You know the Disney song, right?

“Someday my prince will come” — Snow White sings it to the seven dwarfs in the Disney animated classic from 1937. It was the beginning of serious animation. Who could forget?

When I was learning photography, back in the early 1970s from a friend with a good education in photography and an odd sense of humor, I learned a different set of lyrics. But first … the back story.

For black and white film (it was all film at that point … digital photography was decades in the future) … we did our own developing and printing. The university I had attended — and for that matter, that my friend had also attended — had a dark room which he ran. Whatever photographic work the school needed, he did it. But it left a lot of time for personal projects and having a spacious, well-equipped dark room and laboratory was a dream come true. All I had to supply was paper and chemicals. I learned a huge amount in those few years during which I had access to the facilities.

Color was different. For color work, we were dependent on a (very) few custom photography labs. You could cheap out and drop your film off at the drug store — if you didn’t mind negatives covered with scratches and bad prints on the cheapest paper. If, however you wanted some quality proofs and prints made by hand from negatives properly developed, you needed a trustworthy (expensive) lab. The equipment to develop and print color was too big and too costly for an individual. Oh how times have changed!

Custom labs took a long time. They called themselves “custom” and they really were. They hand developed the negatives and prints, though proofs were generally done by machine unless you specified otherwise. Usually, we order proof sheets and from these, selected the frames we thought were worth blowing up.

Today, you can get amazing, high quality work from laboratories that will take your files over the Internet and mail you prints on paper, wood, canvas, aluminum, or whatever. They will do it quickly and usually at competitive prices. In the old days, custom work was the province of professional photographers. This meant weddings, babies, other events big and small. Also, material for magazines and advertising agencies. Most of the pros used large format cameras which were (still are) so expensive they may cause fainting on the spot.  Like, for example, a Hasselblad, the preferred camera of NASA where the camera body alone costs more than my house …  and don’t even ask about lenses.

Being an amateur, my print orders were never at the head of the queue. So, I’d wait. Sometimes weeks just to get proofs … which would be the first time I even knew if the pictures were good. It was a time of great anxiety.

While we waited, we sang:


Eventually, they did.

I love digital cameras.

29 thoughts on “SOMEDAY, MY …. WILL COME

  1. swo8 January 12, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    Cute…I hope your Prints arrive soon too…. but you don’t have to wait long these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Taswegian1957 January 12, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    I remember when 24 hour film processing arrived but then that wasn’t fast enough and the city became full of 4 hour and then 1 hour print shops. They seemed to be on every corner but when digital photography became affordable they all disappeared.


      • Taswegian1957 January 12, 2017 / 11:21 pm

        Me too. Now I can take as many pictures as I like and just print the ones I want. I never have to worry about having enough film for an event or a holiday.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marilyn Armstrong January 12, 2017 / 11:56 pm

          When I first went digital, I went a bit crazy and took so many pictures I couldn’t even sort through them in more than a year. I think I took 5000 pictures the first weekend i had a 4GB SD card.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Taswegian1957 January 13, 2017 / 12:01 am

            Imagine what you’d have done if 16GB cards had been available then 🙂


            • Marilyn Armstrong January 13, 2017 / 12:59 am

              It took me two years to comb through those pictures and I eventually just deleted more than half of them. Now, i wish I hadn’t … but it was overwhelming. Heaven only knows what would have happened if they had had bigger SD cards!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Emilio Pasquale January 12, 2017 / 6:06 pm

    Yes, I remember those days. While in Junior college, I took a photography class and soon after completing the course, my father built me a darkroom in the garage. Problem was, this was in Southern California and during most of the year, if I wanted to use the darkroom, I had to strip down to shorts or a bathing suit as that room was more like a sauna. I, too, love digital cameras!


    • Marilyn Armstrong January 12, 2017 / 9:00 pm

      Until digital, just getting the film developed was like taking out a second mortgage. I love it.


      • Emilio Pasquale January 13, 2017 / 3:12 pm

        I hated the look of digital at first. It was like watching a television series as opposed to a film. No texture to the image. But now I want the sharpest, cleanest image possible.


        • Marilyn Armstrong January 13, 2017 / 6:25 pm

          You can add grain if you want that “look.” I did like some of the things you could get with the fancy (expensive!) paper … but each year, the digital software gets more sophisticated. You can do just about anything.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. judyt54 January 12, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    oh yes, digital. I borrowed my husband’s camera when he got it, back in the days of 3″ floppies, and when I got back home I told him he needed to get his own camera. I still have the camera, more for sentimental reasons than anything else… I love digital.


    • Marilyn Armstrong January 12, 2017 / 9:02 pm

      My first digital was the Sony Mavica, the one that took the 3″ disks. I loved it. I never looked back. I gave mine to my doctor. They use them for specific kinds of imaging … even today.


      • judyt54 January 12, 2017 / 9:44 pm

        oh so was mine. with the 13.5 zoom. amazing piece of business to start with, Ive always missed using it.


        • Marilyn Armstrong January 12, 2017 / 9:46 pm

          They were pretty good cameras. Probably not compared to newer technology, but I got good pictures from them.


  5. DailyMusings January 12, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    love this! and to think how far photography and film have come… amazing!


  6. evilsquirrel13 January 12, 2017 / 9:07 pm

    I love the instant gratification of being able to cuss right away when I see the result of the picture I took on the camera screen and see that the squirrel either blurred or jumped out of frame. Then again, it was like finding an Easter egg the time I scanned the negatives from the grocery store photo lab of pictures I took at the ballgame and noticed that I actually DID capture that bolt of lightning at the tail end of my roll of film. They didn’t see the streak I was looking for, so they assumed it was blank and didn’t develop it…


    • Marilyn Armstrong January 12, 2017 / 9:36 pm

      I have to say that the people who developed my pictures NEVER failed to develop and print every single frame, even if it was blank. It was just another buck in the till. It certainly made us all eager to embrace digital when it arrived 🙂

      I never got a bolt of lightening and I really TRIED. Everyone got the shot except me. It’s just one of those things it seems I will never do.


  7. judyt54 January 12, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    oh don’t we all miss the days of “I’ve only got one shot left and Im saving it…” and “don’t waste your film on that stuff, there’s better up ahead…” “Well dammit that was my last shot. I could have sworn I had two left…”


    • Marilyn Armstrong January 12, 2017 / 10:14 pm

      I admit I don’t miss it at all. Mostly, though, what I don’t miss are the gigantic bills from the lab for developing the pictures. When we got back from Ireland, I had 27 rolls of 36 shot film, which today is nothing using digital, but then was several HUNDRED dollars.


    • Marilyn Armstrong January 15, 2017 / 5:29 pm

      Writing this brought back a FLOOD of memories about the olden but not so golden days of pre-digital cameras. Even the parking tickets I got for leaving the car for a few moments to grab the prints before they towed me. AH, those weren’t the days. I think I was the happiest photographer in the world when I realized I would never ever have to pay for a batch of bad negatives again.


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