💻 The world may feel chaotic now in the age of Trump and Brexit, but Jeff Minch (writing as “The Big Red Car”) came of age in the late 1960s and, comparing then to now, explains how this chaos ain’t nothing compared to 1969. ReadWhat Chaos?
💻 Facebook is bullish on encryption in its products — making it so they can’t see what you post. Scott Galloway has a chilling take on why this is bad for the entire world. ReadEncryption
📷 Olli Thompson shares a solid review of the Yashica MG-1, a 35mm rangefinder that’s sort of the junior partner to the Electro series. ReadYashica MG-1
At the encouragement of fellow blogger Dan James I got my Canon PowerShot S80 out and have been shooting it. This 2005 camera is positively ancient as digital cameras go, but it still works and delivers fine shapness and color in its eight-megapixel images. It’s been frightfully cold so I haven’t been out shooting much, but now that it’s March it should start warming up.
The S80 was a gift from a reader. (Lone Primate, are you still out there?) It became my chief road-trip camera, such as on a trip exploring all the old bridges of Putnam County, Indiana, in 2010. (Read about that trip here and here.)
I also used the S80 as I explored US 50 across Indiana in 2010. It’s a spectacular road.
If you ever get a chance to drive Indiana’s US 50, do. It’s lined with charming little towns with plenty of great old architecture.
This wooden bridge was on US 50’s original alignment in Jennings County, Indiana. It’s been demolished in a road realignment. Never delay taking a road trip — what’s here today might not be tomorrow!
I made this quick shot in my hometown of South Bend while there on business one afternoon.
When each of my sons turned 13 I took them on the train to Chicago, just son and father, for a weekend of sightseeing. My older son and I explored Millennium Park one foggy morning.
The S80 whetted my appetite for a high-quality compact digital camera. Canon had recently released the S80’s successor, the S90, which they shortly updated as the S95. That’s the camera I went for in late 2010; my S80 days were brief in comparison to all the years I’ve used the S95. But when I charged the S80’s battery and inserted it, the camera fired right up. Let’s see what it can do.
When I started making photographs again in 2005 I couldn’t afford a new digital camera, so long story short I bought a used Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80 for $20 and some film and got to shooting. That necessarily meant I’d need to find a lab to process my film.
Walmart still processed and scanned color negative film, for about $6 I think. Money was tight for me then, but I could manage that price if I didn’t shoot too often. So that’s who I used.
I have lamented on this blog (here) the loss of easy, inexpensive film processing at drug and big-box stores. The by-mail labs I use now charge up to three times more than Walmart used to. But perhaps you get what you pay for.
I was looking back through old scans recently to update my review of the Kodak Retina Ia and was surprised and disappointed with the dull color. I didn’t see it then, as I had a lot to learn. I sure see it now. I don’t blame the camera — that Retina’s lens is crackerjack. I also shot Fujicolor 200, a film I know well. So I blame the processing and/or the scanning. I brought the scans into Photoshop hoping to improve them. I got better color at the cost of too much contrast, but I couldn’t tone that down without making the images too hazy.
These aren’t bad images, but they could be better.
I did some quick checking of other images I had processed and scanned by Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and CVS, and think that I get noticeably better work from the by-mail labs I use now. The only in-store lab that did equal work was Costco.
In 2012 I bought a Retina IIa and put it through its paces with another roll of Fujicolor 200. I forget who I used to process and scan the film — probably Dwayne’s Photo or Old School Photo Lab. Can you see it like I do, how much more natural and nuanced the colors and contrast are in these?
I am a homebody. I like to be home. It’s my favorite place to be.
If you’ve followed my many road trips on this blog you might be surprised to read that. I do love to follow the old roads, see where they lead, photograph what’s on them. But then I want to go right home.
Lately I’ve wanted to be anywhere but home. I’m sick of my self, of my anxieties and my worries and my frustrations. I want to shed them. It’s why I’ve found myself pricing airline tickets to go back to Ireland. That was a place where I forgot myself for a while. It was wonderful.
Breathnach’s is a little pub in Oughterard, in County Galway. It’s where we took our first supper in Ireland, Sept. 3, 2016. I forget what we ate, except that it involved plenty of Guinness and a lovely conversation with the bar’s owner.
Margaret caught me dreaming. She gave me immediate permission to buy tickets if I found them under a certain price. She loves to travel and would rather be anywhere but home.
I spent an afternoon with my son, who’s in his last semester at Purdue. He really likes to walk, so we walked together, all over West Lafayette. It did my middle-aged body good to put some miles on my feet.
He lives in Cary Quadrangle, which is this grand old building.
We walked to the northwest corner of campus where there’s a large hill. Lots of people were out sledding. Many of them were using cardboard boxes, because who brings a sled to college? This giant stage is at the bottom of the hill.
We walked through campus a little. The cold got to me so I asked if there were a coffee shop nearby. My son led the way. We passed this building, which very clearly was once a Burger Chef restaurant. Burger Chef was a competitor to McDonalds that was headquartered in Indianapolis. (See more old Burger Chef buildings, repurposed, here.)
A burger joint still operating is the XXX, which has delicious root beer. Here’s one of its signs. You don’t see many of that style of Coca-Cola sign still in use.
Here’s another, this time in neon.
As usual, my son and I wound up at an Irish restaurant near the river. I got this nice portrait of him while we waited for our beef stew and shepherd’s pie.
Despite the cold, it was a good afternoon. I had in mind to have a long conversation with him about searching for a post-college job, but frankly, neither of us was in the mood so we skipped it and just enjoyed each other’s company.