My first photographs

Some time in 1969, when I was only a little over 7 years old, my Dad allowed me to borrow the family camera for the day. I took it with me on a school trip to London Zoo.  These pictures below are the only surviving photos from my first solo use of a camera.

Emperor Penguins (1968)

Emperor Penguins at London Zoo in 1969 – they look so colourful!

Penguins (1968)a

I believe this is another photo from that visit to London Zoo, this time of the African Penguins.

Both photos were taken with an Ilford Sporti camera on Kodak 120 roll film, that only allowed 12 pictures to be taken per roll.  The original photos had the usual white border, but after scanning them I removed the border by cropping the picture.  I also sharpened the picture and reduced the back-light a little, using the free software Photoscape.  Not exactly enhanced, just cleaned up a little for the modern digital age.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what happened to any other photos of other animals I took that day.  I seem to remember seeing giraffes, elephants, camels, chimps, kangaroos and a whole range of birds.  Maybe they didn’t come out for some reason, or perhaps I just liked the penguins more than the other animals!

My view of zoos has changed much over the years.  Whilst I am in no way an animal rights campaigner, I am now opposed to  housing wild animals in restricted environments far from their natural homes.

I am persuaded that there may be some limited and specific good reasons for keeping some endangered species safe from harm.  So long as the aim is to breed a small group to establish a wild population again.  Otherwise I cannot now support the keeping of animals in zoos or even wildlife parks, although I am sure many people do find some educational value and enjoyment visiting those sorts of places.  To me they seem more like animal prisons or detention camps, with a commercial reason for continuing, so I cannot go there any more.

To show Emperor Penguins in their natural environment and to illustrate how much more can be learned by intrepid camera men observing them in the wild I posted two two videos from YouTube in the previous post.  They are only short but I hope they are enjoyable to see.

My next post will be an article about the camera I used and how cameras, film and photography for the amateur has changed for everyone in the last 40 years.

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17 comments on “My first photographs

  1. I agree with you completely about zoos. (I am an animal rights advocate.) Thank you for sharing your thoughts and great pictures. I love the tone and depth in first one. Makes me want to reach in and take a hold of her flipper. 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments. The colours of the first photo are almost entirely (95%) as taken, a very ‘lucky’ shot. Good to know you are active on your love of animals, I am not opposed to that. I emphasised my non campaigning mode, because it is true, but also because I didn’t want my comments to be taken as pushing my opinions on others. My blog is about memories not campaigns. 🙂
      I am overdue a visit to your interesting blog – will be over soon. 🙂

  2. I went to Colchester Zoo recently. It was the first zoo I had been to in years as have been opposed to them since I was a teenager, however I read about their breeding programmes and thought it might be interesting to see. Some of it was OK, the small mammals had huge enclosures and then I saw the lions, cheetahs and wolves, it upset me so much. Their enclosures were small in comparison and the animals were stressed and pacing. Horrible. I do feel if they can educate people and make them aware of a world beyond their own then that is a good thing but if it is at the expense of an animals freedom and welfare then it isn’t.

    And as you say, it seems to be more about entertainment now. Fun fairs, food stalls, novelty shows and souvenirs seem to be the highest priority at many of these places now a days.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on zoos. I think a lot of people feel the same now, though many people do still visit, especially as a family trip, I suppose feeling there is no harm in repeating what they did when they were young.

      I only mentioned my views as a reflection of how something that most people didn’t question back in the 60s has become something a bit awkward now and maybe not how we will continue to allow things in the future. I learned more from the two short video clips than I could have from an hour at the zoo. Perhaps holograms may enhance video soon and it will be like standing next to the penguins. 😀

    • Pingu is an stop-motion animation made by a British and Swiss collaboration and shown on British TV 1986-2000, with odd repeats since then. It was aimed at children, but enjoyed by students and many adults too. I will admit to having laughed at a few episodes, but wouldn’t really say I am a fan. 😉 All episodes appear to be on YouTube, here is a sample episode http://youtu.be/eHmj8AzRlH4
      In case you are wondering the language in Pingu is made up.

      • All daytime television is popular with students.
        😉
        Is Pingu related to Klingon? Do you get nutters who claim to speak it?
        I used to do a bit of rally navigation, and sometimes when were just out playing, not competing, my driver and I would communicate in Clanger/Soup Dragon.

    • My theme is useless for longer conversations, no reply options, so this may appear randomly. 😡 Pingu language hasn’t caught on like Klingon, but the sounds are imitated by the odd clown. The Clangers and the Soup Dragon are more my kind of animation – I have been known to utter a few words in both voices. 😆

    • Thanks for the comment, I think we were commenting on each others blogs at the same time without realising it. 🙂

      I scanned many of the old family photos a few years ago, it took days as the scanner was quite slow and there were hundreds of pics. The older ones like these were rare as we took so few pictures back then, with only 12 photos per roll of film. They are a great aid to memories and a lovely reminder of good times. Several more to come in future posts. 🙂

      • haha, nice.

        haha, days…yikes. how tedious, but i’m sure worth it. i’ve always been a fan of old photos depicting simpler times.

    • Well spotted! It was designed by Berthold Lubetkin, an architect from Russia, who emigrated to Britain in 1931, the penguin pool and gorilla house at London Zoo were among his first projects in London. The curves of the sloped walkways in the pool were inspired by the art of Naum Gabo a noted Russian sculptor. (No, I didn’t know all that – tis the power of Wikipedia.)

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