So I forked over the $35 and took my treasures home for further inspection. I'd already learned from a woman at the sale that the camera — a 1950s Ihagee Dresden Exakta mounted with a Carl Zeiss lens — was owned by photographer Walter Alexander, a Yale graduate and the man responsible for installing Virginia's first ATMs. Who knew?
The more I dug through the bag, the more excited I became. Tucked inside a red leather box with tiny gold lettering was a Pierre Angénieux retrofocus lens, introduced by the French optician in 1950. I learned that this lens inspired other lens makers to produce similar wide-angle lenses for almost every 35mm SLR.
The best part though? The camera had film in it. Though it looked fairly new, I can't wait to finish up the roll and see what comes out. Long live film!