About AVR


My name is Alan Reinhart (AVR), and I was born on October 23, 1942 in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Since January, 2003 I’ve ben living in Lindenwold, NJ, having arrived here by a very odd, unexpected and circuitous route. The middle name, is for my grandfather, Victor Thulin.
The Mona Lisa
When my dad came home from the War, around 1949 or so, we moved from my grandmothers house in East Stroudsburg to Delaware Water Gap, PA. There I attended a little 3-room school house, now the Dutot museum where, I’m proud to say, my class picture is one of those on display. I recall the teacher (Mrs. Morton) was shocked to see the rags used to wash the blackboard were left hanging on the fire escape door and got into the picture!

The Water Gap school only went to 6th grade at the time, so for 7th graded I hit the big time and was bussed to near-by Stroudsburg High School. I was there till 9th Grade, when we moved and I completed high school in 1960 at East Stroudsburg High — the same one my mom had graduated from! I was also in the last class to graduate from that building as it was then replaced by the current, newer buildings.

Just before the Flood of 1955 (from Hurricane Diane) my mom and dad separated and I was back in East Stroudsburg at my grandmothers house.

Next came one of two enlistments in the Navy; 1960 to 1963, then again from 1965 to 1969: Having a failing marriage and stinky work prospects, the Navy recruiter had no problem luring me in! The second enlistment turned out to be a Good Thing as I got 36 weeks of electronics training, plus a trip to the Mediterranean, Viet Nam, and met some very awesome people who help to further mold my life. For the better, definitely. Cliff Rehwoldt are you out there?

As a teenager I saw my mom shooting with a Kodak Retina Reflex-S

Retina Reflex-S 35mm film camera

and making nice color prints and slides. She never got to see any digital photography, but I suspect she would be blown away by what can be done now, and be totally taken up by the medium as am I. She must have been a closet-fine-art photog but never got to realize her full potential.

While in the Navy, I began my photographic efforts with a Polaroid camera (and still have some fading shots of our trip thru the Panama Canal), and then graduated to a Minolta SRT-101 around 1966. Being known as the ship’s shutterbug, I was tapped to create a darkroom for the crew to use in off-hours. In an un-used washroom in the after berthing compartment of the ship, the facility was created. A plywood cover was created over 4 sinks to create a table for the developer, stop bath and fixer trays. A shelf was added to a shower stall to house the enlarger. The paper-safe was top drawer of a 4-drawer filing cabinet placed beside the shower stall. As it turned out, when most people found out you could not make color prints, interest faded, and I had the facility mostly to myself.

Around 1972, back in Stroudsburg, PA, I helped create a commercial studio, rebuilding the existing darkroom to handle 4 x 5 negatives, and creating a small product studio. There I got hands-on with a Super Cambo 4 x 5 view camera and basic studio lighting. Not being a very good marketer, this effort soon folded and I was back at work at the Ronson Corporation in Delaware Water Gap. An engineer there saw that, with no degree, my future was very limited at that company, and kept bring in job adverts for me. Tronix Incorporated in Phillipsburg, NJ was looking for a purchasing agent for their digital electronics production shop. This looked GREAT as I was quite interested in this new and growing field. It turned out to be yet another of those important cross-roads of life, as it brought me, not only a better job, but ultimately into the world of computers. The job required me to wear many hats, and I ended up doing basic logic design, pc board layout, production testing, and even got time to do the purchasing!

At that time, 1975, the microprocessor was just exploding onto the scene. Tronix began working with these chips, and I got my first taste of programming. But there were various problems with the company and in late 1975 they closed their doors. Needing a place to stay, and after two weeks of living in my car, I went to Sturbridge, MA, and my dad provided domicile till I could get another job. And that job was yet another Great Experience: At ECRM in Bedford, MA I saw and soon became involved with a mini-computer, the PDP-11 and the DEC software on which it ran. Having no degree or any training in programming, I got my own disk (RKO5 — 2MB! )

DEC RK05

DEC RK05 2 Megabyte, 14" disk cartridge

with the RSX-11 operating system on it, plus a copy of FORTRAN-11. I was in heaven! Each day at 5pm, I took off my technicians hat, and fired up my RSX-11 disk and spent the remaining hours of the day engrossed in the amazing world of software.

Eventually ECRM hired me as a programmer, and for the rest of my working adult life, computers pretty much owned me. In the ’80’s if you knew anything about programming or basic digital hardware you were in demand. As the end of the century drew upon us, things changed, matured. Now if you don’t have a degree and 5 or more years experience with 15 different languages you are not in demand. During these days when photography was dormant, I got into woodworking, wood turning and eventually had a home machine shop with 10″ lathe and vertical mill.

But the days with software have served me well, preparing me for an easy (and unavoidable) path into digital photography. I began following the rise of digital around 2003 or so, just as the medium was beginning to become a viable contender against film. My first serious digital cam was the Canon PowerShot Pro-1. It was stolen in an early-morning break-in, which turned out to be yet another good twist of fate. With the loss of the camera I was about to give up, but the Nikon D80 came on the scene some months later, and I made the plunge back in. Had it not been for that loss… Ink Jet printers have also come into their own, also giving traditional wet photographic printing serious competition.

So now the circle is complete: I can cover the entire photographic process in my own space, from the creation of the image in a table-top studio in the kitchen, ‘lightroom’ processing on the computer in the next room and the creation of fine art prints on the ink jet printer 3 feet away!

December 2007

UPDATE 2013:


After 10 or so years of flailing about trying to ‘become’ a fine art photographer, I threw in the towel. With millions of excellent pieces of work being produced as a result of the digital revolution,my work was just one more bit of plankton floating on a huge sea. Around this time I began to look into the Arduino to build a control to capture water drops. During this work I realized I had ZERO ‘shop’ capabilities; even the simple task of sawing off a small piece of wood was a challenge!

So from this and a growing ennui with photography (and the cost of printing) I decided to end the photo work, and create (actually re-create) a little machine shop. That took from about March of 2013 to October of 2013 to complete. The sale of the more deluxe camera equipment funded the project. The Nikon D7000 and the workhourse 16-85mm lens was kept to handled general documentation, as well as my beloved 105mm Micro-Nikkor Macro lens.

It is a bit of sweet serendipity that my initials (AVR) are the same as the Atmel micro controller that I’ve been working with.

A new epoch begins… All in all a pretty good ride!