Lilly Lake, Eagle Creek Park *EXPLORED*

Autumn at Lilly Lake
Canon Canonet QL17 G-III
Agfa Vista 200
2018

This photo was featured in Flickr Explore on November 19. It’s always fun to see all the likes and comments when one of my photos makes Explore.

I wonder how many Flickr viewers had any idea that I was shooting film? To know, they’d only have to click through to my image’s page and read the description.

Can an experienced eye guess that this is a film photograph? To me, the sky is the tell. It has a nuance to it that digital cameras seem unable to capture. They tend to render skies almost too perfectly, with wispy clouds against a sea of perfect azure.

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Film Photography

single frame: Autumn at Lilly Lake

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Yellow flowers

Yellow flowers
Minolta XG 1, 50mm f/1.7 Minolta MD
Agfa Vista 200 (at EI 100)
2018

When I was 22 I broke up with a young woman who I still call my first great love. We were such comfortable companions. Our favorite thing was to watch bad movies together on cable well into the wee hours. She was brilliant at heckling them. Her dry, nerdy humor kept me laughing. I don’t laugh easily. She was a real gift in my life.

Yet we couldn’t make other things about our relationship work, important things. I don’t think she ever felt like I really loved her. I showed her in the ways I knew how, but she needed to feel loved in ways I didn’t understand and couldn’t give.  And when I was tired or overwhelmed or irritated I was prickly and difficult. Still am. She never knew how to deal with that and she took it hard.

Sometimes a relationship can’t last because you’re not right together in some ways that really matter. Yet you’re reluctant to end it because it’s otherwise so comfortable. But after awhile comfort isn’t enough, and after a longer while the places where you don’t fit start to grate. More of your needs must be met. We ended our relationship, and it hurt, and we missed each other. But it was necessary.

My many Minolta SLRs have all been lovely and felt great in my hands. Their lenses are sublime. My heart leaps over the images these cameras give me. I want to shoot with them forever.

But they have been so unreliable. I just can’t keep one working for the long haul. There may be photographers out there who enjoy taking their gear apart and keeping them working smoothly. I’m not one of them. I just want my gear to work, period. And that’s why I’ve just sold my last Minolta body and am running right into the arms of reliable Pentax and Nikon.

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Film Photography, Stories Told

single frame: Yellow flowers

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Red leaf

Red leaf
Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom
2012

Once in a while I’ll take a day off work just to go out into the world and be alone. I usually do it after a particularly stressful period. Exploring the world distracts me for a while, and being alone recharges me.

This particular day I chose to stay close to home. I took my old Kodak digital camera over to Holliday Park for a hike through the woods to take in the autumn color.

That Kodak digicam sure can render color.

Photography

single frame: Red leaf

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Tiny shrubs

Tiny shrubs
Pentax KM, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax
Fujicolor 200
2012

Here’s one more photo from Juan Solomon Park, when the landscaping was still new. Unfortunately, the landscaping is the one part of the project that has not succeeded. Most of the original plants died and have been replaced, sometimes more than once.

Let me also explain that yesterday’s post about this park was the first in a series of Favorite Subjects posts I’m writing. Several places near my home have become favorite places to test cameras, and now that I’m getting ready to move away I’m looking back at my favorite photos from these places.

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Photography

single frame: Tiny shrubs

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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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Photography

single frame: Dusky daisies

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