Sunrise over the Speedway

Sunrise over the Speedway station
iPhone 5
2015

While waiting at a stoplight, I stuck my phone through my car’s sunroof to photograph this.

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Early autumn sunrise, almost Indianapolis

I don’t have a habit of entering photo contests, but when one finds me I’m not averse. Several years ago, my workplace asked its photographers to submit their best work. I entered this photo and took first prize: a $50 gift card. Nice!

I shared this photo in October, 2011, shortly after I took it. Here’s what I wrote about it then:

During the school year my sons stay overnight at my home on Wednesdays. We like our relaxed evening family time. But school starts early, and none of us enjoys getting up long before sunrise the next morning for the 45-minute drive to their mother’s suburb. We stumble around the house getting dressed and eating breakfast, and then we climb into the car for the trip. We listen to music or NPR; sometimes we talk, sometimes they play video games on their hand-held devices.

When my sons are adults, we will surely talk about these times and reflect on the good and the bad. But even in the circumstances we wish were different, we sometimes encounter unexpected moments of joy or of beauty. We’ve seen plenty of beautiful sunrises as we travel eastward on Thursday mornings, sunrises we surely would have missed otherwise. I was fortunate to have my good camera along one recent Thursday morning when the sky’s colors were especially vivid. These sunrises have taught me, and I hope my sons as well, to look for the good in unwanted circumstances.

Mercifully, the Thursday-morning drives across town have ended. My younger son has wanted to just go home on Wednesday nights for years, but my older son was clear that he didn’t want to let go of any family time. But then, he’s a natural early riser. My younger boy struggles to rise at any time before 9. So as his older brother was about to finish high school this spring, he asked if he could just go home Wednesday evenings from now on. His mom and I worked it out.

I won’t miss groggy drives in the dark. I will miss peaceful moments like this one.

Early autumn sunrise, almost Indianapolis • Canon PowerShot S95 • October, 2011

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Favorite Photos Week: Early autumn sunrise, almost Indianapolis

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Photography

iPhone skies

I use my iPhone more than any other camera. I took 1,150 photos with it in 2014. It’s always ready to record things I’d like to remember.

One of my favorite things to remember is the sky. Or so it turns out: looking through my iPhone photos, I captured it over and over again. Many of my other cameras would capture the sky’s colors more sensitively and accurately, but I don’t carry them around in my front pocket at all times.

Sunrise brought wonderful color one winter morning. I photographed it from the parking lot at work.

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My Thursday mornings usually involve driving to Fishers to drop off my sons, and a stop for coffee on the way to work. I’m not a coffee snob: McDonald’s drive-through works for me. Black, with light ice so not to scald my tongue.

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My 40-mile Thursday-morning drives show me a lot of sky. My iPhone is always plugged into my car stereo to provide the driving soundrack, so it’s easy to take a quick through-the-windshield shot when I’m stopped, such as at this stoplight in Carmel.

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Heading home one evening from Zionsville, I took this sunset photo through my open window while waiting at a light.

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I forget where I took this photo, but the skies were sure purple that evening. The spots on the photo are schmutz or dings on the tiny iPhone lens.

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I discovered one overcast morning that the Department of Public Works had installed our Michigan Road Historic Byway signs along the route here in Indianapolis. Here’s one of the signs at the Michigan Road intersection nearest my home. More about this on Monday, so stay tuned.

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I stepped out of my front door one night to find this scene. The iPhone isn’t great in low light, but it did at least capture the image. If you click the photo to see at it at full resolution, you’ll see how mottled and blotchy it is.

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The sky was pink and blue one evening as I left work in November. Our office faces I-465; cars whiz by all day.

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Morning sun in my front rooms

My little house faces east.

Sunrise over old suburbia

I get delicious morning light in my front rooms.

More morning light

It’s the thing I enjoy most about my home.

My living room in the morning

What do you enjoy most about yours?

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Some photos after I moved in are here.

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Color film, black-and-white results

Not long ago the folks at the Film Photography Project came upon a cache of expired-since-1995 Kodak Gold 200 color film in size 620, and offered it for sale in their store. It was pricey at $14 per roll, but wanting to try a couple of my 620 cameras I bought two rolls. I shot the first roll in April on Route 66 using my Kodak Brownie Hawkeye and was disappointed with the faded, grainy results. See them here.

Kodak Monitor Six-20Recently I spooled the remaining roll into my Kodak Monitor Six-20. I wanted to use the Monitor again anyway, and I wanted to try the Kodak Gold in a camera where I could control the exposure so I could better test the film’s capabilities. That the Monitor has the fine Anastigmat Special lens only sweetened the deal.

Then the processor dunked my $14 color film into the wrong chemicals and I got black-and-white images back. At first, I was severly disappointed. But quickly I recognized that the images had potential. Contrast was poor, but a touch of Photoshop cured that ill and brought these images right to life.

I took the Monitor with me to Bridgeton. I had three cameras along on that trip: the Monitor, my Pentax Spotmatic, and my Olympus XA. The Monitor did the best job of capturing the sky, and edged the other cameras for sharpness.

Bridgeton covered bridge

I find it difficult to frame shots with the Monitor’s tiny bubble viewfinder. This bridge portal was all akimbo in the original image, so I straightened and cropped it for best effect.

Cross this bridge at a walk

My house faces east, and sometimes the morning sun bathes my little front garden in some delicious light. All too often I’m rushing to work and can’t stop and really enjoy it. But the light was right one lazy Saturday morning, so I put my Monitor on a tripod and took this photograph from my front stoop. I also shot the scene in color with my digital camera; see that shot here for comparison.

Early morning front yard

My Monitor is not a pleasure to use. I’ve already mentioned the difficulties framing shots. The shutter button has a long travel and is stiff at the end where it trips the shutter, so I usually trip it by sticking my finger in by the lens barrel and moving the linkage. And the wind-stop feature on mine doesn’t work well, so I have to work around it. But I so love the results I get from it that I am likely to shoot it again. Perhaps I will soon, because the Film Photography Project offers fresh, hand-respooled 620 films now.

See more from this roll, along with some great color shots from my Monitor, in my Kodak Monitor Six-20 gallery.

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Other 620 cameras in my collection:
Kodak Six-20 and Kodak Duaflex II.

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Early autumn sunrise, almost Indianapolis

During the school year my sons stay overnight at my home on Wednesdays. We like our relaxed evening family time. But school starts early, and none of us enjoys getting up long before sunrise the next morning for the 45-minute drive to their mother’s suburb. We stumble around the house getting dressed and eating breakfast, and then we climb into the car for the trip. We listen to music or NPR; sometimes we talk, sometimes they play video games on their hand-held devices.

When my sons are adults, we will surely talk about these times and reflect on the good and the bad. But even in the circumstances we wish were different, we sometimes encounter unexpected moments of joy or of beauty. We’ve seen plenty of beautiful sunrises as we travel eastward on Thursday mornings, sunrises we surely would have missed otherwise. I was fortunate to have my good camera along one recent Thursday morning when the sky’s colors were especially vivid. These sunrises have taught me, and I hope my sons as well, to look for the good in unwanted circumstances.

Growth, Photography

Captured: Early autumn sunrise, almost Indianapolis

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