At West Park Christian Church

Curved pews
Pentax KM, 28mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax-M
Kodak Tri-X
2017

I know of only one other church in town with curved pews: the former Central Methodist Church, now Indiana Landmarks Center. Their pews, like their whole facility, are lovingly restored. Our pews, like our whole building, could use a lot of love. An exuberant teenager sat too hard on one of our pews a couple years ago and broke it. My father, a cabinetmaker, and I glued it back together as best we could. It was clear it had been repaired many times.

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Photography

Photo: Curved pews at West Park Christian Church

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At West Park Christian Church

In Remembrance of Me
Pentax KM, 28mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-M
Kodak Tri-X
2017

This is the communion table at my church, West Park Christian Church, on Indianapolis’s Near Westside. The pulpit is behind it — a short pulpit for our vertically challenged pastor. The ladder is a prop he used in a sermon series about The Beatitudes.

Photography

Photo: Communion table at my church.

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Photography

Shooting the 28mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-M lens

I found a deep appreciation of a 35mm lens on a 35mm film camera after shooting one all over Ireland last fall. The wider field of view over my usual 50mm lenses was just so darned useful. Yet I could still move in close without wildly distorting my subjects.

So I wondered if 28mm would be even better. Spoiler alert: worse.

Because at 28mm, it’s super hard to avoid what I like to call “The Twist,” a kind of distortion you get when you shoot something long, straight, and flat. Like this:

Meijer

Photoshop can correct all sorts of problems but I haven’t been able to get it to correct that one. If you know how, do let me know in the comments. Of course, there’s always the good advice: don’t shoot scenes like that.Which I heeded through the rest of this roll of Kodak Tri-X, scanned myself on my Epson V300. I shot these with my Pentax KM, which I totally need to shoot more often because it is a jewel.

I drove over to Second Presbyterian and stood in my usual spot to shoot this stately church. At 50mm, I can’t get it all in. At 28mm it looks a little lost in the frame. 35mm might have let it fill the frame better. Or maybe I should have just walked closer.

Second Presbyterian

Which I did for this dramatic shot. Finally I started to find this lens’s mojo.

Second Presbyterian

I drove a mile or so south to the Meridian Street bridge over the White River and found this graffiti under one of the arches. I’ll share more shots from that bridge visit in an upcoming post. If you think the highlights are blown out here, you should have seen them before I gave them a good Photoshopping.

Meridian St. Bridge

I visited common photographic haunts with this lens, including nearby Juan Solomon Park. I couldn’t have gotten this shot at 50mm, and maybe not even at 35mm.

At Juan Solomon Park

I also drove over to 56th and Illinois to get this shot I’ve shot before. Sometimes it’s just comforting to revisit covered photographic ground. Every lens, camera, and film can see a scene in a new way.

56th and Illinois

I’ve also started taking morning walks through my neighborhood. My stupid left foot is still not fully healed going on three years after surgery and I’m gaining weight from inactivity (and probably age). I’m tired of favoring that foor and I just need to get mobile again, so I’m walking through the pain. Anyway, we finally had a skiff of snow in this unusually warm winter, and I photographed some tire tracks in the street.

Light snowfall

I’ve shot this lens before and didn’t love it, and this roll of film didn’t help. I think it’s because its inherent distortion limits what I can do with it. It’s acceptably sharp, and (on color film) it renders color well enough. Faint praise, I know, but I managed to squeeze out a few good shots with it on this roll of film. There are some scenes for which this lens is a smashing fit, it turns out. And for that reason alone I’ll hang onto it.

Standard

Dark Oldsmobile

My post-processing work on this roll of overexposed Tri-X really blackened the blacks and created compelling highlights. This room, the giant West Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, uses both fluorescent overhead lights and large, high windows to light the space. It makes for the most compelling indoor lighting every year at the Mecum car auction.

I forget what color this circa-1950 Oldsmobile is — forest green, maybe — but in Tri-X’s world, it’s India ink. The domed roof, upright greenhouse, and hipped transition to the lower body create good opportunity for all that light to reflect.

 

Old cars, Photography

Captured: Looking into an Oldsmobile

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Swan

I didn’t realize until after I’d shot this whole roll that my Pentax ME was set to ISO 200. Kodak Tri-X is an ISO 400 film. Fortunately, Tri-X is well known for shrugging its shoulders at most misexposures and returning usable photos anyway. Minimal Photoshoppery took away the haze of overexposure and enhanced the contrast, at the cost of a little shadow detail.

I respect old Packards for what they are, but their styling doesn’t really do anything for me. Their hood ornaments were beautiful, though. Packard had a number of hood ornament designs, like the flying lady from yesterday’s photo, and a whole series of swans. They used this swan in 1936.

Old cars, Photography

Captured: Swan

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In motion

I went to the Mecum old-car auction again this year. It was my seventh straight year — and also my last. The number of cars available to photograph has dropped sharply over the past few years, and the once open atmosphere is now tightly controlled. And it now costs $30 to get in. It was $20 the last couple years, and just $10 before that. The price went up in inverse proportion to the fun. So I’m done.

I did get some satisfying photographs with my Pentax ME and my 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M lens. I shot Kodak Tri-X. This shot is my favorite from the day, of a 1937 Packard hood ornament. I never know just what I’m going to get when I shoot inside under the wonky light of an agricultural building on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. I compose and expose as best I can, and release the outcome to the fates. The fates smiled on me for this photograph.

Old cars, Photography

Captured: In motion

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