Autumn trees at Crown Hill Yashica-12 Fujifilm Velvia (expired 8-2006)
I went to Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis to photograph autumn color. But most trees were still green; peak was two weeks away. That Saturday afternoon would be the only day I could get away for this photo trip, and I knew it, so I acted.
I used to live a couple miles from Crown Hill and visited it often for photography. I’ve lived in Zionsville, 15 miles away, for two years now and miss visiting the place. But that’s no excuse. My house and Crown Hill are both right by exits of Interstate 65. Especially in the light traffic of a Saturday afternoon I can be there in 20 minutes.
Autumn is reaching its peak right about now in central Indiana. Is it just me, or did the leaves start to change later than normal? Isn’t peak normally past by now?
Photographing autumn color helps me appreciate a season I historically have not enjoyed because its arrival means winter is coming. I do not enjoy winter.
This year my time is short. I forced open a small window of time last Saturday to photograph some color, even though peak had not yet arrived.
The refrigerator in the garage died. I kept my film in there. Dealing with it made me realize that I’ve stockpiled a lot of film. Now I’m trying to shoot it all up, including a roll of Fuji Velvia, the original RVP emulsion, expired since 2006 but always kept frozen. I took it and my Yashica-12 out last Saturday, and I put the film in the mail for processing only on Wednesday. It could be a couple weeks before I, and therefore you, see the results.
But man have the colors gotten much nicer since Saturday. It makes me want to post autumn photos now! So I’ve spelunked my archives. These images will have to tide you, I mean me, over.
Oak trunk Kodak Retina Reflex IV, Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenar 50mm f/2.8 Kodak Tri-X 400 2013
Lately I’ve lost touch with why I started shooting old film cameras in the first place: wondering what quality of images an old piece of gear could produce.
I’d never shot a Kodak Retina Reflex camera before and I got this one for a song. These leaf-shutter 35mm SLRs offered a limited set of interchangeable front lens elements to yield a few common focal lengths. It can be hard to find a Retina Reflex in good condition as the works are complex and, after 60+ years, failure prone. Mine wasn’t perfect, but it worked well enough.
I put a roll of Tri-X into it and blasted through it in an hour in my front yard. It was one of those charmed times with a camera, where I just got lost in the pleasure of shooting. None of my subjects was profound or memorable, but that 50mm Schneider-Kreuznach lens penetrated deep into the detail and made some wonderful images.
It doesn’t always go that way. Sometimes an old camera is just frustrating and returns crap images. This year I haven’t wanted to invest time and effort into a camera to get nothing usable back. That’s always the risk with an unknown old camera.
I have a handful of older cameras I haven’t shot yet. A few old boxes, an early Kodak Retinette, and an Argus Argoflex Forty are upstairs in a box under the bed, awaiting their turns. Here’s hoping I can make time for some of them yet this summer.
Among the Smithsonian’s magnolias Canon PowerShot S95 2018
We approached the National Mall from behind the Smithsonian Castle, only to be surprised by the garden we found there. It’s a rooftop garden of sorts, inasmuch as there is a structure underground beneath it. Yet magnolia trees line it on either side, and they were in bloom this bright early-April day.
Our Spring Break vacation took us to Washington, DC, and the Atlantic Ocean. During our DC days the cherry trees were in bloom, and looked to be at peak. Our first day in the city was overcast, but that seemed not to blunt the blooms’ color.
I have many more photos from our trip to share, but first I have several posts to write about an afternoon I spent with my older son and our film cameras. But since this is the right time for cherry blossoms, here they are as a preview of sorts of the Spring Break posts to come.
Canon PowerShot S95
Cemetery trees Pentax ME, 35mm f/2 SMC Pentax-FA AL Eastman Double-X 5222 2018
I love how, in the winter, cemetery trees provide a counterpoint to the graves. Their littlest branches reach up into the sky as if just asking for a new day.