Apple iPhone 5
One evening in May the setting sun cast a warm, brown light into my neighborhood. I grabbed my Canon PowerShot S95 and tried to capture it. I wish all of my cameras had a “capture this just like it is” setting. Frustratingly, the S95 kept wanting to auto-white-balance the light back to normal. I ended up shooting in program mode in RAW, with white balance deliberately set to capture the light as close to right as possible. And then I tweaked the image further in Photoshop trying to fully recapture that interesting, delicious light, and how it shifted the colors of everything it touched.
I love how my growing interest in photography has attuned me to the world. I used to live in such blindness and ignorance of the subtle, the beautiful, the interesting. Not too long ago, even if I had noticed this delicious evening light, I would have shrugged it off and turned back to what I was doing. I would have really missed out.
The dumbest thing happened to my Pentax ME. The cap that holds the winding lever on unscrewed itself and disappeared.
That part turned out to be impossible to find, so I bought a battered body for parts. But then I couldn’t get that cap off it. The body seemed to work okay, so I just started using it.
But after shooting a few rolls I began to doubt the meter’s accuracy. So I started prowling eBay for another body, and soon enough I found a good one for just $16 shipped. Woot!
Unlike my first ME, this one is stamped Asahi Opt. Co. Japan, meaning it was made in the land of the rising sun. I’m guessing that later MEs were made in China, and my first ME was among them. Pentax was known to sometimes shift production to China late in a camera’s run; it did that most famously with the seminal K1000.
The ME is an aperture-priority camera: you set the aperture, and the ME chooses a shutter speed for right exposure. It has no manual mode, except for a 1/100 sec shutter setting meant to be used with a flash. I favor aperture-priority shooting, and I love the ME’s small size and relative light weight (for being a mostly metal camera). And with bodies being available for a pittance, I hardly worry about theft or damage. And so the Pentax ME has been my go-to camera for years.
I hadn’t shot my 28mm f/2.8 Pentax-M lens in ages, so I clipped it to this ME and loaded a roll of Fujicolor 200. As the sun set one unusually warm evening as winter faded, I walked along the main road outside my subdivision with this ME in my hands. I just love the rich tones the low sun created in this photograph.
Whatever this is sits on the corner at the nearest crossroads. This property is a large, lush cemetery. The setting sun really warmed up the stone of which this is made.
I faced the setting sun for this photo. One minute earlier and I could have captured the sun peeking through those trees; timing is everything. But doesn’t that 28mm lens deliver wonderful sharpness? I cropped this square to get rid of a bunch of church parking lot at the bottom of this shot.
I spent an hour one Sunday afternoon walking with this ME through New Augusta, a mostly hidden, nearly forgotten former town in northwest Indianapolis. It lurks behind two very busy roads, 71st Street and Georgetown Road. A few houses from the 1800s front 71st Street, this Queen Anne the most conspicuous of them, but that’s the only clue anything is here. I’ll bet New Augusta’s residents think their town is Indy’s best-kept secret.
I’ve shot New Augusta’s Salem Lutheran Church a number of times, but never before with a lens wide enough to get it all in. Still, I had to lie on my side in the road to make it work. I’m sure I was quite a sight.
Here’s a closeup of the church’s red-orange doors.
New Augusta was built in the 1850s to take advantage of this rail line. Somebody keeps its unused little depot fixed up and fresh.
To see more photos from my various Pentax MEs, see my Pentax ME gallery.
A Pentax ME was among the first cameras I shot after ending my Year of the Nikon F2 last year. I’d never had any complaints about the ME’s handling before, but compared to the F2 everything about the ME feels a little looser and rougher. There’s nothing wrong with the ME’s feel and handling; it’s just not as refined as a pro camera. And so whenever anybody asks me about getting started with film SLRs I direct them to the Pentax ME and the wonderful 50mm f/2 Pentax-M lens. You can buy them on eBay any day of the week for under $50. Just try that with any classic Nikon SLR body and lens.
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.
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.
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.
Heading home one evening from Zionsville, I took this sunset photo through my open window while waiting at a light.
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.
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.
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.
The sky was pink and blue one evening as I left work in November. Our office faces I-465; cars whiz by all day.
I went with my sons on a class trip to Chicago just before Christmas. It was stupid cold outside and the drafty school bus we rode couldn’t get warm enough, so we all shivered all the way up, all day outside on the streets of downtown Chicago, and all the way home.
Not only was I cold on the return trip, but I was bored, too. I had my Canon PowerShot S95 in my coat pocket, so I tried taking photos of the sunset through the dirty bus windows as it bumped and jostled its way down I-65 at 60 mph. It was impossible to hold the camera still. This shot turned out remarkably well, considering. It looks best at smaller sizes, because some camera shake is evident at larger sizes. But I loved the sunset’s colors that day, and was glad I got one good-enough image out of the dozen I shot.
Also check out a great sunrise capture I made here.