Ethan Field and Ron Campbell were hiking off-trail in Oregon’s Columbia Gorge a week ago when they found something they would have never expected. On the ground was a strangely shiny object, an old camera covered in dirt and rocks and rust. The camera appeared to be an Exakta VX lla, an East German SLR produced between 1957 and 1963.
Ethan just posted the GoPro video of us finding the camera!! Check it out!!!👉👉👉 @thefieldprojects Anyone lose a camera say…. Idk,,, maybe 80 years ago down at Eagle Creek??😎 I think we may have found Ansel Adams 1st camera!! Obviously we were in a spot not many people have been. Down a high steep slope next to the creek!! My homie Ethan @thefieldprojects found it almost completely buried! And it still has film in it! He already found someone that can develop it! Will let u know what’s up! Follow 👉 @thefieldprojects !!!! Stay stuned for some other cool shots from our adventure earlier today!! 🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞🎞 Hi Everyone!! This camera is drawing so much attention and questions/comments I figured I’d do a reply all. Yes, soon as Ethan found it (which he at first thought to be a flask, Lol, because it was buried lens down almost completely covered) and dug it out, the first thing we noticed was it had film in it!😳 And imagined what could be captured!! We were bout a mile in on the trail when we went down and across a steep slope to cross Eagle Creek to the other side!! And yes, the creek was cold and strong as hell!! We went to an beautiful unnamed waterfall that we post shortly and on the way back after crossing the creek again, I walked right over and thankfully Ethan saw it!! The trail from here was at least 300′ above up a sheer cliff. This unfortunate photographer must have dropped it and could not get down there. It was sketchy and steep even for us and back then the landscape could’ve been even worst. We all hope the film can be developed, and will find out asap! Imagine a beautiful photo of punch bowl falls 60-70 years ago! Or a photo of the photographer,, the very first selfie maybe??!!!😎 We’ll keep of all of you posted @thefieldprojects !! Thanks so much!! 🙏🙏🙏👊 BTW… From some of the comments posted by people who actually know something bout this type camera, it seems like it’s from the 50’s or 60’s, definitely not the 30’s. Not really sure how just yet, but still cool regardless!!😎 Keep y’all posted!!👊
Today we went in and spoke with Junior at Blue Moon Camera & Machine about our “mystery camera”. What we found out is that by attempting to take out the film we will only be pulling out dust. Due to the heavy corrosion and since the back of the camera was slightly cracked open and exposed to the water/snow/dirt/ ect… The film as been to damaged for any type of image to remain. However, we are going to attempt to do it slowly take part the camera to smoothly pull out anything remaining. I am excited to continue to the search. Junior (our friendly worker ) insisted that with these old cameras, the person of ownership would have possibly engraved a social security number onto the bottom and/or inside of camera. So we are hoping after a careful cleaning to find who’s camera this is. As it is possible they were lost just as the camera was lost . 😳 So our plan now… is to contact the museums in the area and ask if they would like to have the camera put in a nice show area, hopefully alongside the name of the owner. Until then Ron and I are going to attempt to scrape off some off the corrosion to search for SS number! .
A photo posted by Ethan Field (@thefieldprojects) on
The dirty, forgotten Exakta VX is placed next to a clean, working model of the Exakta, highlighting the effect the Oregon woods had on the old camera.
Ethan and Ron even discovered that there was film still loaded in the camera, and they’re now working to get the film processed.
Credits: All photos by Ethan Field & Ron Campbell