Kitchen window

Kitchen window, redux
Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Kodak Gold 200
2017

Funny thing about praise: what you praise in others, you tend to get more of. And a few of you praised, and praised heavily, an image I made of my kitchen window several months ago (see it here). Since then, I’ve shot it over and over, hoping for more magic.

That first window shot was what I consider a throwaway, a photograph I make of some convenient subject to make sure the camera is mechanically functioning, or to see how it behaves in some challenging situation, or just to finish the last one or two exposures on the roll so I can send it off for processing.

But none of my subsequent window shots have been throwaways. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t like any of them: I was trying too hard. Such was the case with this photo. It turned out okayest of any of them, so here it is. Since the last window shot I painted the window and installed new blinds, all calculated to help my house sell.

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Photography

single frame: Kitchen window, redux

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Ukuleles

Ukuleles orange, blue, green
Canon PowerShot S95
2017

The Indiana State Fair is underway and I’ve already been twice. I go every year; it’s a personal tradition.

We were wrapping up our first visit as we came upon this booth with lots of cheap stuff for sale. The fair is always a great place to find bold color in unexpected places!

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single frame: Ukuleles orange, blue, green

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Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis

Ghostly church
Kodak Six-20
Kodak Plus-X
2010

The first time I photographed Second Presbyterian I was shooting my folding Kodak Six-20 and some Plus-X that I bought pre-respooled as 620 from B&H. The entire roll came back looking like this, to my disappointment.

I came across the negatives recently and they look normal. My wife bought me a new flatbed film scanner for my birthday, and it takes medium-format film, so I may try scanning the negs myself when I get moved and settled.

I’ve reviewed the Kodak Six-20 twice: here and here.

Photography

single frame: Ghostly church

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IMG_2097 proc

I am astonished that at my age I’ve remarried and am about to leave my longtime home to share a life with family I never knew I would have.

When I was younger, even through my late 30s, those who had lived a half century seemed so settled to me. Their lives, I was sure, had fallen into predictable grooves. I like predictability, and those I knew who had it wore it well. I looked forward to it in my own life.

On this day half my life ago

But who knew all of the adventures of the half-century mark? Of helping children step into their adult futures. Of having fully adult relationships with our parents. Of hitting our stride in our careers. And, given that so many divorce now, remarriage and new family.

Except that these things feel like adventures only when they’re going well. Some children stumble and fall, or even fail to launch. Our parents are aging — when is it time to stop driving? To find a retirement home? And on the job sometimes you watch someone younger than some of your children, with all the life experience that implies, move up fast and pass you by, and make mistakes you learned long ago not to make.

This stuff is incredibly hard! The blessing of this age is the resilience to handle these difficulties. If I had encountered them at half this age I would have needed a rubber room.

I turn 50 today. Joys and disappointments abound. Honestly, this year there have been more disappointments than joys. My wife and I have experienced some real difficulty with children, parents, and jobs. Point is, this age teaches that this is what life is. That youthful dreams of winning at life, of being a Master of the Universe, were never within reach. That all there is every day is enjoying the good while working through the bad. That God put people into our lives to love, and our best satisfaction in life comes from loving them with all our might.

I’m gathering my whole family at my home this afternoon. We’ll grill various bits of animal flesh, nosh on fresh veggies and sweets, drink gin and tonic, and just enjoy each other. My goodness, but do we like each other. I predict I’ll reach the end of this day satisfied.

I made this photograph when I was 42, and thought even as I made it that I ought to use it on this blog when I turned 50! It seemed so far off in the future that I wondered if I’d still be blogging then. Answer to my then-self: lol yup.

Life

Half century

Who knew life at 50 could have so much going on? And some of it isn’t exactly pleasant. But one advantage of this age is the resilience to handle it.

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Schwinn Collegiate

Schwinn Collegiate
Olympus OM-1, 50mm f/1.8 F. Zuiko Auto-S
Fujifilm Fujicolor 200
2015

This is my 1986 Schwinn Collegiate 3-speed bicycle. It’s a Taiwan Schwinn, meaning purists look down their nose a little. But it’s sturdy and of good quality. I bet if I compared it part by part with my 1973 Chicago-made Schwinn Collegiate 5 speed, I wouldn’t detect significant quality differences.

I photographed the bike at Washington Park North Cemetery. I use cemeteries as backdrops a lot. I’ve made many portraits of my sons in them, and I shot a series of my bicycles in Washington Park North. I usually don’t show the cemetery bits in shots like those. But tomorrow I’ll share lots of photos from this cemetery. It’s a favorite subject because it’s within walking distance of my home.

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single frame: Schwinn Collegiate

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The Thinker (crop)

Thinking primate
Olympus OM-1, zoom lens (I forget which)
Fujicolor 200
2011

It was when I took my first Olympus OM-1 to the zoo that I came to see why the 35mm SLR had become so popular. I was still pretty new to the whole SLR game and up to that point I wasn’t in love, as I found their operation to be far more complicated than the all-manual viewfinder and rangefinder cameras I normally shot. But the light bulb went on at the zoo when I was able to compose and check depth of field, and be sure of the photo I was going to get.

I still have this OM-1 but I haven’t shot it in a few years. It’s a lovely camera except for the shutter-speed selector being on the lens barrel. I’m sure that if I used it all the time I’d get used to it. I need to try, because it’s just that great of a camera otherwise.

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single frame: Thinking primate

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