Creature from the Blog Lagoon 20: Looking Back, Waaay Back

When I first began to take photography seriously, as more than just a Kodak Instamatic hobby, I knew I need a serious camera… an adult’s camera - a 35mm single lens reflex. Being the poor teenager I was, Nikon was out of the question… Canon was out of the question… Minolta, Yashica, Pentax, all beyond what I could afford. Hence, I went with a camera so beefy no skinny kid like me could do it any harm (short of sticking my finger in the focal plane shutter, a mistake I’m surprised I never made). I bought a Miranda D with a manual diaphragm 50mm/f2.8 lens, exactly like you see here:

This camera saw me through two years junior high school yearbook photography, two years of high school photography classes (yeah, I was jealous of the kids with Minolta SRT-101s and Pentax K1000s), a trip to Mexico City (with a climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, several trips sailing past and photographing the mystery ship Glomar Explorer, and so much more. (All those negatives are long gone, by the way, or I’d have a few of the pictures here.)

This is the camera I used when I learned how to work in a darkroom. I eventually bought a brand new manual diaphragm 135mm lens to go along with my “gadget bag” and snazzy embroidered super-wide disco-style camera strap. I was in the big leagues now!

One day the shutter release button (on the front of the camera) fell off, never to be seen again. Oops. I took the metal base of a mechanical pencil’s eraser, bent the prongs together and glued it in place of the original button. Back in business!

Eventually, I sold it, possibly to help pay for my first car, a $700 yellow 1970 Volkswagen Bug. (That car is the subject of at least as many stories as the camera, not all good but all funny - now).

I’m not one for maintaining a collection of vintage cameras, but man I wish I still had that Miranda D.

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