Photography, Road Trips

My stats tell the story: you like my photography posts best, by far. So why, then, do I keep writing about old roads and the places on them?

Abandoned National Road

First, because I love them. Why do you think this blog is called Down the Road? I intended to make this blog be primarily about the old roads. But then I rekindled my love of old film cameras and caught the photography bug. The blog’s purpose shifted toward photography over time, and that’s how I attracted the bulk of my readership.

But second, these posts become public services, of sorts. Google search brings readers to them all the time. Every now and then someone will share one on Facebook and I’ll get a flood of views. There are plenty of people who live on or near one of the old alignments I write about, and finding my research really delights them, or tells them a story they never knew about a place familiar to them. A few of them even leave a comment saying so. In this way I feel like I’m leaving a small gift to the world.


Why do I write about old roads on a photography blog?

Film Photography

I bought hand-cut and -rolled 127 film from eBay user jrdnmrk for my Kodak Baby Brownie (and for my Kodak Brownie Starmatic, pictures from which I’ll share in an upcoming post).

It was a pretty good experience. The film came rolled with proper tightness. The green tape seal was easy enough to remove. The backing paper came from either this or some other roll of film, and had 127 numbering hand-marked on it. The photos below illustrate; click to see any of them larger. The last two show the film numbering inside the Baby Brownie (eight photos) and the Brownie Starmatic (twelve photos), respectively.


At the end of each roll I found a Kodak sealing band, but too far up the backing paper. So I just removed it and affixed it where I wanted it to go. Dwayne’s processed each roll with no trouble.

Using hand-cut 127 film

Film Photography


When Meijer (a big-box store chain in several Midwestern states) affixes this sticker to an item, it means they’re not going to carry it anymore.

On the one hand, yay! 12 rolls for the price of four! (I bought all they had left, plus four rolls of Superia X-tra 400 for the price of one.)

On the other, waaaaah! My cheap and easy source of film is no more!

No more cheap Fujicolor 200 at Meijer?

Film Photography

If you click here to go to my For Sale page, you’ll find a smattering of cameras from my collection plus some wonderful lenses for various 35mm SLR systems.

I’ve priced everything more than fairly and included shipping costs to make it simple. If you buy more than one item I’ll cut the total price because combined shipping is less expensive!

Click here to see what’s on offer.

Yet another batch of film gear for sale


Down the Road, v. 1.0

I’ve changed the typefaces I use here to give Down the Road a fresh look.

Headings are now set in Jubilat, a stylized typewriter typeface. Its wide m width and big, fat bowls makes it super easy to read in a single scan. That’s good mojo for headings.

Body text is now set in Lato. This sans-serif typeface is a significant shift for me. I’m a 30-year staunch member of the “serif typefaces for body text” club. That’s probably because in my early career I wrote for print. Online reading has absolutely moved toward sans-serif fonts. I’ve even seen research that on screens, serifs can hinder reading. Seeing as I don’t mail my blog to you every day, I thought that perhaps I should get with the modern program.

I’m 100% jazzed by Jubilat. I’m only 80% in love with Lato, so I’m trying it on for size for a while. It might quietly change to one of the other available sans-serif typefaces someday.

This change kind of screwed up my pages (About, Cameras, For Sale, et al, available in the menu above) thanks to some weirdness with this theme’s CSS. I am working with WordPress support to resolve it, if it’s resolvable.

I’m a bit of a typeface nerd, in case you were wondering. I’m a bit of a nerd in general, actually. I think it’s part of my considerable charm.

A refreshed look for Down the Road

Film Photography

Here’s when film photography isn’t very much fun: when your gear malfunctions, or doesn’t behave as you expect.

Pentax Spotmatic F

I loaded my Spotmatic F with some Ektar 100 for a few days on the National Road, a trip from which I’m just back. After I shot the 36th frame, I was able to wind to 37. That happens sometimes. But when I was able to wind to 38, I uttered a quick epithet, for I knew that the film never properly wound onto the spool in the first place. I’d shot 38 frames onto the film tail.

Thankfully, I also shot digital on the trip and so all is not lost.

My Spotmatic let me down