A Year in Photos

Photography, fiction, and personal essays form my three primary creative outlets. For this blog's first 18 months, I used it primarily for photography. As I've returned to creative writing, I'll use this blog for fiction, too. Sometimes, when reality needs to be discussed more than truth, I write personal essays.

This blog will continue to showcase as many above-average photos as I can muster. Hopefully my written work will be as good or better than the visual. Whichever drew you here -- photographs or fiction, I hope you enjoy both.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Year in Photos: Week Twenty-seven

This week will be a bit light as I prepare for my Japan trip. I'll have posts on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Here's a glimpse of what we'll see.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Found Photos Friday: Castles

It's time for another Found Photos Friday! This box of Europe photos I got at an estate sale for $1 back in January has just been the gift that keeps giving fantastic and interesting photos. It's been hard, though, too, knowing that the people in them are probably all dead and that these photos represent something lost -- the people, the era, and the settings themselves. Sure, Carcasonne castle is probably unchanged, but I found both of these Irish locations on Google Earth and used Street View to see that they look MUCH different now. No permanence exists except the certainty for change. Does that mean, however, that we should not look back upon what we had, mourn for what we lost, and ask why it had to happen that way? To refuse a backward glance is to refuse a forward look and an opportunity to improve.

Baily Lighthouse, County Dublin, Ireland. From the mid-1950s above, and today, below.

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Bunratty Castle, County Clare, Ireland. From the mid 1950s, above, and today, below.

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Carcasonne Castle, France, mid-1950s.

You may recall her from the Paris photos last week.

I suspect this is the same kid who was much shorter and younger in the Grand Canyon photos from two weeks ago. These photos and the Grand Canyon shots were separate by six years, I believe.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

F3 Workout

I took my Nikon F3 on a Memorial Day hike in the Lime Ridge Open Space. I wanted to get some nice nature photos and see if any wildlife was active. None was, but I managed a few nice shots in the open space anyway. I shot eleven rolls of film, including a roll of mystery film that exposes at ISO 1.6. It came in a container labeled Kodak 2383, and the film matches the general description of 2383, but it lacks the edge markings. Anyway, here are some of the better shots, taken on various films, from the hike.

Here's a sample shot from the mystery film. You can see it has pretty nice tones and incredible detail, but it's ISO 1.6 and I just don't know what I can even do with that.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Focus: Out of

I picked up some cameras for a pretty reasonable price a few months back. One was a Kodak Vest Pocket Autographic 127 -- a high-end model with real leather. This camera, from 1918, was for a short while my oldest camera (until two weeks later in Petaluma, the trip from yesterday's post, when I bought a second Kodak Brownie Model B that is a few years older.)

In a nutshell, I thought I had fully extended the bellows for each shot, but I fully extended it for none of them. After a few of these horribly out of focus photos, I'll link to my video about the Vest Poacket Autographic 127.

That's about as in focus as I got. Having figured out what I did wrong, I need to now go back and try again.

Yeah. It kinda hurts my eyes to look at them, too.

It's almost artistic it's so blurry.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mustang, Angel, and Cannon

The day after the Oakland aviation museum, I had a partial roll of TMax 100 left to kill. So I took the Pentax KM and the SMC-A 50mm 1:2 with me to Petaluma and captures a few interesting shots around the city.







Sunday, June 23, 2013

In the Jet Age

A few weeks ago, I visited the Oakland Aviation Museum. It's not huge -- you can easily take it all in with a 90-minute visit -- but it has some good displays. Rooms on the sides present artifacts and dioramas that present the history of aviation. These aren't the typical timelines and such, though. The rooms dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen and women in flight were very interesting and informative.

But I went for the planes. Planes are pretty neat and to be able to photograph them up close is a nice treat. The indoor exhibits present planes in very nice repair that are well maintained and attractive. The outside exhibits present slightly more weathered planes that show some age and abuse.

Mig-15. Pentax KM, Samyang 18-28mm 1:4 (at 18mm), Ilford P4 Surveillance Film pushed one or two stops.

This Mig-15 wasn't the best-looking plane at the museum, but it was probably my favorite. I like these old Migs with their big gaping maws like mouths sucking in air like a while drinks in krill. Developed in 1947 and first flown in 1949, these old Migs still fly today. Some air forces use them as trainers. I doubt any remain active duty fighter craft, though, as a Mig-15 against an F-22 would be like using a Tandy to out-hack a Cray.

In addition to limited use as trainers, there are a bit more than a dozen of these in the U.S. that are privately owned and used in air shows and for fun. Were I independently wealthy, I could see having one of these for fun. Of course, me flying a fighter jet ends in a fiery death for me and anyone standing where I crash. Like three minutes after getting in it. I might not even be off the ground, but somehow I would crash it. I should never learn to fly.

TMax 100, Pentax SMC-A 50mm 1:2.

This is the plane that Harrison Ford sat in for Indiana Jones. Yes. In fact, you can sit in the seat he used. How neat is that? Pretty neat.

Ilford P4, SMC-A.
Flared nostril.

Crazy 18mm perspective warping. Almost as good as a fisheye.

A Year in Photos: Week Twenty-six

I head to Japan in a week or so for a three-week business trip, so my blog may (or may not) be inactive for July. That said, this week will be full of new photos. Well, except Friday when we'll visit Ireland and France to check out some castles from the 1950s.

Also, not to get your hopes up, but I have some AWFUL photos to share on Wednesday. Wow. I should have learned how to use that camera before testing it.

Anyway, this week on A Year in Photos I'll get sucked into a jet turbine,

see an angel,

devastate all the photographic street cred I've built in the last 20 years,

take a picture of my imaginary friend Farspanargyle,

and take us back to Ireland and Carcasonne, France, in the mid 1950s.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Found Photos Friday: Viva France!

These are from the same box as the Amsterdam photos two weeks ago and Grand Canyon photos last week. These two had quite the travel bug. At least in this set we finally get to see the travelers. And, I think I added all of these to my Panoramio account. You can see where (at least most of) these photos were taken, and a few others not in this post. Let me tell you, that took some time and research to do.

Notre Dame

And Nortre Dame again

I think they liked the cathedral.

Interestingly, today, it's much cleaner looking.

CHECK OUT THOSE AMAZING OLD CARS! I love seeing old cars in these slides.

"Don't worry, no one will think you're a tourist."

That bus looks like a smiling anime kids cartoon character and that middle car looks like it has a mustache. A CAR WITH A MUSTACHE!

The Louvre, I think.

I forget this building's name.

Lucky Find

I saw this at Lucky's Grocery Store the other week. Something doesn't add up.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Polaroid SX-70 and Impossible Film

I have two Polaroid SX-70 cameras. These shots are from the Model 2 in white and tan. It's a very pretty camera and is probably the one of these that I will keep. I took it to a softball game in May and here are some results.

Someone, upon seeing these, remarked that they have a very 90's look. Interestingly, a friend about ten years my junior commented that these have a very 80's look. To my eyes, they look like their from the 70's. To a friend who's ten years my senior, they looked like they're from the late 60's.

Polaroids don't hold a specific epoch in their look, feel, and appeal. Polaroids instead remind of something we saw before the advent of digital -- a photo we could take and shake and watch materialize in front of our eyes. Then we could write a note on the border and chemical packet grip and stick a pin through it and hang it on our wall. Polaroids weren't meant to be ultra-refined and pixel-sharp; Polaroids were meant to -- and success at -- capturing a moment's essence. Polaroid images capture the feeling and sense of a moment and in enough detail that we recall it, but not in so much that we are forced to relive it. Polaroids offer us a memory but with the grace of distance and time, and we associate them with something from years ago, from a time we remember as happier, and we associate the photo, new or old, with that sense of youthful happiness, imbuing it into any Polaroid whether we took it today or in some previous, nearly forgotten decade that remains in our minds as little more than whispers and ghosts.

Very retro look. Very hipster.

Lined up waiting to go.

Sunset and trash can.

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