Scenes from the American Sign Museum

The Emmanuel Baptist Church Drug Company
Pentax ME
50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

I was trying to shoot just the church sign and didn’t really see the humorous placement of the sign behind it until I got the negatives back from the processor.

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Photography, Road trips

single frame: The Emmanuel Baptist Church Drug Company

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Scenes from the American Sign Museum

HoJo’s
Pentax ME
50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

Could this have been my favorite sign in the American Sign Museum?

50mm was too confining a focal length in the museum’s tight spaces. I couldn’t back up far enough to get most scenes in. So I had to work within the constraint, using strategic framing and finding dramatic angles.

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Photography, Road trips

single frame: HoJo’s

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Scenes from the American Sign Museum

Neonpallooza
Pentax ME
50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

The neon was out in force at the American Sign Museum!

Photography, Road trips

single frame: Neonpallooza

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Scenes from the American Sign Museum

Glass-letter signs
Pentax ME
50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

I took the Pentax ME along on my Cincinnati spring break trip with Garrett. I have always wanted to shoot serious neon on film, and the American Sign Museum surely gave me a great opportunity.

But of course these signs aren’t neon. The letters are all backlit glass. Such signs preceded the neon era.

Photography, Road trips

single frame: Glass-letter signs

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Road trips

A visit to the Cincinnati Zoo

On our last spring break trip of the public school years, Garrett and I visited the Cincinnati Zoo. I love zoos, and I hadn’t been to this one in 30 years. Perhaps it was the time of year — it was quite chilly this early April day — but lots of animals weren’t out and the visit wasn’t everything we hoped for.

I made some photos with my Pentax ME and my 80-200mm Pentax zoom lens, but as of this writing the lab hasn’t sent my negatives back yet. But my Canon S95 and my iPhone 6s were in my pocket, too. So here’s some photos from those cameras.

At least the giant murder lizards were out.

Never smile

As was this monitor lizard, clinging to this zookeeper who graciously consented to a portrait in double profile. He let us touch the lizard’s skin, which felt thick and somewhat like metal scales.

Dude with monitor lizard

I adore tigers, and was disappointed, frankly, that this was the only one we saw. I remember the white tigers here from my last visit and hoped we’d see some this time.

Tiger

I can’t recall whether I’d ever seen a peacock in person before.

Peacock

As we sought a place to sit down for a snack, this one walked right up to us.

peacock

As much as I enjoy zoos and seeing the animals, I do feel sorry for them being all cooped up and wonder if such captivity is any good for them. This poor polar bear did nothing but pace back and forth along this ridge. Poor bored guy.

Pacing polar bear

The giraffes were the highlight of the visit. They were out, and they were active. This one came right up to us to eat from a trough strategically placed on the observation deck.

Giraffes

I was lucky to capture a series of photos that show an interaction between this youngster and presumably its mother.

Giraffes

Giraffes

Giraffes

Canon PowerShot S95 and iPhone 6s.

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Road trips

The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge

Bridge technology has existed since ancient times, but no bridge could span wide gaps until the suspension bridge was invented in the early 1800s. Even then, the technology had to be refined and improved before it could span a gap as wide as the Ohio River. And so it wasn’t until 1851 that the first bridge across that great waterway was built: the suspension bridge at Wheeling, WV. Following it in 1866 was the Roebling Suspension Bridge in Cincinnati. Like the Wheeling bridge, it still serves.

Roebling Bridge

It was, as its name suggests, designed and built by famed suspension-bridge designer and builder John Roebling. Except that’s not the whole story.

Roebling Bridge

In 1894 the bridge’s owners paid William Hildenbrand to significantly rework the bridge. Retaining the original towers and cables, he replaced Roebling’s deck with a new, wider, metal deck, and added new steel cables to bear its weight. Work completed in 1898 without ever closing the bridge to traffic.

Roebling Bridge

And it turns out to be wrong to say this bridge is in Cincinnati. Only its north approach is. The rest of it — indeed, most of the Ohio River itself — is in Kentucky. So this is the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge of Covington, KY. That’s where we went to photograph this bridge, by the way. Memo to leaders in Covington: It’s too hard to park in your city thanks to the old-fashioned coin parking meters. Who carries change anymore?

Roebling Bridge

Garrett and I didn’t linger long on the bridge — it was 40 degrees with strong winds. Our hands and ears quickly grew cold. We walked out partway onto the pedestrian deck long enough to get some photos, including these above and below.

Roebling Bridge

When our hands and ears couldn’t take it anymore, we headed back to the car. But it was good to experience this bridge even for a few moments.


Other suspension bridges I’ve visited: Wheeling, Brooklyn, and — are you ready for this? — Carlyle, Illinois.

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