A while back I bought an old Yashica 35mm camera at a yard sale.

The woman who sold it to me said that she didn't want it anymore because it was too hard to operate. Nothing was automatic, everything had to be done manually...focusing, setting the f-stop, advancing the film, even setting up how long the shutter should remain open.

She was right! It was harder to operate than one of those point-and-shoot deals we've all gotten used to. After running a couple of rolls of film through it, I put it back in its case. For the past couple of years it just sat there in the corner looking like another of those " good ideas " that we all succumb to a lot more often than any of us care to admit.

Well, I decided to take this college course where I would have to give up a couple nights of sleep to go out, sit in the dark,and stare at the stars. And I thought to myself "if I've got to be out there anyway, I might as well try to take some pictures while I'm at it."

And with that thought in mind, on a couple of brisk Fall evenings after it got dark, I headed to the backyard with a WalMart telescope, a Krypton-bulb flashlight, an old folding chair, a little blue lab book, and my yard-sale camera.

The pictures on this page were taken on two different evenings in 1999...October 21 and October 25. The camera was fitted with a single-power 50mm lens and loaded with 800 speed FujiFilm Superia X-tra. All photos were taken between 9:00pm and 11:30pm. They were processed through one of those one-hour developing machines. There is no tricks. There is no fancy editing. These are all actual, honest-to-goodness, non-computer-generated photographs.


The first thing I thought I'd try was taking a picture through the eyepiece of my 60mm WalMart Telescope

Hey, that was fun! Let's open the shutter and see what we catch.
f2, shutter open 1 minute

Now let's go a little longer.
f2, shutter open 5 minutes

And one more time, even longer still...
f2, shutter open 10 minutes

Wow! Maybe we ahould try to get some kind of artsy shot. Perhaps the full Moon rising above the trees in the east (yes, that really is the Moon)
f2, shutter open 1 second
looking east

Well, if I can photograph the Moon and the stars, I'll bet I can get a planet or two...
f2, shutter open 3 seconds
looking slightly northeast

Trust me...
f2, shutter open 3 seconds
looking slightly southwest

And just for the fun of it, let's finish up by trying to catch a glimpse of those sparkling daughters of Atlas. BTW, that's the full Moon hiding behind that tree.
f2, shutter open 30 seconds
looking northeast

And so, there you have it. The Moon, some stars, four other planets, and even the Pleides....all as seen through the lens of a yard-sale camera that nobody wanted...sitting in the dark, stuck on a tripod, out in the middle of my backyard.

f2, shutter open 1second
looking east