The items we give away, thinking they aren't worth anything, sometimes turn out to be worth quite a bit. When I moved I gave away lots of items: compression glass, silver and brass, an old straight razor and strap, and a lot of old furniture, mostly antiques. Many items stayed in the family, but some didn't. Some of the items were valuable, even though at the time I didn't think about their value I just wanted to get rid of them. There were a lot of old cameras, as well.

Cameras have changed so much during my lifetime. When I was a little girl we had a box camera, a big square black box, by Kodak, but it took pretty good black and white photos.

During World War II came the Microfilm camera, a tiny little camera that would fit in your shirt pocket, about the size of the small digital cameras we have now, but much heavier - all metal.

The instant cameras were a favorite of mine. I loved to take Polaroid pictures and watch them develop. It was neat.

I know very little about photography, something I should remedy, but one camera intrigued me. It was the little "Micro 1661" microfilm camera that my husband bought while he was in the service. I know it takes good pictures, because he used it all the time. Although, I'm not sure you could find film for it these days. I should check, because this one is a keeper. To look at the negatives you had to have a viewer, where you pulled the negatives through slowly as you held it up to a light.

Nothing like today! With all the cameras we have to choose from, my favorite is the throw away camera. (One time use.) I can point, shoot, and have the film developed, with no worry about losing an expensive camera or dropping it. You can just buy another one. They're great on vacation.

The pictures are better than if I tried to use the 35mm cameras my husband liked so well. (He wanted slides.) He knew how to work all his cameras, so he threw the instructions away leaving me with the question, "How do you make this #%&*% thing work." I am trying to figure it out by trial and error, but you know what they say, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." I'm beginning to think this old dog is beyond help, at least about cameras.

Perhaps I should just choose one and go to a camera shop for instructions. And then box up the rest and send them winging to my daughter Pamela, who is a whiz at photography. She took quite a few of the old cameras last time she visited. I'm sure she would be excited to add the rest to her collection.

The new digital camera is the one that might be more my style. They are pretty expensive, at least the good ones, but what isn't expensive these days? It would probably save me money in the long run, with all the film I've been wasting. With the digital, at least I could take another picture immediately, if the first one turned out badly. Plus, share them via the Internet with family.

I better call Blue Mountain Community College, it usually offers a photography class. Learning the basics would certainly go a long way in solving my problem. Composition is important in a picture too. I'm sure I could shoot a picture with good composition, if I could just figure out how to work the darn camera.

Betty Kuhn, of Boardman, can be contacted at or the East Oregonian, P.O. Box 1089, Pendleton, OR 97801.

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