I took my Pentax KM with me to West Virginia, with the 55mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax lens attached. I had been itching to shoot with that combo again. The KM with that lens had given me such great results with color film when I tried it last year that I wanted to see how it handled black-and-white film. I chose Kodak T-Max 400 for its fine grain, after grainier Tri-X 400 disappointed me in WV last year.
I took a number of photos at the Savage House in Charleston, where we stayed. I was really looking forward to each one of them, too, but every last photo on the roll was underexposed. I think I forgot to set the KM’s film-speed dial to 400. D’oh! Photoshop Elements revived some of the photos but couldn’t save them all. This little lion stands watch over the street.
This girl carrying a jug is in the middle of a birdbath just under the front window.
Many of the photos that wouldn’t be saved came from inside the house. The setting sun bathed my bedroom in delicious light and I shot a whole bunch of frames there trying to take advantage of it. This selfie turned out passably after I Photoshopped the bejebus out of it. It looks fine at this size, but if you blow it up to full size you can see some blotchiness and pixelation.
This is my favorite photo on the whole roll. On the way back from the family reunion in Montgomery, we passed through tiny Handley, which is the world’s Grey-family headquarters. It’s a railroad town of about 400 whose glory days, to the extent it ever had them, are 50 years past. The four-room schoolhouse my father attended there has been abandoned for decades now. Here’s dad descending the steps from the schoolhouse.
This is the schoolhouse view down into the valley. The “hard road” lies between the houses and the rails; the Kanawha River between the rails and the hill that ascends beyond. Dad’s car waits there to take us away.
A few shots were left on the roll when I returned home. These purple carnations were in a purple vase on my dining-room table, and when I moved them into the sunlight they made a fine subject.
This 55mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax lens is pushing 40 years old, but it still delights.
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Last updated on 15 March 2020 by Jim Grey