Photography by Arch C. Luther


Photography is another of those interests that has always been with me. My father was a newspaper editor (Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday Editor), and he introduced me to press photography at an early age. In 1942, he felt strongly enough about my interest in photography that he sacrificed to get me a real press camera for Christmas--a 4x5 Speed Graphic. I used that camera throughout high school and college and shot thousands of those 4" x 5" black-and-white negatives (I still have them). I had to do my own developing and printing because there weren't any convenient photo labs like there are today.

After college, I became attracted by the convenience and low cost of 35mm photography, and went that way for the next 40 years or so. I still have the old 4x5 camera--it is on display in my office. Now, I use exclusively digital photography--again attracted by still greater convenience and lower costs. I have relegated the 35mm cameras to the museum along with the 4x5 camera.
My first digital camera was a Kodak DC-120 (less than 1 megapixel). I shot over 2,500 pictures with that camera, and printed some of them up to 16" x 20". At that size, you have to stand back from the picture or it will be too grainy. But such prints are usable for display high up on the walls in my house, where you can't get too close to them. My second-generation digital camera was a Nikon Coolpix 990 (3.3 megapixels). I shot more than 4,000 pictures with it.
My third generation of digital camera was a Canon EOS 20D DSLR (8.2 megapixels), which I got in May, 2005; This camera is still in use after more than 10,000 shots, but is only used as a backup and in special situations where I need the different lenses I have for that camera. With the Canon 20D, you can print big prints (16 x 20) and look closely at them and they do not fall apart. In 2010, I bought a Panasonic DMC-ZS7 point-and-shoot camera. It is 10.5 megapixels and fits easily in my shirt pocket. In May 2012, I bought a Sony A65 DSLR (24.3 megapixels). This camera is a dream and I now do most of my still photography and video with it. I have made prints up to 30" x 40" that can be examined closely and still look great.

I have to admit that I have never joined the smartphone movement--until 2014. I now have an Amazon Fire phone, which has a great camera at 13 megapixels and it really fits in my shirt pocket. It cannot solve the problem that I have had with all mobile phones: there is no cell phone reception on the mountain where I live. The "phone" part of my smartphone only works when I am away from home. However, I find that I still often carry it around with me on the mountain because of the camera.

All the pictures on this Web site were shot with digital cameras, excluding some older pictures that were originally shot on film and have been scanned to digital to put them on the site. When I'm working on the site and I need a picture, if it's not already in my archives, I can go out and shoot it and five minutes later, it can be on the site. You can't beat that.
Once you have digital pictures, there are all kinds of things you can easily do: cropping, color correction, collages, effects, etc. For example, the picture of my grandchildren below (1998) is a composite of four photos--one of each boy, and the background.
The shots of the boys were taken in New Hampshire, where they live, and the background of each of them was painted out. Then, they were composited over a background from California.
You can also easily retouch digital pictures to remove spots or effects such as the familiar red eye caused by flash. When you have created the perfect picture, you can send it over the Internet or print it at various sizes, depending on the capability of the printer you have.

My current photo archives are backed up on the cloud as well as on several computers. Including scanned film slides, prints, or negatives going back to 1942 and digital-camera shots since 1997 to present, my archive contains more than 30,000 photos.