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Could you qualify for a 1948 Boy Scout Photography Merit Badge?


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Andy L , May 20, 2011; 04:56 p.m.

Sure, now I could do that. (The photography, not the stalking. I'm a lousy stalker.) But did you have to describe how to make home brew Rodinal or something? I'd just be memorizing that for the test, I don't think I'd be likely to apply the knowledge or anything. I wonder what a photography merit badge would look like now? Take 6 snapshots, remove the red eye and get them printed at Walmart?

JDM von Weinberg , May 20, 2011; 05:18 p.m.

Matt, thanks. NOW I can see that's what it is.
Although the Alien "Gray" had a certain attractiveness to it.....

As for religious qualification, I think that in my day they just assumed that no one could possibly be other than Baptist. Sort of a religious "don't ask, don't tell".

Richard Williams , May 20, 2011; 05:22 p.m.

A bit of Googling finds the current badge from the UK:
You can still submit 6 shots 'where you have undertaken some part of the processing', otherwise 12 'taken by yourself'. Looks like you only have to know about 'shutter speed, aperture, ...depth of field and lens focusing' if you have a film camera, otherwise it's 'resolution, digital compression and...knowledge of the types of removable memory available.' Diagnosing faults sounds like a good test, though. We actually did make home brew developer & fix in our school - the chemistry teacher had a recipe book and stocks of metol, hydroquinone and hypo, etc.

James (Jim) Johnson , May 20, 2011; 06:26 p.m.

I'd have a better chance at the Stalking badge than the Photographer badge!
I remember being in the Boy Scouts for a short period of time in Lewistown Montana, but we soon moved and I never got to get involved again, nor did I earn any badges.

Unlike JDM, . . . although I'm still in Kansas, on the Eastern side we do have bigger wild animals these days than the woodchuck or groundhog.

BTW JDM, that's a nice shot of Mesa Verde!

JDM von Weinberg , May 20, 2011; 06:53 p.m.

Nowadays, even in western and central Kansas, there are bison (on some fairly open range around Kanopolis) and deer (in the riverside 'forests'), but darn few back in the late 40s and early 50s. I believe the phrase was "extirpated," although there were some coyote, and they are bigger than a woodchuck at least in dimensions.
That Mesa Verde shot was developed and contact printed by me at night in the kitchen. I think it was an Ansco beginner's photography kit with the metal box with a hinged top and a bulb inside, trays, etc. Developing was by dipping, not in a tank, so the film was probably orthochromatic.

Jeff Spirer , May 20, 2011; 07:55 p.m.

I didn't do boy scouts because there were no merit badges in Girls.

Mike Gammill , May 20, 2011; 10:35 p.m.

Interesting. My oldest son became an Eagle Scout as of June 2010, but surprisingly he never went for the photography merit badge.

John Galyon , May 20, 2011; 11:32 p.m.

I was a Cub Scout...for one day. We met at the den mother's home on a cold, cloudy winter day, and I don't know what I expected we'd be doing...but it wasn't making cabins out of popsicle sticks and Elmer's Glue. I launched out the door without a word to anyone, climbed a thirty foot tall birdhouse pole and refused to come down until my mother arrived. I don't know what I thought climbing the pole would accomplish. Perhaps it was the initial launch of my days as a non-violent protester. A dozen years down the road, when the war in Vietnam started I was satisfied with carrying signs, flashing peace signs, and chanting slogans. No pole climbing. So getting kicked out of the Cub Scouts kinda blew my chances of becoming a Boy Scout. Come to think of it...I got kicked out of kindergarten as well, but fortunately they allowed me to attend public school ;)

Peter Meade , May 21, 2011; 04:27 a.m.

The first set of criteria are not that very different from those for some of the Royal Photographic Society's LRPS distinction, except I think RPS want 10-12 shots and they have to be mounted.

Bethe Fisher , May 21, 2011; 09:45 a.m.

I don't remember if there was a photography badge in Girl Scouts when I was one, but I did the Shutterbug week at Girl Scout Camp in about 1979 or so - that's when I first saw a print come up in the developer and got hooked forever.
I'd have to look up specifics for #3, but could probably do the Boy Scout version.

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