Camera Reviews

It’s a big, heavy 1960s rangefinder, this Voigtländer Vitoret LR. It has a very contrasty lens and some awkward handling. If you like that sort of thing, this is your camera. I didn’t like it. Read my updated review here.

Voigtländer Vitoret LR

Updated review: Voigtländer Vitoret LR

67 Olds Delmont 88

Delmont 88
Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom

I’ve reached a time in life where I can recall memories from my adulthood with great clarity, as if they happened last week — but to my surprise, some of those memories are 30 years old.

As I think back beyond 30 years, memories seem to have aged on a logarithmic scale — the farther back I go, the disproportionately more ancient the memory seems. My college days now firmly feel like they happened a long time ago. My public-school days feel more remote and disconnected the farther back I recall them. What little I recall from before those days seems to have happened in another era, in a different place, the jumbled images faded and color-shifted like cheap photo prints left in the sun.

Yet so much happens in even a relatively short time span that it’s easy to forget key details. In this ten-year-old photo I’m at my first Mecum classic-car auction, having won tickets in a radio contest. I was in nirvana, happily experiencing cars I’d only ever before seen in photographs. I had recently bought my first digital camera, a surprisingly capable Kodak. I shot a couple hundred photos there with it, depleted the battery, and wished I had a spare. I switched to shooting with my phone, a Palm Pre, until its battery had depleted as well. And look at my hair! I wore it to my shoulders in those days.

This photo reminds me of most of these details. Would they be lost to me now otherwise? Do I remember the last 30 years as clearly as I think I do?

More importantly to me now: at what point will my 20s start to feel like they happened a very long time ago? My 30s? My 40s? I know a blogger in his 80s who says he mostly can’t remember his kids’ childhoods anymore. Is that my fate, too?

How does memory work, anyway?

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Personal, Photography

single frame: Delmont 88




Jct 52

Every year on my birthday I write about growing older. But 52 isn’t that old.

It’s twice as old as 26, which is about the median age of the software engineers who work for me. I feel twice their age as I notice their youthful good looks and see them struggle through things I mastered long ago. I miss my youthful good looks but would not unlearn these valuable life skills to get them back.

As the rest of my 50s unfold I look forward foremost to our children all building independent lives. I’m eager to see what they choose and whether it brings them joy and satisfaction. I am eager for Margaret and I to turn our attention toward the life we want to build for ourselves, and to enjoy our children and grandchildren.


Recommended reading

A few blog posts, good ones I found in the dusty corners of the Internet, from the week just gone by.

💻 It is said that kids today aren’t willing to work hard. Jim Klein found a couple of kids who disprove that theory by flipping luxury cars, i.e., buying them in iffy condition and restoring them cosmetically and mechanically, and selling them for a nice profit. Read Curbside Mechanics — The Kids Are Alright

💻 The news has always been depressing but lately it makes you feel like there’s no hope, like you’re powerless to do anything about it. N.S. Palmer says it’s true, you can’t do anything about it — but you’re still quite fortunate, and you can model the behavior you want to see in the world. Read What You Can Do About the World

Nikon N90s, 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor, Ilford HP5 Plus, 2019.

📷 120 film still has frame numbers printed on its backing paper mostly so old box Brownies can still use it. Modern medium-format cameras don’t need the frame numbers. This unnamed author laments a manufacturing defect at Kodak that imprinted those useless-to-him numbers onto a bunch of his images. Read Browniegate: In hoc signo vinces

📷 August is Argus camera month (Argust, the fans all say). Mike Eckman reviews, and tells the history of, one of the funniest-looking Arguses of them all, the C44R. Read Argus C44R

📷 Richard Haw not only reviews the mouth-watering Nikon 35mm f/1.4 Ai-S Nikkor lens, he gives great usage tips and describes how to disassemble it for common repairs. Goldang, now I want one of these! But I’m certainly too cheap to buy one. Read Repair: Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 Ai-S


A hike at McCormick’s Creek State Park

Margaret and I met Damion at McCormick’s Creek State Park for a little hiking.

Damion, Margaret, and Jim

Damion now lives minutes from this park, which is near the small town of Spencer, about a half hour northwest of Bloomington. It offers camping and swimming, but we’re hikers and so we care mostly about the trails.


None of us was prepared to cross this creek on our hike. We did our best to pick our way across the rocks, but all of us slipped off and hiked the rest of the way in sopping wet shoes.


Margaret and Damion explored this little cave. I wasn’t down with being on my hands and knees in shorts. Later on the trail we saw another opening to this cave, so on a return trip I’ll wear long pants and we’ll crawl through.

Wolf Cave

The most impressive sight on our hike was this waterfall. We passed by it at its level and later on a ridge, from which I made this photograph.


I didn’t intend to document this day in photographs, save perhaps the obligatory group selfie. But I’d forgotten how lovely this park is, so thank heavens for the iPhone in my pocket.

I hadn’t been here in 20 years. On my last visit, I pitched a tent for a weekend with Damion’s oldest brother, who was a teen then. That brother is now in his mid 30s and lives in Bloomington with his wife.

Damion is likely to soon move to Bloomington, as well, as he started his first career job recently and it’s located there. While I secretly wish he’d found a job closer to where I live, I’m openly glad he’ll be in the same town as his brother.

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Camera Reviews

This Canon camera was part of ushering in the 35mm point-and-shoot era. It still holds up today as a decent performer — if you can get past its super loud auto-winder. Read my updated review here.

Canon AF35ML

Updated review: Canon AF35ML