My first book! Exceptional Ordinary: Everyday Photography with the Pentax ME

Exceptional images can be made with even the most ordinary 35mm SLR. The Pentax ME certainly qualifies as ordinary, with its middling specifications and features. Yet I’ve done some of my best work with this camera and the great Pentax lenses that mount on it, and I want to share some of that work with you.

That’s why I’ve assembled 30 images I made with this camera, images I like best, into a book — Exceptional Ordinary: Everyday Photography with the Pentax ME.


It’s easy to forget that for most of photography’s history, a photograph was a physical, tangible object. Even now that film photography appears to be finding a new niche after years of decline, so many of us film photographers scan our negatives and work with the resulting digital images.

I wanted both to hold prints of my photographs in my hands and to share them with you. That’s why I collected them into a book. And in the book I described each photo with the same kind of words you’re used to finding here on my blog. Click here to see a preview. Click my book’s cover below to buy one (either paper or PDF) on


41 responses to “My first book! Exceptional Ordinary: Everyday Photography with the Pentax ME”

  1. dreamingofluminousthings Avatar

    Hey Jim, I’m just wondering how you went about publishing your book? I really want to publish my poetry but I don’t know how to.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Hayley, I’m not sure I have great advice for you as this is the only book I’ve self-published. I suppose if I were to do a text-intensive book I’d look into CreateSpace.

      1. dreamingofluminousthings Avatar

        Alright thank you so much! :)

  2. WordCatcher Avatar

    congratulations! i know your book will be awesome ☺

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you!

  3. Richard Avatar

    The preview at Blurb looks good Jim, Blurb is great for getting your book out there without a hugh outlay, I’ve brought a few over the years. Looking forward to seeing the rest in the PDF.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Going this route was easy enough. I’ll write more about the experience on Wednesday!

  4. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

    I look forward to seeing it. Very cool!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Jim!

  5. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Congrats! I love self-made books and have seen a lot of really well done ones on Blurb!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Andy! Mine turned out very nicely, if I do say so myself!

  6. Jason Shafer Avatar
    Jason Shafer

    Jim, thank you for the generous offer. As my daughter has caught the photography bug (if that’s a good term for it), your book should help encourage and cultivate her ambition.

    Congratulations on your book! I’m looking forward to seeing it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Pass my good wishes along to your daughter!

  7. Mike Avatar

    Nice looking layout. I’ll look forward to seeing the real thing. and also reading about your experience in producing the book.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Mike – check back Wednesday.

  8. peggy Avatar

    Congratulations on the book and thank you for the generous offer of a free version. I too look forward to seeing the physical object and reading more about your experiences.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! Hope you enjoy it.

  9. Johnny Martyr Avatar

    I did my first gallery exhibit, in part, with an ME Super. I have always enjoyed how small & quiet these often overlooked cameras are. And Pentax glass, of course, is no slouch. Congrats on your book Jim!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The Pentax glass is the real secret here — it’s wonderful!

  10. PiscesPhotographer Avatar

    Congratulations on your book

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you!

  11. Michael McNeill Avatar
    Michael McNeill

    Congratulations Jim on getting your book together. Looking forward to the photos!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you Michael! A you know, I don’t often print — this book was a way of printing and sharing!

  12. Peter Avatar

    Congrats on your first book, Jim. Don’t let it be the last one though.
    I worried that there’d be no delivery option for my country, but Blurb seems to ship to about anywhere and shipping price is reasonable. I really want a physical copy. Good quality prints always help appreciate photos.
    And your free PDF offer is generous, so thank you.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The image quality on my proof from Blurb was pretty good. Not the level of quality you’d get from a pro printing house but more than good enough to get a real sense of the image.

  13. Christopher Smith Avatar
    Christopher Smith

    Congrat’s on the book Jim it’s looking great, wonderful photos. The ME is a great little camera and it’s in the right hands producing great photo’s

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Christopher! It was fun putting the book together

  14. Laurie Avatar

    Jim, I just quickly scanned the book but had to stop and jump on here to say thank you for the PDF. As a former Hoosier, I know I will enjoy the photos! Also wanted to let you know that just 2 weeks ago I bought a Spotmatic sporting a Super-Takumar 55mm 1:1.8 lens after reading your review! I wanted the lens, but now loving the camera as well. My guess is I will now be on the lookout for the ME Super after seeing the book! Congratulations!!!!

    1. bettyinparis Avatar

      And I meant the ME, not the ME Super (was just looking at the Super on another page). Although knowing me, I’ll end up with both!

    2. Jim Grey Avatar

      I hope you enjoy your new old Spotmatic and that 55/1.8 lens! And as the ME Super is essentially an ME with full manual operation, if you get a Super you don’t also need the plain ME!

  15. Steve Miller Avatar
    Steve Miller

    Thanks for the PDF copy, Jim. Nicely done, and great picture selections!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My pleasure!

  16. Photobooth Journal Avatar

    That was sneaky leaving the surprise giveaway to the end! I wonder how many people will be kicking themselves for not having read all of this post. 😁 I’m off to see the preview.
    PS I have bought some books from Blurb. They do a fine job.

  17. Photobooth Journal Avatar

    Garrett and Gracie are lovely photos from the preview, Jim. Especially loved the look on Garrett’s face. I think the title you have chosen should get plenty of people interested. It is really grabbed my attention in the post title. Congratulations! I hope it goes well! Kate.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m grateful for the feedback on my title. I don’t love it. But it was the best one I could come up with!

  18. Paul Avatar

    Congratulations Jim on your 1st book. It’s something I’ve recently been giving thought to doing myself. I love the fact you’ve shot these on a Pentax, I think there a very underrated brand that deliver excellent images. Unfortunately these days it’s all Canon and Nikon. I myself shoot with a Pentax KX DSLR which must be almost 9 years old now, it still works and even though it’s been rained on and dropped and dunted on my many walks it’s still going strong with hardly even a mark to show for it. I’d love to see more people giving this great brand a go. Best of luck with your book, hopefully this will be the first of many.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It is a shame, isn’t it, how Pentax failed to be counted among the Nikons and Canons? I still don’t own a DSLR, but if I were to buy one I’d have to look seriously at Pentax if for no other reason than I already own many K-mount (manual focus) lenses.

  19. Dan Cluley Avatar
    Dan Cluley

    I haven’t had a chance to look through it all yet, but am not surprised that it looks very good.

    I remember some of the State Fair photos from the blog, and still like them a lot.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Dan! I did include a few State Fair photos in there. They did turn out, didn’t they?

  20. Edwin P Paar Avatar
    Edwin P Paar

    Thank you for the free PDF. It is an awesome first effort. I am looking forward to buying your future efforts.

    One quibble. Most of the book consists of a picture followed by the comment. Four times (pages 16-17, 26-27, 36-37, 40,-41) this sequence is reversed which is a little confusing. Other than that small matter it s a great job with some really wonderful pictures.

    Peter in Savannah

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Peter, the challenge with the PDF is that it doesn’t show the book’s spreads. In print, the reversed text-photo sequences make more sense because they open as a spread. I organized them that way because those photos seemed to orient better on the right page than the left.

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