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Off Topic/Non-philatelic Disc. : I remember...

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Bobstamp
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30 Mar 2021
11:11:09pm
Since I was about 16, I've been casually documenting the events and activities of my life through photographs. My first camera was a Kodak Starmite. About a dozen cameras followed, including a Rollei 35, a Nikon F, a Nikon SP (worth about US$6,000 today if you can find one), a Mamiya 6X7, a Pentax 645, and a 4X5 Crown Graphic. I took photos for my high school yearbook, for the El Paso Times, the Canadian Press, and for my clients in my last job as owner/photographer for my own studio. But mostly I took photos for my own pleasure. I'd like to share some of them with you, starting with three:

• A photo taken from the glass elevator that took patrons to the restaurant and bar at the top of the El Cortez Hotel in San Diego. In 1963, I attended the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps School at Balboa, and on a few occasion went to the El Cortez to eat. I got to know — and fall in love with — the friendly woman who operated the elevator. Remember when elevators required operators? The operator let me down gently, but at least I got this photo of San Diego Harbor:

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• For two years I was stationed at the U.S. Navy Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, just a 15 minute train ride to Kamakura, where the Great Buddha resides. For several months, I studied Japanese archery, yumi and ya. The double-curved bamboo bows are about six feet long, and the arrows half that length. In all my time at the archery dojo, I managed to hit the target one time. Once one of the Japanese archers offered to let me use his bow. Why not, I thought. He was maybe five feet tall, and skinny as a rail, and obviously had a sense of humour, at my expense! I could scarcely draw the bowstring, much less actually shoot an arrow with it. Anyway, when I heard about an archery festival where modern-day samurai would shoot their bows from horseback, I had to attend. It was a very dark day, so I couldn't use high enough shutter speeds to stop the action. This is the best photo I got:

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I'd always thought of it as a failed photo, but now it seems to capture not only the action but the spirit of the day. FYI, those "samurai" would shoot at thin wooden targets as they galloped past on their horses only four or five feet from the targets. They used special arrows with a heavy, blunt wood arrowhead designed to split the targets. Not one of them missed.

• During my tour of duty in Japan, the American government reported that two of its Navy destroyers had been attacked by North Vietnamese gunboats in the Gulf of Tonkin. Although there was virtually no evidence that hostile attacks had occurred, and even the president admitted privately that a ship's' radar might have spotted whales rather than gunboats, the American government nevertheless committed itself — and me — to war. I was ordered to report to the Marines at Camp Pendleton for Field Medical Service School where I was supposedly taught all there was to know about combat medicine. Then in the summer of 1965, my battalions — 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines — embarked on an attack transport, U.S.S. Magoffin, which would take us to Okinawa for additional combat training. Enroute, somewhere in the mid-Pacific, I took this photograph of our "quarters," which were located well below the ship's waterline. There must have been at least a hundred Marines and corpsmen living in that compartment. Fortunately, we were allowed on deck whenever we wished.

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Now how about you? I'd like to see photos that reveal your life. Well, not everything about your life! Big Grin

Bob











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philb
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31 Mar 2021
10:33:55am

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re: I remember...

Great post Bob, i liked your archery experience...you gave it a shot. a YMCA gym friend of mine got tour of the Pacific while in the marines on a hospital ship, Hong Kong to New Zealand. He said they had some fun because they had to shoot up their ammo every month and always received new ammo drops...food drops were not as regular.

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"If a man would be anything, he must be himself."
PaulMitchell
31 Mar 2021
03:49:14pm
re: I remember...

Great photos Bob. I was at the Navy Hospital for an eye exam in 1967 while stationed at the Coast Guard Air Station on San Diego Bay.

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1106
31 Mar 2021
04:36:13pm

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re: I remember...

Beautiful stuff, thank you......

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Bobstamp
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01 Apr 2021
08:23:55pm
re: I remember...

Three more photographs that I took in Japan:

This one was probably one of the very first photos I took, on my first liberty after arriving in Yokosuka, Japan, in August, 1962. It pictures a popular game called "Rocks & Dirt," played by children everywhere:

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In my last post I included a photo taken in Kamakura, where I studied Japanese archery. I often went to the beach at Kamakura to eat in a wonderful German restaurant. Following supper there one night, I wandered down to the beach and found this group around a fire:

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Yokosuka is only a half-hour train ride from Tokyo, and I often went there on liberty to enjoy the tiny coffee shops (big enough only for one or two small tables, each one featuring music of a particular genre — jazz, romantic, classical, soft rock, etc. This photograph was taken from the second or third floor of what is now, and may have been then, Ricoh Square at the centre of the Ginza shopping area. It's an odd name since it's round! It was a very dark, rainy day, which helped to highlight the timbers on street, which were in place because of construction of a subway line. I didn't have a tripod, so I braced the camera against a window and used an exposure of 1/8 second as I recall, which added to the sense of movement of the pedestrians. I had read in a tourist guide that all Japanese used black umbrellas, an example of early fake news, I guess:

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After the Navy I enrolled at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and started a subscription to the St. Louis Post-Despatch. I read about a photo contest the newspaper was holding and decided to submit my Ginza photo. I won first prize in the preliminary contest, honourable mention in the run-off, and came away with $500 in prize money, enough almost to pay for the Nikon SP camera I used.

Bob





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