Blue Star Memorial Nikon F2 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros 2016
I don’t have a military bone in my body. My dad tried hard to convince me to go into ROTC in college. Even though it would have paid most of my way, I wouldn’t have it. Dad was serious about men serving their country. I’m surprised now that he didn’t insist.
But I admire the men and women who did and do serve. I’m always saddened to find military graves in a cemetery, because it reminds me that some gave all.
I’ve known my friend Debbie longer than anyone I am still in contact with — we met when we were in the fifth grade, in 1977. We’ve passed out of each others’ lives a few times, sometimes for many, many years. But when we reconnect we fall right back into our friendship.
She came to visit one overcast summer day in 2011 and since we both like cemeteries I took her to Crown Hill, the sprawling burial ground in northwest Indianapolis. The cemetery lies on both sides of 38th St., a major east-west artery.
This bridge carries 38th St. over a road that connects the two sides of Crown Hill. I’ll bet most drivers on 38th St. don’t know the bridge is there.
While Debbie and I were looking at grave markers here, she noticed this family of deer headed toward us under the bridge. I was able to bring my camera up to capture them before they ran away.
Of the twelve images I made on that roll of original Fujifilm Velvia (expired 8/2006 but always stored frozen) at Crown Hill Cemetery, eight were stunning and four had exposure issues. I did what I could in Photoshop to rescue them.
I overexposed this one. Photoshop rescued the trees and sky, but the grave markers were simply too blown out thanks to reflecting sun. I did the best I could with them but I think they just look unnatural. Lesson learned: notice reflected light and consider its effect on the photo.
I wanted to see how Velvia handled this tree’s deep, vibrant red. But the sun was off to my left rather than directly behind me, which created some haze in the image I couldn’t Photoshop away. Lesson learned: invest in a lens hood for my 12.
Heavy contrast between light and shadow tripped up the Yashica-12 and the Velvia. As I stood at the top of Indianapolis’s highest hill and looked south toward the Indianapolis skyline, such as it is, a cloud partially obscured the sun. The rest of the sky was bright, but the shadowy ground took on a sickly pall. Lesson learned: when using slide film, wait for the sun to come out for even lighting.
Finally, as I crested this hill on this side lane, Crown Hill opened up before me. I thought it would make a lovely image but I didn’t realize, I guess, how poor the light was right where I was standing. I don’t know much about the Yashica-12’s meter and the Internet isn’t much help. If I had to guess, I’d say it measures the center of the frame. The center of this frame was in the brightly lit distance, so the 12 underexposed the foreground. Lesson learned: meter for the shadows, because with Velvia you can often correct overexposure, but never underexposure, in Photoshop.
There’s always one more thing to learn in film photography. Especially when shooting Fujifilm Velvia.
At the gate Yashica-12 Fujifilm Velvia (expired 8-2006)
The south entrance to Crown Hill Cemetery is down a side street off 38th Street in Indianapolis. The entrance is a giant concrete affair built in 1885, with several peaked arches and this blue-green gate. I like this gate and have photographed it many times.
I’ve put more rolls of film through my Yashica-12 this year than any other camera. As I’ve taught myself to develop black-and-white film this year, I reached for the 12 because of its excellent image quality. It’s been on my desk ever since, so it was a no-brainer to load this roll of Velvia into it.
Autumn trees at Crown Hill Yashica-12 Fujifilm Velvia (expired 8-2006)
I went to Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis to photograph autumn color. But most trees were still green; peak was two weeks away. That Saturday afternoon would be the only day I could get away for this photo trip, and I knew it, so I acted.
I used to live a couple miles from Crown Hill and visited it often for photography. I’ve lived in Zionsville, 15 miles away, for two years now and miss visiting the place. But that’s no excuse. My house and Crown Hill are both right by exits of Interstate 65. Especially in the light traffic of a Saturday afternoon I can be there in 20 minutes.