Remember when you had to wait to see if your photo turned out?

I am thankful for the advent of the digital camera.  Really, I am.

I was still shooting with an old Rebel with APS film (remember that? panoramic prints, wha?!?!?!) when the first really affordable consumer digital cameras became available. Judging by the dozens and dozens of APS negative cartridges in the firesafe, I printed a lot of photos. 

If I were to gather all of my albums together in one large pile I would venture that I had about 4 albums per year as opposed to maybe one a year these days. I just rarely ever print anything.  I can share them online with Flickr or Facebook (or blog them here) and I feel like I even enjoy them more online because I can access them easier and larger sized.

However, to be honest I miss the anticipation of having a roll of film developed.  I have loved taking photos since I was young and my dad always trusted me to take the family camera on school field trips or to weekend adventures so I captured a lot of memories that are so precious to me now.

I don’t even remember him complaining about the price of film or the price of developing those prints.

Dropping that film off at the local drugstore and coming back 5 days (or more) later to pick them up was like a mini-birthday each and every time.  When it was pickup day I would beg to go and get my prints. What do you mean we will go tomorrow? They are sitting there today…good grief, don’t you hear them calling my name?

Yeah, I was melodramatic. 

Waiting on the results was such sweet anticipation…and you never knew what you were going to get. Especially if you were just a point-and-click’er like me, not a pro with the settings…just insert film and “Say Cheese!”

Sometimes there were what I now call “outtakes” and while I discard these files now, like this one…


…back in the film days I kept them all. The blurry shots, the red-eyed nightmares, the one where my best friend looks like I caught her mid-sneeze…and I am so glad that I did.

I was thinking about how I loved going to the store and picking up my prints, how I would not even wait to get to the car to look (when I was younger you paid for each print regardless of how it turned out, in later years some stores would allow you to pull out the prints you didnt want and they would subtract it from your total cost) so there I would be, blocking the aisle at RiteAid, filing through each memory and then looking at them all again three more times before we made it back home.

During the summer of my 15th year my parents sent me to WVU symphony camp. It was awesome. I have so many amazing memories from that time away from home that to this day they make me smile.  I am so thankful for the opportunity that experience was and that my Dad had again trusted me take the camera and a few rolls of film.

After I returned home and dropped off the film I could not wait to pick up my prints. I was physically aching from missing the friends that I had made during camp. We had already exchanged letters through the (gasp!) mail (remember the mail? You wrote a letter and then put it in a box and several days later the recipient read it? How did we live like that? ) and had a few brief calls (because long-distance was still, like, $45.00 a minute or something) back and forth. I needed those prints to calm my histrionic heart.

However, when we picked up the prints I realized that we had a problem. There were a few shots I did not remember taking.

Uh oh…

As I was flipping through them, with my Mom and Dad looking over my shoulder, it became clear that at some point, my camera had left my possession.  At some point, some rascally friends (of the male persuasion) had “borrowed” my camera to have a little fun on my behalf…and I am so thankful that they kept it relatively PG rated…but still, I had to explain THIS…

to my Dad.

“Uh yeah Dad, music camp was great. Don’t you know the accoustics are better in the bathroom?”  *gulp*

(I am pretty sure that kid is miming the use of that urinal…at least that is what I have told myself for 20 years.)


Man, I miss waiting for something I want.

Instant gratification is highly overrated.


5 thoughts on “Remember when you had to wait to see if your photo turned out?

    • Ha, Dad! Oh young love, that would be Jason. Didn’t you know that after one week together we were destined to a life of forever? Hahaha. Man, being 15 is hard!


  1. I remember waiting for my photos… but I actually LOVE not having to wait. There is nothing like KNOWING you got a nice family photo, rather than getting them back and finding that in every single one someone was closing their eyes or smiling weird. Sheesh!


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