Film Photography

Shooting Ultrafine Xtreme 100 in the Olympus XA2

My last go-round with Ultrafine Xtreme 100 in my Olympus XA2 went badly. You can see some of the photos here. I have no idea what went wrong.

I wanted to take a compact film camera along on the trip my wife and I made to New Harmony in July. The XA2 was handy and, not remembering my unfortunate results from last time, I loaded my last roll of this film and went on my way.

Everything worked fine.

Open

I didn’t make any particularly inspiring photographs with the XA2 in New Harmony. I was also shooting my digital Canon S95, and it just felt like a color weekend. I made only eight photos in New Harmony with the XA2. Here’s a double log cabin on the grounds of the Lenz House.

Cabin

The XA2’s meter and Xtreme 100’s sensitivity came together to handle this challenging exposure situation well.

Looking out

I took the XA2 to work and left it in my desk drawer for a few weeks, taking it on lunchtime photo walks whenever I felt like it. This Indianapolis street scene looks northbound up Delaware Street toward what everybody calls the Gold Building, as those mirrored glass panes are so tinted. I worked for a company in the Gold Building when my now 22-year-old son was born.

Gold building

I’ve been fascinated lately with the federal courthouse and have photographed it with several camera/film combinations lately. It was completed in 1905. This building was once also a post office, I believe the main one for Indianapolis. It hasn’t been that in a very long time, but the engraved words above the entry still announce it as such.

Courthouse

I photographed the AT&T building from the courthouse. I like the look of a desolate street, so I waited several minutes for traffic to clear.

AT&T

I like Ultrafine Xtreme 100. It captures a good range of tones, its blacks are deep, and it seems to have good exposure latitude. That last bit is especially important for a photographer like me who shoots old gear with light meters of unknown accuracy.

Rumor has it that this film is repackaged Kentmere 100. Here are posts from every roll of Kentmere 100 I’ve shot; compare and judge for yourself.

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Photography, Travel

Favorite photos from New Harmony

My main camera on our trip to New Harmony was, as often happens, my little Canon PowerShot S95. I did take a film camera, my Olympus XA2, loaded with Ultrafine Xtreme 100. But it simply turned out not to be a black-and-white weekend. I shot but nine frames. In contrast, I made 175 photos with the S95.

This is New Harmony’s Main Street. It’s perpendicular to the road that you have to use to enter New Harmony, which is Church Street and also State Road 66.

Around New Harmony

We got a spectacular sunset that night. In the shadowy foreground is the Lenz House, built in about 1820. Read a little bit about it here. That page mentions the Harmonists, a group that tried and failed to build a utopian society here.

Sunset over the Lenz House

Here’s one photo I made with my iPhone 6s. We were walking back to the house we’d rented after dinner one night when a fellow invited us to a jam session. We were surprised that it involved mostly cellos and violins! A guitarist later joined.

Jam session with cellos

I shared these two photos in my post about the Roofless Church.

The Roofless Church
The Roofless Church

A double log cabin — two cabins sharing a conjoining covered deck — provides this view. It’s on the same property as the Lenz house.

Lenz house property

Finally, a lovely yellow flower.

Yellow bloom

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The Episcopalians had this place built, but it’s a place for all believers. Services are not held here on Sunday; you are invited to worship here or seek quiet contemplation whenever you like. Ater all, the sky above is the only roof large enough to cover all of God’s followers.

Designed by architect Philip Johnson and featuring a sculpture by Jacques Lipchitz under a shingled parabolic dome, The Roofless Church opened in 1960. You’ll find it in New Harmony, Indiana, on the town’s northernmost east-west street.

The Roofless Church
The Roofless Church
The Roofless Church
The Roofless Church
The Roofless Church
The Roofless Church
The Roofless Church

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Photography, Travel

The Roofless Church

Under the open-air roof of the Roofless Church in New Harmony, Indiana. A photoessay.

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Photography, Preservation, Travel

Inside the Orchard House

Someone I went to high school with is a professional photographer. One of her specialties is photographing impeccably decorated luxury homes for lifestyle magazines. I see some of her work on Instagram and it’s all so well done.

When Margaret and I visited New Harmony recently, we rented a circa-1840 cottage, a little nook for us to relax in. But when we arrived we were told that the cottage was out of order, and that we were upgraded to the Orchard House — two stories, four bedrooms, five bathrooms, all done up in period style. What an upgrade!

The Orchard House

The house is a little rough around the edges — it could use a little TLC. But that didn’t stop us from enjoying this giant house to the hilt. It made for a truly lovely stay for us. Here’s the view when you step inside.

Entry hall

My old high-school friend surely has expensive and expansive pro gear for her work. I had only my trusty Canon PowerShot S95 and available light. But through looking at her work I gleaned a couple key tips for appealing interior photography. First, go wide to get more in, but not too wide or everything will distort. I shot at 28mm for a commanding view. This is the parlor.

Parlor

Second, crouch down for a child’s-eye view of the room, so that vertical lines are vertical. Doing this also captures some details up high that you’d otherwise miss, like the canopy over this bed in the east upstairs bedroom.

Upper east bedroom

I’m sure my friend could give me twenty more pointers to improve these photos, but I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. Here’s my entire gallery. Click the < and > buttons to see all the photos, inside and out.

The Orchard House

Bonus: If you flipped through the gallery you saw the strange sink in the west upper bedroom. We’d never seen a sink that worked this way before! It has separate hot and cold taps with little holes in the porcelain where the water comes out, one set for hot and one set for cold. Here’s the cold tap in action:

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Road Trips

The Wabash River bridge at New Harmony

New Harmony is a small village in Indiana’s southwesternmost county, right on the Wabash River. It’s surprisingly remote. You won’t pass through it on your way to anywhere else — especially since the bridge to Illinois was closed.

Closed: New Harmony bridge

Opened in 1930, the Harmony Way Bridge was built by a private concern and later managed, by no less than a 1941 act of Congress, by the White County (Illinois) Bridge Commission, to which three commissioners were appointed. Inexplicably, in 1998 Congress repealed part of that act that provided a mechanism for appointing commissioners. When the last commissioner resigned or died, there would be nobody to manage the bridge.

Closed: New Harmony bridge

I got to drive over this bridge once each way, in 2006, when I took my sons on a Spring Break tour of interesting and historic Indiana sites. We meant to spend a day in New Harmony, which has a fascinating history, but it rained hard when we got there with no end in sight. We drove around New Harmony in a few minutes. I decided we’d see if anything interesting was on the Illinois side of the Wabash. Naught but farm fields, for miles.

Closed: New Harmony bridge

It cost two dollars to find that out — this was a toll bridge, a dollar each way. The funds paid for regular operations with a little left over. But bridge maintenance costs serious money, and over time serious structural problems formed that the bridge commission couldn’t afford to fix. Indiana and Illinois officials closed the bridge permanently in May of 2012.

Closed: New Harmony bridge

The bridge carried about 900 vehicles a day, mostly farm vehicles and vehicles related to the farm service industry, plus some Illinois residents who worked in nearby Evansville, Indiana. Today to reach New Harmony from Illinois you have to drive up to Interstate 64 and then 14 miles down to this little town, or down to a bridge just west of the town of Mt. Vernon and then 22 miles back up.

Indiana SR 66 eastbound

The Welcome to Indiana sign by the closed bridge sure seems superfluous.

Some efforts have been made to reopen the bridge, but so far none have succeeded. While we visited New Harmony we saw posters for a proposal to reopen it for pedestrian use and as an outdoor event center. But the Federal law governing the bridge blocks action. The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 6793 (text here) repealing the 1941 act, creating the New Harmony Bridge Bi-State Commission, and transferring control of the bridge to the new commission. Here’s hoping the Senate takes it up and passes it as well.

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I’ve been writing about New Harmony all week — but for those of you here just for the doors, it’s a historic town in the southwestern tip of Indiana. Its founders tried, and failed, to build a utopian society here. Today it’s both a typical small Indiana town and something of an artist’s colony. It makes for a lovely long weekend, as my wife and I found out recently. And now, herewith the doors of New Harmony.

Around New Harmony
Around New Harmony
Around New Harmony
Working Men's Institute
Around New Harmony
Episcopal church
Episcopal church
Opera House
The Roofless Church
Photography

Thursday doors: New Harmony, Indiana

Some of the doors from New Harmony, for the Thursday Doors feature.

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