Military Spec Speed Graphic 4×5 Large Format Camera – 1944

Beautiful Anniversary Speed Graphic by Graflex made in 1944 for the USAAF. All black edition of this classic camera. Considered to be the pre-eminent press camera of its era.

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It features a Kodak Supermatic leaf shutter to 1/400, a Kodak Ektar 127mm f/4.7 lens, dual shutters with the inclusion of a rear focal plane shutter capable of a 1/1000 top speed! For the 1940s, this was the bang!

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This image is from the US Army technical manual for this camera. Of note, this version features an all blacked-out body and flash unit.

This camera is part of a complete set (film holders and Graflex flash units) all housed in a custom mahogany box made for the USAAF. I believe this set was specially designed for use by a General’s staff, the base or squadron commanding officer or by the public affairs office as it looks as though it led a pretty comfy life. It certainly doesn’t look like it bounced around in aircraft of the day.

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Inside of the custom wood box made by Graflex for the USAAF. Here we can see the stamped markings from the box lid (inside).

Everything looks to be in full working order right down to both shutters. It will be film tested soon by its owner after I finish my adjustments and finalize my detailing of such a fine machine.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Lovely Couple

While going through some pictures the other day, I came across this photograph of a very lovely couple. I don’t know who they are (yet) but I’ll find out. My first guess is that it was taken in or around Vermont and I would think from the 1940s.

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The soldier’s uniform is impeccably worn and he looks to be a captain in the U.S. Army (guessing by the bars).

Have a wonderful and peaceful day!

C&C ^.^

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

 

US 17 Florida – Riverside Motel

The last strip of highway heading north towards Georgia. Up ahead the St. Marys River and bridge – heat radiates off the already hot pavement as a reminder that it’s only Spring – wait ’til Summer.

United States Highway 17 was the life giving link to the Eastern Seaboard and beyond. If you came to Florida in the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s you crossed that bridge (well one like it but it was a drawbridge then but it’s not anymore even though the sign says it is, whew!) and your first glimpse of the Sunshine State was this patch of pavement. I-95 didn’t exist and it was 17 or nothing in those days. Now it’s only travelled by locals, log trucks or tourists looking for the original Florida. Along this stretch, cheap but nice motels with air conditioning and swimming pools beckoned those travellers that wanted their first taste of Florida and a cool bed. If you were real lucky, you’d spot a gator or two in the wet areas just off the the road.

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Distance wise, this is Florida’s first motel – just a half mile from the Georgia line. It closed decades ago, driven out by high speed travel on smooth highways. The doors were closed and locked once – now termites and rot have opened them again. Couples would snuggle together in these rooms while on their honeymoon. Children would run wild through the parking lot waiting for the car ride that would take them to Florida’s first attractions still well south. Now only grass and weeds run wild.

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Air conditioned – and just down the road souvenirs, film, food , whiskey and ice cream. Too far north for oranges. Just right for cold beer.

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I like coming here… it’s quiet except for the occasional log truck along the highway heading south to the mills and of course the stray local or curious tourist. Not like it used to be – a steady stream of cars spilling across that bridge into the sunshine.

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Yep, no trespassing. Trespassers will be stung or bitten – wasps and fire ants do the enforcing. No tourists – just bugs, heat and photographers.

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Be sure to get off I-95 at Exit 3 in South Georgia and head west on Georgia 40 to US 17 in Kingsland (just a few miles away). Turn south on US 17 (left) and in a little bit you’ll cross that all too narrow bridge over the St. Marys River and you’ll be in Florida. Just a half mile south on your left you’ll find that first motel in Florida pictured above. Oh there’s no plaque or marker telling you about the history of this place, and that’s a shame. It was part of the gateway to the “New South” and it deserves recognition. It is for sale though! ^.^

Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Thanks for your visit! Be sure to watch out for the fire ants!

Chris

 

 

 

Forgotten and faded Florida…

U.S. Highway 17 was the way to enter Northeast coastal Florida in days past – long before I-95 was even imagined. If you came down from the North in the late 1940s, you entered Florida over a way too narrow bridge over the St. Marys River – the official boundary between Georgia and Florida. The two lane road was well traveled and one of the last cities you would pass through before the bridge was Kingsland, Georgia… just a few miles north of the river. The next city wasn’t until you reached Jacksonville, Florida – a long way south. You can’t really count the in-between hamlets of Yulee and Oceanway – they were home to flashing lights just to make you slow down a bit.

To be the first attraction – or motel – or restaurant – or bar – or whatever along this busy corridor meant something I imagine. Where would the tourists stop to take a picture or pause to, you know, rest? Highway 17 was the bomb – it was the way south. Then I-95 came and it was over in a hurry.

What’s left of the Florida firsts?

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U.S. Highway 17 bridge over the St. Marys River. Looking north into Georgia – this would have been your first step on dry land that was Florida.

After your safe passage over this way too narrow bridge, you would be treated with your first photo op…

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Everybody stops to get their picture taken in Florida! What better place then this sign… and with palm trees too! This is the sign along U.S. 17 a little south of the border.

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Gotta have a plaque to dedicate the sign.

All that’s left of some of the ‘firsts‘…

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‘Souvenirs’ and ‘Whiskey’.

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Nothing left to buy here except more time I suppose.

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More than a few tourists walked through this door… come in please.

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Faded Florida.

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Last one out.

A wonderful place to explore… that first half mile of faded Florida along Highway 17. Many more opportunities to be sure. It was the first motel in now forgotten Florida. The people are elsewhere but the photo ops remain.

Thanks for your visit. As always your comments are appreciated.

You can also visit me at https://www.flickr.com/photos/127540935@N08/

Chris

One last shot – a modern I-95 Florida welcome.

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