Photography

Shooting the 55mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax lens

I am wasting my time shooting any normal prime lens on my Pentax cameras other than this 55mm f/1.8. Just look at this! Such color, such sharpness, such sensitive detail! On workaday Kodak Gold 400 no less!

At Second Presbyterian Church

On the same day I photographed Second Presbyterian Church with a 28mm lens, I brought my Pentax K1000 with this 55mm f/1.8 lens too. While that 28mm lens really brought this giant church into the frame, this 55mm lens did a much better job of capturing the church’s detailed beauty.

At Second Presbyterian Church

That Kodak Gold 400 surely likes red. And this lens handles beautifully.

At Second Presbyterian Church

I took the K1000 and this lens to several favorite photographic haunts, including Juan Solomon Park. I’ve shot its colorful playground many times since it opened several years ago.

At Juan Solomon Park

There’s actually been a playground here since before I moved to Indy in the 1990s. The city just redid it from the ground up when they used this park site for a building that is part of an expansion of sewage services to this part of the city. The old playground was fine, but the new one is top flight. I especially love the colorful play surface of soft replaceable tiles.

At Juan Solomon Park

I also took the K1000 over to Broad Ripple one chilly day for a walk. I’ve photographed this unusual bridge railing many times. The bridge was built in 1906, but a couple years ago the railing was altered. The row of blocks below the links was added, I assume to increase the railing’s height for safety. The purist in me thinks this was a shame.

Rainbow Bridge

I just thought the painting on this dumpster enclosure was interesting.

Dumpster Enclosure

I usually shoot my 50/1.4 SMC Pentax-M lens on my K-mount cameras, but it doesn’t deliver the color or detail that 55/1.8 does. I’ll just admit it: I use that 50/1.4 partially because of that vaunted 1.4 number, as if it says something about me as a photographer. Nuts to it. I’ll let my work do the talking. And with this 55/1.8, I’ll definitely have something to say.

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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

Do you have any photographic haunts?

Where do you go for everyday shooting? Do you have some favorite places, places that seldom let you down?

The sprawling grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art used to be that place for me. It’s a few minutes’ drive from my home and offers a wonderful variety of subjects: nature, architecture, sculpture, landscape.

Pathway

Kodak Pony 135 Model C, Fujicolor 200, 2013

I haven’t been there in more than a year, though, since they started charging $18 per visit, even just to walk the grounds. I wrote this screed when they announced the charge, and I’m still ticked about it.

Bloomed

Minolta XG-1, 45mm f/2 MD Rokkor-X, Fujicolor 200, 2013

I think it’s the shock over having to pay so much for something that formerly was free. The IMA puts a ton of effort into its grounds. I understand that they have to cover their operating costs, and they are choosing this charge as one way of doing that.

Polaflowers

Polaroid Colorpack II, Fujifilm FP-100C, 2014

They also offer an annual pass for $55. I used to visit the IMA’s grounds a dozen or so times a year for photography, and on an annual pass that works out to $4.50 per visit. In my screed I said I thought I’d buy a pass, but I haven’t done it.

At the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Canon FT QL, 50mm f/1.8 Canon FL, Fujicolor 200, 2013

It’s because there are so many other places I can go with my camera that cost nothing. One of my favorites is Crown Hill Cemetery, on the opposite corner from the IMA. It’s enormous and lovely. I’ve featured photos from there on this blog for years.

Evening light at Oldfields *EXPLORED*

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Kodak Ektar 100, 2014

I also take a fair number of photos at Washington Park North Cemetery, as it’s within walking distance of my home. It’s not nearly as picturesque as Crown Hill, but it’s easy to reach.

The girls

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Kodak Ektar 100, 2014

I also like to walk the streets in Broad Ripple, a popular neighborhood with a lively “strip” of bars and clubs, quaint shops on the side streets, and lovely older homes for blocks around. I can get there by car in 10 minutes.

At the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Canon FT QL, 50mm f/1.8 Canon FL, Fujicolor 200, 2013

But still, I miss the IMA. I made so many wonderful photographs there. It was a great place to test a new-to-me old camera because of the variety of things available to photograph. None of my other haunts are as good.

Bridge at IMA

Olympus Stylus, Kodak Gold 200 (expired), 2013

I wish the IMA well and hope they thrive. But I also hope that someday they drop the charge to walk the grounds.

But please, do tell me in the comments about the places you visit again and again for photography.

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Monon bridge 1

Monon bridge
Pentax ME, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax, Kodak T-Max 400
2012

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Life at 135mm

I had planned to spend 2014 shooting almost nothing but my Pentax ME. In preparation, I had been quietly buying K-mount lenses in various focal lengths, including one at 135mm. I’d made only a few photographs with a prime telephoto lens before, just fiddling around. I decided it was time to get serious.

Nikon F2ASBut then a Nikon F2AS walked into my life, followed quickly by a few Nikkor lenses. I immediately abandoned my K-mount plans and set about Nikoning. Most of my efforts this year have involved my 50mm f/2 and 55mm f/2.8 macro lenses, because they’re just great fun to use. Meanwhile, a 135mm f/3.5 lens patiently waited its turn. At last, late this summer I clipped it to the F2AS and loaded some Fujicolor 200.

But then I realized I had no idea what to do with this lens. I wasn’t used to seeing the world at 135mm! I aimed it at a bunch of stuff, including my new grill, and pressed the shutter button to see what happened.

My new grill

I’ve taken the F2AS on a lot of walks this year. I live pretty close to Indianapolis’s great Broad Ripple neighborhood, where I photographed this detail of a larger sculpture mural. One of my Flickr followers thinks he sees the 1970s advertising character from Quisp cereal in here; do you?

Faces

The Indiana Central Canal cuts through Broad Ripple. I stood on a pedestrian bridge next to College Avenue to photograph the canal and the 1906 concrete-arch bridge at Guilford Ave.

Canal

Margaret and I took an evening walk along Main St. in Zionsville and stopped for ice cream. I focused on the sign, but missed somehow. A few other shots on this roll suffered the same way — the in-focus area fell right behind what I thought I focused on. I had this and a few other photos printed to give to Margaret, and interestingly the sign lettering is as crisp as can be on the print.

You can't buy happiness

Dark clouds gathered while we walked, and shortly we were caught in a downpour. We waited it out on a bench under an awning. But I got this photo first.

Threatening sky

It appears to be conventional wisdom that 135mm is the focal length for portrait photography, and so naturally I gave it a try. It worked out fine.

Margaret

I took this photo of Margaret at about the same time I schlepped my sons to the Target portrait studio for our annual sitting. I know the mass-market portrait mills are a roll of the dice, but we’ve had good luck at Target for years. But this year, even after making the photographer take us back into the studio four times to get it right, we still got wooden poses and plastic smiles. But now that I know I can do work like this, I think I’ll just photograph my sons at home from now on.

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Brown Rolls, brown brick

Brown Rolls, brown brick
Kodak VR35 K40 (review), Fujicolor 200
2011

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