Dawn over the front yard

Rainy dawn
Kodak EasyShare C613 Zoom
2017

Over the past few months I’ve casually shot my son’s discarded digital camera, a ten-year-old Kodak. That’s positively ancient in digital camera terms. It’s performed reliably, even under some rough service my son dealt it when he was younger. I’ll review it here tomorrow.

I’ve photographed my yard a lot this year. The front garden is better than it’s ever been and I’m excited to see it!

It was probably about 6:30 this rainy morning when I stepped onto my stoop for this photo. I wanted to see how the camera handled the available light. It decided it needed to fire the flash, but given the distance to my subject all that served to do was illuminate the raindrops. Still, this little camera managed to capture the dawn light’s quality very well.

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Photography

single frame: Rainy dawn

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Pink

Dusky daisies
Kodak Retina IIc
Kodak Gold 200
2017

update: Like a doof, I thought this was from my Spotmatic when it was from my Retina IIc. I fixed the description above but not the text below. The comments all refer to the Spotmatic so this is a right mess. Whatever. Good discussion.

Here’s one more photo from the Spotmatic F after yesterday’s review. I’m sure, however, that this won’t be the last photo from the SPF as it is a delightful camera and I’ll use it often.

I’ve reached a breaking point with my SLRs. I have more good ones than I can possibly shoot. Over at Casual Photophile recently, James Tocchio wrote about paring his collection down to one of each kind of camera, for simplicity sake and to improve his photography. Our experiences match: even though we enjoy trying new-to-us old cameras, if we used fewer cameras more often we’d become better photographers. I experienced that in 2014 when I shot a Nikon F2 almost exclusively all year. I left this comment:

I can see me having one TLR, one rangefinder, one P&S. Well, maybe two rangefinders: my Canonet QL17 and one of my Retinas. But I will not be able to get below seven or eight SLRs. Gosh, I love SLRs. I can’t imagine selling off my Nikons F2 and F3; my Nikon N90s; my Canon A2e; or my Pentaxes KM, ME, and Spotmatic F. I am likely to keep a Canon FD-mount body and a Minolta MC/MD-mount body because you never know when you’ll stumble upon an interesting lens for them cheap.

But even then, this will cause me to part with some cameras that I simply adore. My Konica Autoreflex T3. My Miranda Sensorex II. Oh, I could list a dozen more, but you get the point.

Given that camera reviews remain very popular on my blog, and given that I really enjoy the experience of trying a new-to-me old camera, I can’t see myself not buying more. If I don’t become 100% the photographer I could be because I didn’t pare down to one SLR, one TLR, etc., then so be it. The journey will have been worth it.

But I have at least implemented one rule: for every camera I buy, one camera has to go. Period.

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single frame: Dusky daisies

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Personal

Ten years of landscaping progress

“You ought to take photographs of your house from the yard now, while your summer flowers are in bloom,” Margaret said. “Your Realtor will probably be very happy to use them in the listing.” Sounds good. So I did it.

This is the result of a ton of landscaping work. It’s not just planting and mulching, but outright repair. Connecting my home to city sewer and then having 21 trees removed tore my yard up almost beyond recognition.

It made me think about the photos I took of the house when I toured it before placing an offer. I found them in my archive. The yard was kind of a mess, but it got far worse than this before it got better.

What a difference! With considerable help from my family, I’ve done a lot of work in this yard over the last 10 years.

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Phlox

Phlox in bloom
Kodak Retina IIc
Kodak Gold 200
2017

I love phlox! I first noticed phlox on my many road trips, as I encountered it over and over again growing roadside. And then when my parents sold our childhood home and moved to Indianapolis in retirement, mom dug up the phlox from her yard and planted it in mine. It’s so fragrant!

As you can see, I put more film into my Kodak Retina IIc. It worked fine. I don’t know why it failed on the first roll I put through it.

Fortunately, I wrote most of a review of this camera a couple months ago and was just waiting for my test roll to come back from the processor to finish it off. So despite my time being severely limited by home projects, I was able to quickly finish the Retina IIc review. It’ll run here tomorrow.

Photography

single frame: Phlox in bloom

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Photography

Spring flowers, courtesy my Yashica-D and a Spiratone close-up lens

After I figured out I had the close-up lenses on wrong on my Yashica-D, I knew I’d want to shoot with them right to see how the photos turned out. So I attached them correctly and loaded some Kodak Ektar, and waited for the flowers in my gardens to start blooming this spring. One by one, I photographed them as they emerged.

I shared the first of them with you yesterday — the best photo of them all, if you ask me. But here are some more, starting with my grape hyacinths.

Spring flowers from my garden

I forget what these are. I bought them at Walmart, of all places! I planted them in the middle of my big bed and they didn’t flourish. So a couple years ago I moved them to a largely shaded spot just outside my front door and they’ve been very happy ever since.

Spring flowers from my garden

And of course, there are daffodils. Verna, who built my house and lived in it first, planted these. My neighbor says she created the big front bed a few years before she passed. I’m happy to be the current steward of her garden, and to have added my own flowers to it.

Spring flowers from my garden

These are Grecian windflowers. A smattering of them come up every year, bloom for a few days, and then retreat.

Spring flowers from my garden

I forget where my Lily of the Valley come from. I remember planting them, I think. Did Mom give them to me after she and Dad moved out of my childhood home? Did I buy them at Lowe’s? It’s funny how such memories blur after a while.

Spring flowers from my garden

Purple is my favorite color, and I’ve favored purple flowers (like these irises) when I’ve chosen them.

Spring flowers from my garden

These purple and white irises were already here when I moved in. Since my parents retired and moved here, my mom, who misses her gardens, has worked hard in mine. A pine tree Verna planted had grown so large it shaded these irises from full sun. So Mom moved them, and they’re so happy in their new location that they now bloom in the spring and in the autumn.

Spring flowers from my garden

As you can see, I didn’t get the whole flower in focus. I wanted blurred backgrounds, so I chose widest apertures possible in the available light. I wish I had narrowed the aperture a stop or maybe two, which would have brought the whole flower into focus. I’ll bet I would still have gotten blurred backgrounds.

The Yashica-D remains a total joy to shoot. Despite being shaped like a brick, it’s comfortable to hold. Its controls move with silky heft. But it’s the big, bright viewfinder that charms the most, elevating even the most mundane scene with jewel-like color. And now that I know how to properly attach the Spiratone close-up lenses to it, I’m getting good results. Look at this color, this sharpness, this bokeh! The Yahinon lenses are not diminished at all by these inexpensive aftermarket accessories. They let me move to within inches of my subjects while carrying through all of the Yashinon lenses’ great characteristics. Win!

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Spring flowers from my garden

Narcissus
Yashica-D (with Spiratone Close-Up Kit)
Kodak Ektar 100
2017

This is the last year I’ll get to enjoy the gardens on my property, as by this time next year I expect to have finally moved in with my wife in her home. I attached the Spiratone close-up lenses to my Yashica-D and loaded some Ektar, and as the spring flowers began to bloom I recorded them all. More tomorrow!

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Photography

single frame: Narcissus

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