Stories Told

Summer’s denouement

I first shared this story on 14 September 2008, and have shared it three other times since. I also shared it in my book, A Place to Start — click here to learn more.

During my 1970s kidhood when schools started after Labor Day as God intended, my mid-August birthday always meant summer was beginning to end. By then, the afternoon sun was at its hottest and most intense, the annual August dry spell began to toughen and dry all that had been green, and the street lights switched on earlier to send everyone inside for long quiet evenings with our families and our TVs.

Summertime children on Lancaster Drive. August 1976.

The dozens of children all up and down Rabbit Hill, as our parents nicknamed our prolific neighborhood, always sensed these changes. We squeezed in as much play as we could before time ran out. One fellow down the street, thinking he was Mickey Rooney in Babes in Arms, always organized and directed an end-of-summer show, an extravaganza that nobody would come and watch because everybody was in it. I would push to reach the new tree-climbing heights my brother and his best friend had mastered weeks before, heightening their schadenfreude when I would inevitably fall, have the wind knocked out of me, and make that loud but hilarious sucking noise that only sounds like death is imminent. Somebody would connive their mother into have a big running-through-the-sprinkler get-together at which gallons of Kool-Aid were served. Several kids sold lemonade or toys at a family garage sale to raise money for Jerry’s Kids. The chubby fellow who lived where the street curved sang his slightly naughty rhymes more often (“In 1944/My father went to the war/He stepped on the gas/And blew out his ass/In 1944!”). And then the Jerry Lewis telethon was on everybody’s TV. It was Labor Day weekend, and we all knew it was over.

Rabbit Hill in 2010. The house I grew up in is on the right side, white with blue trim.

On the day after school started, we could still play war in full army gear in the wide easement behind the houses, ride our bikes and Big Wheels up and down the hill making siren sounds as if we were a horde of ambulances and police cars (imagine 20 children doing this on your street!), play endless Red Rover in the freckled girl’s front yard, and watch the four-year-old girl next door eat sand with a spoon (oh, if her mom only knew). But we didn’t, hardly. We lost our enthusiasm. It was time to button ourselves back down and return to school-day routines.

Rabbit Hill conditioned me well; I still recognize and lament the signs of summer’s end. Kids have been back in school for weeks already. The grass hasn’t grown much lately because of the annual dry spell. My air conditioner has been off more days than it’s been on; it was too chilly the other morning to drive to work with the window down. I’ve crammed as much outside time as I can into these days to enjoy their freedom, but the end is in sight. Shorts will soon give way to long pants and short sleeves will give way to long sleeves. I’ll be in a windbreaker with a rake in my hands, collecting my trees’ deposits. The snow will fly and I’ll be hunkered down at home.

I still feel restricted, buttoned down, in fall and winter. Here’s hoping for a long, warm Indian summer first!

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Film Photography

Shooting the 50mm f/3.5 Olympus Zuiko MC Auto-Macro lens on the Olympus OM-2n

All of the major SLR manufacturers made close-focusing macro lenses in 50 or 55mm focal lengths with maximum apertures ranging from f/2.8 to f/4. They won’t replace a 50mm f/1.8 lens for low-light shooting, but they’re a fine choice for everyday photography in good light. Most of their focus range is toward the close end. For non-macro work, you can just focus these lenses to infinity and go.

Olympus’s 50mm macro lens comes in four variations. I’m pretty sure the optical design is identical among them.

  1. Marked Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-Macro 1:3.5 f=50mm, single coated, silver-tipped outer ring.
  2. Marked Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-Macro 1:3.5 f=50mm, single coated, black outer ring.
  3. Marked Olympus OM-System Zuiko MC Auto-Macro 1:3.5 f=50mm, multi-coated, black outer ring.
  4. Marked Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-Macro 50mm 1:3.5, multi-coated, black outer ring.
OM Zuiko MC Auto-Macro 1:3.5 f=50m

Until recently I owned three of these lenses: two of the third type and one of the fourth. I passed the latter along to its next owner recently. Of the two that remain, the first came from the father of an old friend and it’s in mint condition in a hard case. The second one came from a reader who donated a great deal of Olympus OM gear to me this year. This lens looks like it got a lot of use.

I mounted this lens onto my Olympus OM-2n and took it out on some of my last bike rides in October, and on some walks around the neighborhood after that. I shot Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 in it. Of course, it did lovely close work.

Leaves
Leaves
Rose

This lens tends to flare when you shoot into the sun. I rather like the effect in this photo.

Leaf flare

I enjoyed shooting other things with this lens because I could just leave it focused at infinity.

Barn in the harvested field
Suburban autumn
Autumn country road
Suburban autumn

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Autumn at the farmhouse

Autumn at the farmhouse
Minolta Maxxum 7000i, 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 Minolta AF Zoom
Fujifilm Fujicolor 200
2020

At the rate I’m going, my review of the Minolta Maxxum 7000i won’t show up here until January. But I wanted to show you this photo from it now.

Within my subdivision, a few houses still lurk that predate it. This old farmhouse is one of them. I gather that this subdivision was built on land owned by the Ottinger family; was this the Ottinger farmhouse?

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Film Photography

single frame: Autumn at the farmhouse

A tree decked in late-autumn red guarding an old farmhouse, on Fujicolor 200.

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Here in central Indiana, the trees changed colors slowly and dropped their leaves late. It made autumn seem to last a good long time. I know that autumn lasts the same amount of time every year regardless of the trees! But when the trees are bare, to me that’s when winter begins.

We had some good color this year, with strong reds and oranges abounding. I didn’t make a huge number of photos — some of them are on the roll of Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 sitting here on my desk needing to be sent off for processing — but here are some that show our color this year.

Autumn in Boone County
Canon PowerShot S95
Lit tree
Canon PowerShot S95
Looking up
Yashica-12, Fujifilm Velvia 50
Suburban Autumn
Apple iPhone 6s
Suburban Autumn
Apple iPhone 6s
Down the street
Olympus OM-2n, 50mm f/3.5 Olympus Zuiko MC Auto-Macro, Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400
Suburban autumn
Olympus OM-2n, 50mm f/3.5 Olympus Zuiko MC Auto-Macro, Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

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Photography

A long-lasting autumn

A look at some of central Indiana’s autumn color.

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Film Photography

Autumn on Fujifilm Velvia 50

I want to shoot slide film in the autumn, to capture all the color. You’d think I’d also want to shoot slide film in the spring, which is equally colorful. But no. In my mind, slide film is for autumn.

Leaves

This slide film was a gift from Marcus Peddle, who sent it all the way from Korea. He sent me four rolls; I shot two of them this time. Thanks Marcus! It’s Fujifilm Velvia 50 in 120, so I put it into my Yashica-12.

Zizzy

I shot mostly around the house and along Zionsville’s Main Street, although I did shoot a little in Indianapolis, which I’ll share in a later post.

Red flowers

Downtown Zionsville is such a rich photography environment. We won’t live here forever — Zionsville is nice and all, but I miss Indianapolis a lot. After we move, though, I will miss being able to quickly pop downtown for some photography.

Letters

I’ve shot the Yashica-12 a lot in the last year or so, and I’m getting much better at using the grid on the focusing screen to make my subject straight.

Black Dog Books

In “the village” (as we call Zionsville within its original town limits), people take holidays seriously. Many homes decorate extensively.

Decorated for autumn

The Main Street shops place season-appropriate stuff on the sidewalk. For this photo I should have chosen a narrower aperture and a slower shutter speed to get more depth of field.

Autumn flower boxes

I got the focus right on this one, and I love the shadow play.

Decorated for autumn

This florist could have done more to decorate the front of this shop, but the pastel color of the window frames and door often make me stop for a photograph.

Flower shop

Closer to home, the trees along the back entrance to my subdivision were just starting to change when I made this. As I write this, every tree is ablaze with red, yellow, and orange. But I wrote this on the day before Halloween. By the day this post publishes, most of these leaves will have fallen.

No outlet

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Autumn begins

Autumn begins
Apple iPhone 6s
2020

On what was probably one of the last warm afternoons of the year, I rode my bike on my usual Indiana cornfield route.

County Road 700 recently got a fresh layer of asphalt. The farmer along this stretch of road has begun to mow down his cornstalks, which have turned brown with age. Over the road, that one branch has started to turn red and orange.

Folks, this is about as Indiana as it gets this time of year!

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Photography

single frame: Autumn begins

Autumn is breaking out in Indiana, and here’s photographic proof!

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