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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At West Park Christian Church

Curved pews
Pentax KM, 28mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax-M
Kodak Tri-X
2017

I know of only one other church in town with curved pews: the former Central Methodist Church, now Indiana Landmarks Center. Their pews, like their whole facility, are lovingly restored. Our pews, like our whole building, could use a lot of love. An exuberant teenager sat too hard on one of our pews a couple years ago and broke it. My father, a cabinetmaker, and I glued it back together as best we could. It was clear it had been repaired many times.

Photography

Photo: Curved pews at West Park Christian Church

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At West Park Christian Church

In Remembrance of Me
Pentax KM, 28mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-M
Kodak Tri-X
2017

This is the communion table at my church, West Park Christian Church, on Indianapolis’s Near Westside. The pulpit is behind it — a short pulpit for our vertically challenged pastor. The ladder is a prop he used in a sermon series about The Beatitudes.

Photography

Photo: Communion table at my church.

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Photography

(Book preview) The Pentax ME: In praise of an overlooked 35mm SLR

I haven’t forgotten, if perhaps you understandably have, that I want to publish a book of photographs from my Pentax ME. It’s an overlooked camera if ever there was one, and I think it’s high time its praises were sung. I just finished the manuscript, and I wanted to share an excerpt with you. My soft goal is to make it available for purchase by the end of the month.

Second Pres

50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200

Second Presbyterian

This grand church on North Meridian Street in Indianapolis is one of the places I like to go when I’m testing an old camera. It’s so photogenic! And I love how in this shot the sky’s color is like you’d find on a postcard.

This building was completed in 1960, but the congregation dates to 1837, making it one of the oldest in the city. It’s one of the largest Presbyterian congregations in the United States. It is perhaps best known for hosting the 1990 funeral of Ryan White, a boy who contracted AIDS via blood transfusion at a time when this disease was ill-understood and greatly feared. His fight to attend school in his hometown of Russiaville, about 45 minutes north of here, made the national news and was instrumental in helping our nation understand that AIDS was not just a “gay disease.”

Over 1,500 people attended White’s funeral, including then-First Lady Barbara Bush, Michael Jackson, and Elton John.

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Photography, Road trips

The chapel at Kylemore Abbey

Margaret Henry’s unexpected death in 1875 threw her husband, Mitchell, into despair. He found it difficult to spend time at their sprawling Irish estate at Kylemore. Indeed, he seldom returned, spending most of his time in England. Nevertheless, he built this chapel on the grounds as her final resting place.

Chapel at Kylemore Abbey

Built in the style of a 14th-century gothic English cathedral, this chapel looks more imposing than it really is. It’s a cathedral in 1:4 scale

Chapel at Kylemore Abbey

Its scale is most apparent inside, where one short column of pews faces the altar.

Chapel at Kylemore Abbey

The Henrys were Anglicans, but when the Benedictine nuns bought the estate they rededicated it, including this chapel, to Catholic worship and missions.

Chapel at Kylemore Abbey

By all accounts, Mitchell Henry never really recovered from losing his wife. His fortunes took a turn for the worse in the years that followed. He died nearly penniless. Yet upon his death, he was returned to Kylemore and took his eternal rest alongside his Margaret.

Canon PowerShot S95

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Photography, Road trips

Exploring the church and cemetery at Drumcliffe

We drove to Drumcliffe twice that day, first on a misty morning, but then again after dinner after the clouds dissipated and the sun shone.

drumcliffemap

Drumcliffe. Imagery © 2016 Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO Landsat. Map data © 2016 Google.

Drumcliffe is a village in County Sligo in northwest Ireland. It has roots to the sixth century, when St. Colmcille founded a monastery here.

A church and cemetery stand near Drumcliffe, and that’s what we went to see. We were mostly interested in the site’s great view of the giant rock formation Benbulben, and we also wanted to see an 11th-century Celtic high cross that’s here.

But Drumcliffe is also well known as the gravesite of William Butler Yeats, the well-known early-20th-century poet. Yeats spent part of his childhood in County Sligo.

Margaret and I got our best photographs here during our evening visit. We even enjoyed, and took full photographic advantage of, several minutes of golden light as the sun began to set. It beautifully lit the church, ravens circling its tower.

Church at Drumcliffe

The church has large, lovely, and unusual swan door handles.

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This 11th-century Celtic cross is in line of sight of the church.

 

Celtic cross at Drumcliffe

I was starting to lose this delicious light. It lasted such a short time.

Church at Drumcliffe

We paid a moment’s respects to W. B. Yeats, who is buried here.

Yeats' grave

His grave has a lovely view of Benbulben.

Yeats' grave

Here’s a panoramic shot of the famous rock formation.

Benbulben

Canon PowerShot S95, except for the panorama, which is Apple iPhone 6s

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