most of that time I had no desire for another camera. I didn't feel the need for another camera. This workhorse of an SLR accomplished everything I could want in a creative tool at the time. 

After pulling the Minolta out of the closet I waisted no time in lovingly cleaning it up. I haven't actually used it in a while and the body was looking a bit neglected. Moving the chrome and metal around in my hands started to bring to me a feeling of confidence and joy, like sipping on a cocktail with a friend I haven't seen in years. The ache to get out of the house and make photographs with it grow by leaps and bounds just by turning over the machine in my hands. 

So with the feeling that this camera needs a re-boot in my life I have since jumped on-line and bought a fancy new camera strap (nothing makes an old camera feel new like a funky camera strap) and told myself to get to know my long lost friend again. Sometime in the next few weeks I plan on packing up about five rolls of ilm, a travel mug full of coffee, and my Minolta SRT-101. I think I'll drive east a few hundred miles and just see what happens. It should be fun and I don't think there is any question that it will at the very least be an adventure.