JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Shorpy members who are Patreon contributors get an ad-free experience! (Mostly -- there's still an ad above the comments.) Sign up or learn more.

Just What I Always Wanted: 1962

Just What I Always Wanted: 1962

So, why would a 16 year-old guy (i.e., me) be so happy about getting a vase for Christmas? What I should be happy about is that it's not actually my present, but my mother's; I'm only using it as a prop for this shot because I felt that none of my own gifts were quite as picturesque. Probably what I really wanted were ear transplants or a zitectomy. I set up my new Retinette for this bounce-flash Kodachrome and had my brother click it off. Later, I shot him pretending to be enthused upon unwrapping a box of handkerchiefs. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Manual bounce-flash exposure

My trusty Kodak Master Photoguide had tables and calculation dials to arrive at the proper exposure for a specified film speed at a given distance for direct flash. Somewhere I came across another table that translated the direct flash distance factor into a bounce flash factor for 9-1/2 ft white ceilings and taped that onto the "owner's notes" page of the Photoguide. How do I know that? Well, I still have it. Anyway, the formulas all worked, first time; I didn't have any failed shots.

Don't be so hard on yourself!

You're hot, very Buddy

Pb Tinsel

Wasn't tinsel back then made of lead? It was really heavy, unlike the flyaway silvered plastic of today.

Hmm! Answered my own question. Just searched for lead tinsel and found a site that sells unused old stock. They're selling it from $10-15 per package. They even have green tinsel left. Two packages for $29, the most expensive on the site.

Multi-Balanced 3D Sensor Matrix Fill-Flash etc

So what was the procedure for bounce flash in those days? I'm used to just letting the camera work it out, or checking the exposure on the LCD screen; 1962 was way before that and as far as I know even before the kind of automatic flashes that had a sensor in them (such as the Vivitar 285). I assume a lot of maths were involved, but did you just guess and take lots of pictures? Balancing a wide aperture with bounce flash in such a way that the lights in the background are bright enough to be obviously lights, but not so bright that they're just white blobs, must have been very hard.

The Tinsel Secret

I thought I was the only one that had a father that hung tinsel on the cardboard for reuse year after year. I bet he got 15 years of use out of it. And I got to be very adapt at hanging it beautifully. It was his job to watch.

Hello Futurians

Well, you could have pretended to be wrapping it, but I'm pretty sure you didn't foresee where this picture would end up!

Same as Marion Cunningham's!

I'd kill for those drapes!

Early Christmas Memory

I remember Xmas '62. I thought: "I've got only six more months in this cramped womb and then I'm gonna get me some birthday presents!"

Oh good

I thought I was losing it. I was pretty certain 'Dave' != 'tterrace'

[Hey, I just work here. - Dave]

Identity crisis

I'm thinking of referring to myself in the third person in my captions from now on.

As for the Burning Question about the "little gold spot" at the top of the vase, that's a foil paper sticker identifying the maker. My sister informs me that the present whereabouts of the vase are unknown.

Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing, glad to see the man behind the site.

He oughta be in pictures

I have sort of a crush on tterrace. His pics are always a joy to see. And he was such a little cutie patootie in all those 1950's and 60's pics. I can see his mother's sheer criss-crossed curtains right now! And Dad on the back deck reading the paper. And Grandma's black telephone, and the comparison shots of him in front of that red brick building then and now and ... and ...

[The lady with the black telephone was someone else's grandma. - Dave]


I would love to see the handkerchief picture. If it is as exciting as the vase (pronounced voz), I just won't know what to think. I mean a vase is used to sit on a table and hold flowers until they die, but handkerchiefs, now that is something you can use over and over doing such things as blowing your nose, cleaning your ears, wiping crud off your spectacles, etc. Please, oh, please let us see the excitement in your brother's face!

Not so very small

I have a small crush on tterrace.


Good shot. Nice "bokeh." Can we see the other one as well please?

My Christmas in 1962

I remember my Christmas of 1962 so well because I got a fire truck complete with all the accessories! No other Christmas seemed to top that one afterwards.

Once again, tterrace, your gift of taking interesting, insightful & clever photographs has me strolling down memory lane.

Thanks for posting all your photos. I truly enjoy them, every one!

The Burning Question

is what is the design on the other side?That little gold spot at the top is haunting me. Does a family member still have this vase? Its rich color does play nicely with the rich colors on the tree.

I love the tree! Each ornament looks placed just so, was that your doing or a compulsive family member. My father used to get upset when we didn't hang the tinsel "just so." Eventually we were happy to let him hang all the tinsel himself, and take it down too. He would smooth the individual strands over cardboard to be stored away for next year. New tinsel was about 29 cents a box, but he was raised in the Depression years. Looks like your family was over tinsel on the tree.


It's so weird....I feel like I've seen so many pictures of you and your family that I would recognize you on the street if I saw you today! Thanks for sharing, man.

I would like one, please

I think that's a pretty vase. Now just hop in your time machine and go back fifty years and get me one, please.

Finishing touches

All you need on the tree are some bubble lights and tinsel!!!

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2021 Shorpy Inc.