The Bungalow Inc

The Bungalow, Inc.
Kodak VR35 K40
Fujicolor 200 (I think)
2011

Of late I’ve been either busy, or ill, or busy and ill. It’s left little energy for photography. So to feed the blog I’ve been trawling through my photo archive for ones that please me. My mom bought me my first Kodak VR35 K40 new in the late 80s. Though it was just a point and shoot, it was the nicest camera I ever owned and it always did reasonable work. I don’t know what became of it. I paid a couple bucks for this one at Goodwill.

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Photography

Vacation camera audition: Olympus XA

I’ve decided to take the Nikon N2000 to Ireland. The results were just too, too good. You all swayed me heavily in your comments on that audition post, by the way. But when I made that decision I hadn’t finished the audition roll in my Olympus XA yet, so I kept shooting. Not that this was a hardship; the XA is delightful.

Olympus XAThis little camera seemed like it would be the perfect vacation companion. Indeed, Moni Smith got great shots from hers in Italy and Ireland this year.

And did it ever handle beautifully for me! It really was everything I thought I wanted in a camera for this trip: small, light, capable.

But shooting an SLR just feels right to me, righter than even the most delightful tiny rangefinder camera. And when the images from the XA came back from the processor, it sealed the deal. I wasn’t quite as happy with them as I was with those from my N2000. I’ll point out why as I share photos from this roll of Kodak T-Max 400.

Margaret and I walked the Old Northside and adjacent Herron-Morton here in Indianapolis one hot August evening while I had the XA along.

1219

It resolved detail well, and returned the fine tones I’ve come to expect from T-Max. I bought five rolls of the stuff for my trip, by the way.

Old Northside

But some of the shots on the roll suffered from a serious lack of shadow detail. I don’t get why; the light wasn’t especially challenging. Could it have been the processing? Different soup, different results? I sent the T-Max I shot in the N2000 to Old School Photo Lab; I sent this roll of T-Max to Dwayne’s.

Old church, Old Northside

Fiddling with these photos in Photoshop I kept seeing blobs of blue in the dark areas. That means those areas resolve to full black. No amount of sliding sliders or curving curves could fix it, meaning the detail just wasn’t there. That was never a problem on the roll of T-Max I shot in the N2000.

Apartment House Entrance

There were also the usual challenges with the viewfinder not exactly lining up with what the lens sees, which is a pet peeve. When I framed this shot, the “Foundry” logo on the right was completely in frame.

The Foundry

The XA and Margaret and I went on a walk through the cemetery near my house. This Liberty Bell replica is a favorite subject.

Liberty Bell replica

I stepped way back for this landscape shot of the bell within its housing.

Washington Park North Cemetery

I finished the roll with a few la de da shots at home. Am I one of the last men alive who irons his own shirts? Who wears ironed shirts at all? I wait for the unironed shirts to pile up and then polish them all off in marathon sessions in my bedroom while I watch shows on Netflix. You can sort of make out, there near the top of the photo up and left of the iron, some plastic boxes under the dark area that is my dresser. Those boxes contain the old cameras I haven’t shot yet.

Ironing

Really, I could do just fine with the XA in Ireland. If some of you hadn’t so strongly suggested taking an SLR, which led me to try the N2000, I would be taking the XA to Ireland!

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Blogosphere

Recommended reading

How is it Saturday again already? Fortunately, this week the harvest of good blog posts was ripe.

He’s speaking mostly of street photography, but could it apply to other things in your life that you fear. Eric Kim asks you to learn to crave fear. Read Shoot What You’re Afraid Of

Mike Connealy tells the story of an old folding Kodak camera from about a hundred years ago. I was deeply impressed with the images he got from it. Read Kodak No. 2 Folding Autographic Brownie

My roadfan buddy Denny Gibson got to see the Beatles perform live 50 years ago this week. He wrote about the experience before he forgets anything more about it. Memory is slippery. Read It Was Fifty Years Ago Today

Michael Lopp really challenged me this week by suggesting that when I think I’ve finished something, I may only have completed the part of the work that’s interesting to me. There’s usually a lot of hard work ahead to truly finish the thing. Read The Half-Life of Joy

A tortoise, aged 100, made news recently for trying to mate with a plastic dome. Ann Althouse considers the tortoise’s loneliness, and wonders aloud why the press writes euphemistically about topics such as sex, even sex such as this. Caution: frank. Read Mocking the sexual desire of a 100-year-old tortoise.

I’m on Nextdoor, the online neighborhood forum. So’s software developer Jeff Atwood‘s wife, who calls the place pretty racist. Apparently, it’s been a problem across the site, and the company is aware and is taking steps to change it. Jeff writes about how Nextdoor is using code to blunt the racism. Read Can Software Make You Less Racist?

This week’s brouhaha over the cost of EpiPens led Jim Wright to a cogent analysis of this multilayered and complex situation. I like his logical exposition, right up to the point he blames Congress for all of this. They’re part of the problem but not all of it. And I wish his post’s title were less apocalyptic. Read The Latter Days of a Better Nation, Part IV

Jennifer Bowman wrote a lovely meditation on watching our children grow up and move into the lives they choose for themselves. It resonates with me because I’m in that phase of my life, too. Read Flown

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People say that the best camera is the one you have with you, but I don’t go all the way in on that.

The camera I always have with me is my iPhone, first a 5 and now a 6s. Both have been fine for everyday snapshots — far better than any snapshot camera I owned even 10 years ago. I’ve even used them to take some pleasing artistic photos. But I muff one in 10 shots because they’re hard to hold steady. And the images go blotchy when I zoom in close. Also, their angle of view (about 60°) is too wide for the close work I like to do.

But before I go to work each morning I step into my garden to see what’s bloomed since yesterday. I pull my iPhone out of my pocket, snap a fresh bloom, and text it to Margaret for a quick morning smile.

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That’s what your phone’s camera is brilliant at: instantly sharing images of what you’re seeing and doing right now.

How useful! Margaret likes to grab selfies of us when we’re out and about to record the day’s memory. While we were in New York City earlier this year, I took several snaps with my iPhone to share on Facebook and to email to my mom in realtime. And when I come upon an old car parked, I pull out my phone and shoot the car from every angle so I can later write about the car for Curbside Classic.

I’ve read articles that wring their hands over how legions of photos on our phones will be lost because we don’t properly label and archive them. I’m not sure it matters for most of these of-the-moment photos. They’re much like these flowers: beautiful for the moment, but soon withered and fallen and swept away by the wind.

Photography

Beautiful for the moment, but soon withered and fallen and swept away by the wind

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Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1

Vintage tripod end
Canon PowerShot S95
2011

I have two of these Kodak Tripod No. 1s supporting vintage cameras on display in my home.

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Photography

This is a photography blog

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve transitioned my blog to be about photography.

A portrait of the artist

Me and my Nikon F3

Photography and blogging have become my main hobbies. And it’s been staring me in the face for years: if you read my blog, you either share photography as a hobby or at least have some interest in it. When I review my stats, with few exceptions photography-related posts are the most popular.

So much has been written about photography already, though. I don’t want to say the same things everybody else has already said. The Internet is chock full of Photoshop tutorials, reasons why Tri-X is the best b/w film ever, step-by-step instructions for developing film, and why the iPhone is a great camera. I see no point in covering that ground here.

And it’s not like I’m a deeply experienced photographer who has guru-level wisdom to share about the art. I’m just a hobbyist. I’ve learned a lot over the ten years or so I’ve been serious about my work, and I’m happy to share of what I know. But many of you reading this are more accomplished photographers than me. Your photos and writings frequently teach me things.

What I think I offer that’s different and interesting is my perspective on life, which comes from a combination of how I’m wired and some enormously difficult times I’ve lived through. When I say things from those places as I write about photography, I offer you something different and interesting — and, hopefully, valuable to you. So that’s what I’m going to try to do. It’s what I’ve been trying to do for several months now.

Those kinds of posts take a lot of time to write, though. So I’ll keep writing gear reviews and share photographs from the places I go. I will also still tell the occasional personal story because I won’t be able to help myself.

But here’s the thing: this is harder than what I used to do, which was write about whatever I wanted. And I picked a great year to do this: the year I got married. I do like to pile it on. It’s been both interesting and challenging to keep the blog going this summer.

I like a challenge. I think that’s why I’m doing this. And you’re responding. You’re leaving more comments, and new posts are getting somewhere between double and triple the views as before.

This blog has always been a personal experiment to try things and see what happens. Well, I’m trying this now. Let’s see what happens!

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