Shop Tibet

Shop Tibet
Canon EOS A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF
Kodak Tri-X 400
2017

Tomorrow I continue my Favorite Subjects series with a very long post about Broad Ripple Village. I’ll give a thumbnail of the area’s history tomorrow, but in short this was once a town outside Indianapolis but is today one of its neighborhoods.

I’ve photographed this little shop over and over again, unconsciously. It wasn’t until I looked back through all my photos of the Village that I saw how many times I’d captured it!

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Photography

single frame: Shop Tibet

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Photography

Do any of your photographs hang in your home?

John Smith shared a favorite photo on his blog recently (here) and said it was the only one he’s taken that hangs in his home.

Like him, I’m perfectly happy to view my work on my computer. But I do have six photographs framed and hanging in my home. These:

Bridgeton Covered Bridge Canadian River Bridge
Old US 36 Old US 36
Early autumn sunrise, almost Indianapolis Ford F-500 fire truck

The bridge (and Bridge Out) photos hang in my home office. I love old bridges and like these photos and thought they’d make a nice series. My prints are all 8x10s, though, and cropped to fit.

office

The silhouetted tree hangs because I printed and framed it for a contest, which to my surprise it won. I had a spare spot on my hallway wall so after the contest that’s where I put it. It, too, is an 8×10. I had uploaded the cropped version to Flickr and so that’s what you see in this post.

The Ford photo hangs in my bathroom. After I remodeled that room several years ago a bare spot on the wall seemed just right for some sort of hanging, but nothing seemed right until I took this photo. The red of the fire truck’s body is the same shade of red I used in bathroom accessories. So I printed it 4×6, framed it, and hung it in that spot.

I get my frames at Walmart, of all places. They have a surprisingly good selection, and quality is reasonable.

Which photographs that you’ve taken hang in your home? Tip: If you paste into your comment a complete URL to a Flickr page, or a complete URL to an image file (a file ending in .jpg or .png or .gif), the image will appear in the comment for all to see!

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Tiny shrubs

Tiny shrubs
Pentax KM, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax
Fujicolor 200
2012

Here’s one more photo from Juan Solomon Park, when the landscaping was still new. Unfortunately, the landscaping is the one part of the project that has not succeeded. Most of the original plants died and have been replaced, sometimes more than once.

Let me also explain that yesterday’s post about this park was the first in a series of Favorite Subjects posts I’m writing. Several places near my home have become favorite places to test cameras, and now that I’m getting ready to move away I’m looking back at my favorite photos from these places.

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single frame: Tiny shrubs

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Favorite subjects: Juan Solomon Park

JuanSolomon

Imagery and map data © 2017 Google

The city park nearest my home is a few minutes’ drive away, where Grandview Drive and Fox Hill Road intersect on Indianapolis’s Northwestside. Driving by, it seems small — a tennis court, a playground, a community building. But behind it are 41 acres of trails and soccer fields.

Juan Solomon Park was built in 1971 but didn’t get its name until 1973. Mr. Solomon was not only a community leader, but a neighbor — he lived across the street from the park when he passed away.

My young sons and I spent many happy hours here, me on a bench watching while they ran and played. This park was usually packed with children. My older boy made friends with everyone. My younger boy seemed content to play alone, but was always clearly delighted when his older brother called him into the playgroup.

And then in about 2010 the city tore down the playground. My sons were older by then and we didn’t visit anymore, but it made us sad just the same. And it didn’t make sense to us, given how popular the park remained.

What we didn’t know was that the city had innovative plans for the site. Much of the Northwestside was built before the city annexed it in 1970. Thousands of homes were built without city services, and their aging septic systems were leaching waste into the waterways. The city was aggressively building its sanitary sewer system out to this part of town and compelling homeowners to connect to it. I was one of those homeowners; read about my experience here, here, and here.

Pumping stations would be needed to manage this much waste, and one would be built at Juan Solomon Park. But the building would also become a community center, and a brand new playground would be built. And when it was done, it was beautiful.

Here’s the pumping station and community center just after it was completed in 2012. I love how the building features a sod roof.

Sod roof

Pentax KM, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax, Fujicolor 200, 2012

This building is a wonderful subject for black-and-white film. The dark glass and white framing create lovely contrast.

At Juan Solomon Park

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Arista 100 EDU (expired), 2015

Buliding at Juan Solomon Park

Ansco Shur Shot, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros, 2012

Most of the time I visited Juan Solomon Park with a camera, it was to take advantage of the abundant color and detail on the playground. The playground’s surface is made of innovative, cushiony squares that can be replaced when damaged. When they were new, their colors were vibrant.

Tubes

Pentax KM, Fujicolor 200, SMC Pentax f/1.8 55mm, 2012

Wet seat

Pentax KM, Fujicolor 200, SMC Pentax f/1.8 55mm, 2012

At the playground

Olympus XA, Fujicolor 200, 2012

Seat

Canon Dial 35-2, Fujicolor 200, 2013

The grounds are full of interesting shapes, forms, and lines.

Top of the wall

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E, Ilford Delta 100, 2015

Equipment

Canon Dial 35-2, Fujicolor 200, 2013

At Juan Solomon Park

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Arista 100 EDU (expired), 2015

My favorite thing to photograph at Juan Solomon Park is shadow. The sun has free reign over the playground and casts shadows at nearly all times of day.

Shadows 2

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Arista 100 EDU (expired), 2015

Image01.jpg

Pentax KM, 28mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-M, Kodak Tri-X 400, 2017

At Juan Solomon Park

Pentax KM, 28mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-M, Kodak Tri-X 400, 2017

Now that the rebuilt park has been open five years, color is fading from the play surface. But the rest of the facility is remarkably free of vandalism and graffiti. It remains a shining destination for this solidly middle-class neighborhood.

At Juan Solomon Park

Pentax K1000, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax, Kodak Gold 400, 2017

And I’m going to miss it when I move later this year. But there will, I’m sure, be new favorite subjects to find where I’m going.

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Blogosphere

Recommended reading

You know the drill: good blog posts from around the Net all this week. Enjoy.

I’m not a big fan of goals. I like direction instead: which way am I going? Because goals are a focus, but direction lets me enjoy the journey. Nathan Kontny, writing for Signal v. Noise, tells a story from his life that illustrates this. Read Not meeting your goals

Several years ago I shared with you my visit to an S bridge on the National Road in Pennsylvania. (See it here.) Adam Prince shares historic photos of it, including from when the current alignment of US 40 was built. Read The National Road – Pennsylvania – Claysville ‘S’ Bridge

If you were a child at any time in the last 60 years, you’ve heard her voice. June Foray, who voiced Rocket J. Squirrel, Granny (to Tweety and Sylvester), Jokey Smurf, and even Cindy Lou Who, has died, aged 99. She worked nearly to the end. Mark Evanier worked with her many times and remembers both the woman and her storied eight-decade career. Read June Foray, R.I.P.

Here’s June Foray herself talking about my favorite of her roles, Rocky:

Film-camera reviews and experience reports:

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Photography

Kodak EasyShare C613 Zoom

Inexpensive cameras were crap during my 1970s kidhood and only slightly better during my 1980s teenagerhood. A basic new camera could be had for under $25, but most of them had limited utility and were cheaply made. A camera my dad gave me as a gift was typical, boasting a plastic lens and a camera-shaking stiff shutter. I recorded hundreds of childhood memories with it, but most of the prints are blurry.

By the mid 2000s you could get an entry-level digital camera for about the same money, adjusted for inflation, which works out to about a hundred bucks. And that’s what I paid for this Kodak EasyShare C613 Zoom when I bought it as a gift for my youngest son.

Kodak EasyShare C613

This camera was introduced in 2007, the same year as the iPhone. That first iPhone’s camera couldn’t hold a candle to this Kodak, but as we all know smartphone cameras soon became good, even brilliant in some ways, and put an end to the entry-level digital camera. While there is no substitute for a wafer-thin camera that’s always with you and connects seamlessly to social media, I do regret the loss of Kodak’s digital camera business. You see, no other camera maker renders color as appealing as Kodak. Oh, I know appeal is subjective. Hang in there with me; photos from this camera follow. You’ll see.

Kodak EasyShare C613

On the surface there isn’t much to the C613. You get a few modes, 3x optical zoom, and built-in automatic flash. It’s meant not to confuse the casual snapshooter. That’s definitely what my youngest son was when I bought it for him. But it’s been a reliable performer all these years.

Kodak EasyShare C613

The 6-megapixel C613 packs a 36-108mm f/2.7-4.8 Kodak AF Optical Aspheric lens. (If you’re a Millennial or younger, you’re probably chuckling that this lens is Kodak AF.) Most users probably just left the C613 on Auto, but this camera also offers an image-stabilization mode, a macro mode, and a host of scene modes such as snow, beach, and sports. It also takes 640×480 QuickTime video. If you dig into the menu, you’ll find a surprising amount of control including the ability to set ISO (80, 100, 200, 400, 1250); adjust white balance; choose among multi-pattern, center-weighted, and spot metering; and choose multi- or center-zone autofocus. The C613 stores images on an SD card, but also offers limited built-in storage. Two AA batteries power it.

In 2009 I borrowed this camera from my son for a day. My church had a concert in its parking lot and I was on the crew. I wanted to photograph the event in spare moments, but my comparatively bulky Kodak Z730 wouldn’t fit into any of my pockets. My son’s svelte C613 did, though.

And then wow, did this little camera perform! It delivered excellent sharpness and candylike color. This is Nancy, who organized and hosted the event.

Praise and Music Festival

We rented this stage. The C613’s lens was probably at its widest angle, 36mm equivalent, which added good drama to my easy camera angle.

Praise and Music Festival

In spare moments I pretended to be a concert photographer, even though I’m sure I looked ridiculous with this little plastic camera. This bassist went along with the charade, deliberately posing for me as he casually fingered his instrument.

Praise and Music Festival

That concert was a remarkable experience for reasons that have nothing to do with the C613. I told that story here.

Eight years on my youngest son is preparing to leave for college and I’m preparing to move in with my new wife. These big transitions for both of us made it necessary to clean out his childhood room. We sorted his things into three piles: keepers, things to donate, and things to pitch. He put the C613 onto the donate pile, thanks to a capable camera on his Android phone.

I palmed this little camera and later installed a spare SD card and fresh batteries. I first photographed flowers in my yard. I love macro photography. But the C613 often struggles to focus in macro mode, especially when the lens is at all zoomed. I frequently had to do a little dance with the C613, repeatedly adjusting framing and pressing the shutter button halfway in hopes the autofocus system could grab onto something. Sometimes it simply wouldn’t. And of course you have no control over depth of field. But when it manages to focus, it does reasonable work.

Basket o' flowers

The autofocus system works best on high-contrast subjects, like this yellow flower on a dark green background.

Yellow

Most of the time I shot the C613 at the wide end of its zoom range simply because that’s where it goes when you turn it on. 36mm is a great focal length for everyday walk-around photography. Or drive-around photography, as is the case in this photograph.

Wrecks

But shooting wide reveals the C613’s fatal flaw: barrel distortion, gobs of it. These two photos are certainly not interesting in and of themselves, but the first shot shows this barrel distortion well. The second shot shows it corrected, which I did easily enough in Photoshop: open the RAW editor, set distortion to 14, set scale to 104%. At 36mm, those settings worked every time.

Window awaiting painting Window awaiting painting

That distortion goes away more the farther out you zoom. None is evident on this max-zoom (108mm) photo off my deck.

Back yard

I checked the flash’s performance in a few photos. It appears, appropriately, to be optimized for shots across a room in your house, such as of your kid on his birthday. This photo of my Kodak Monitor is about as close as you dare get when using flash. Any closer and the flash washes out the subject and creates a spotlight effect. This post is already too long or I’d show you that flash also did a good job illuminating a shadowy close-up subject against a well-lit background. The C613 sets flash to “auto” every time you turn on the camera and guesses when flash is needed. Sometimes the C613 guesses well, other times not. More than once I shot a scene twice because the C613 thought I needed flash when I really didn’t.

Monitor

I did take these recent photos into Photoshop to correct distortion, fix little exposure sins, and tweak color to my liking. But every one of the photos I’m sharing here were plenty usable right out of the camera. The concert photos far above had no post-processing and look great.

View through the hosta

This shot of the oak in my front yard is my favorite from my test. Sure, I had to notice this scene and the subtle light play to be able to photograph it. But the C613 captured it well.

Oak

You can see more shots from this camera in my Kodak EasyShare C613 Zoom gallery.

The C613 a passable little digicam. It’s not perfect — on top of the barrel distortion and fussy macro-mode autoexposure, the screen washes out entirely in direct sun and its color fidelity is terrible, so you are never sure you got the shot. But compared to any camera of this inflation-adjusted price class forty or even thirty years ago it’s a stunning performer. I would have died and gone to heaven as a kid for a camera this good at this inflation-adjusted price.

To see the rest of my camera collection, click here
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