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John Hartford Up Close and Personal

Posted by Dale Farmer on Saturday, August 30, 2008

 There was a post today in the forum asking for photos of fiddle players.  This brings back an interesting memory of long, long ago.  I think it was about 1980 or so, that I went to a bluegrass festival.  I think it was in Indiana.  I borrowed my brother's new Cannon AE1 35mm camera.  I hadn't used it before but it seemed pretty easy.  He had already loaded the film and was on photo #3.  I had taken a photography class that year so I was somewhat familiar with choosing the aperture and shutter speed, and with taking off the lens cover...  I had snapped a bunch of the photos on the 36 exposure roll when John Hartford took the stage.  I got a few good pics of him on stage doing his playing and dancing.  The crowd was really into it when he did his trademark walk through the audience.  Wireless amplification must have been in its infancy because that seems so long ago.  I was there on a date I think.  I don't remember who I was with but we were on a blanket and not in lawn chairs so I'm pretty sure it was a date.  Anyway, John was making his way in our direction and I was snapping some good ones.  But then out of all the places to come to a stop, he stood right in front of us.   His right foot was a little on the corner of our blanket and he just stood there fiddling away.  Up till this point he was moving but now he was stationary right there.  I was taking photo after photo, ten at least, looking up at what seemed to be a pretty tall guy at that point with his tennis shoes and derby.  I'm sure he was wearing bell bottoms.  The problem was that I was so involved with the photography that I think I pretty much lost a great moment.  That tends to happen sometimes when you have a camera in your hand, the picture becomes more important than the subject itself.  Now here's the thing.  When he finally started walking again I took photo number 36 of his back side and advanced the film.  It was one of those lucky times when there's just enough film on the roll to get a 37th photo.  I took one more and advanced.  Photo #38, again to photo #39,#40,  Uh Oh  something's wrong here....  Yep. when I opened the camera I saw that my brother had not loaded the film right and the leading edge never caught on the winder.   So, the camera had film but ....   Anyway, if it wasn't for that little detail I'd have some great pics to post.   I was, and still am, a huge John Hartford fan!   

3 comments on “John Hartford Up Close and Personal”

bj Says:
Monday, September 1, 2008 @6:37:33 AM

Oh, geez, I remember doing that when I got my very first 35mm camera!

Ozarkian DL Says:
Monday, April 13, 2009 @7:17:52 AM


JCB Says:
Monday, April 13, 2009 @3:12:24 PM

Did a trip on Mt Rainer and shot a whole empty "roll" of beautiful scenery. Kinda not a great feeling. I, too, am a Hartford fan.

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