Bittersweet

I already started posting pics from Wales, but before delving into more of those rather bigger posts, I’ll share a few miscellaneous pictures with you.

I grew up watching British television, and though it wasn’t my goal while I was in Wales, I did get to catch a few episodes of Father Ted actually being broadcast on Channel 4 reruns (RIP Dermot Morgan, and now Frank Kelly).  On my walk around Cardiff I went past the Doctor Who Experience, but was unfortunately too late to take the tour.  I snapped a few pics of the exhibitions in the lobby, and of course you have to get one of the daleks!  John Hurt was one of my favorite actors and I was looking forward to see him star in Terry Gilliam’s newest film before he was diagnosed with cancer.  I always thought he’d make a good regular Doctor, but sadly that dream, like so many others, will never come about now.  Since coming back from Wales I’ve learned that the Doctor Who Experience will be closing at the end of the summer, so I’m really disappointed that I wasn’t able to get further than the lobby.

Poolside fun with the Weathermatic

The ice and snow finally came last Thursday.  Then it left again, but now it’s back in full force, having somewhere around 6in on the ground up in Divide.  And since I don’t have easy access to a fireplace and glass of scotch at this precise moment, I can at least look back on a warmer time, 2 1/2 months ago.

Ah, the Minolta Weathermatic Dual 35.  I was glad to dig this camera out of the garage and put it back to work!  Staying at my friend’s house while on vacation, most of what we did during the day was hanging out in his pool.  Most everything else we did is captured here.  Again, there aren’t too many outstanding pictures here (and I wasn’t even wearing my glasses when I took any of these).

Those 223 batteries are getting expensive!  I picked a Duracell-made one at Batteries Plus just before I left, cost me $18…should have bought one online a few weeks before, I guess.  At the cost of a new battery every two years, this camera is costing a lot more than I thought it would.  I guess I need to use the camera a bit more here and there (and it does well outside of the pool as well) before the battery runs out by itself.

Knowing that the Weathermatic handles slide film well, I took along a roll of AGFAPhoto Precisa CT 100 (AKA Fuji Provia 100F), as well as a roll of Kodak Gold 200.  The C-41 was scanned at my local shop using the Pakon F235, the Provia was shipped to Mike’s in Boulder and scanned using their Noritsu.  I still have it in my head to gather up all my slide film and do a comparison between the Noritsu, Fuji Frontier used at Mike’s in Colorado Springs, and my own Pakon F335.  Maybe someday…

The Kodak Gold looks pretty good to me, especially when overexposed one stop, looks like lots of detail in the shadows, but I didn’t bother with dodging and burning.  I’ve shot other rolls of Kodak Gold, but they’re still waiting to be developed.  What I’ve seen of Kodak Gold so far made me want to try it out, and I’m glad I did.  I’m still in love with Fuji’s colors though!  At least I remembered to make sure that the lens didn’t have water droplets on it when taking pictures.  I wonder if being in a private pool helped (chemicals, I assume), as last time we were in a lake.  In any event, the water seemed to pour off of its own volition and wasn’t a problem.

If one looks close enough, a little motion blur can be occasionally seen, something I noticed last time I used it as well, and knowing that the camera only shoots at ASA100 and 400, I should have loaded up some 400 speed film in it, but forgot.  Even in bright sunlight, there can be motion blur from me holding the camera, and other times the motion is quite frozen.  I can’t quite say I understand it.  One thing else I found out is that occasionally, the Weathermatic’s exposure isn’t quite spot on, like below.  Of course it had to happen when shooting the Provia:

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Home

We lived in this house 1994-2002, the longest I’ve consecutively lived in one place.  The house was built in 1820 by J.C. Hayes, a veteran of the War of 1812.  War veterans were given land in that part of Ohio as a reward for their service–many of them became farmers and this house is still surrounded by 3000+ acres of farmland, all owned by one man.

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There was originally a red wooden barn behind the summer kitchen that among other things, held a tunnel that had been filled in.  There was talk that this house might have been a stop on the underground railroad, though I don’t know that my parents ever looked into it.  Unfortunately the current owners demolished the barn, so I don’t know if any evidence is left of that.  In the 1970s, the band McGuffey Lane used it as a practice space, I’m told.  Our next door neighbor and dear friend, a construction contractor, had owned this house for years, and at that point was in quite bad repair, to the point of deer living inside.  He put a lot of work into that house, and is responsible for much of the electrical work and plumbing.

There was a lot of work still left to do, but my parents saw the potential in the house.  When our friend died in the early ’90s, we bought the house from his parents, and continued the renovation, and opened a bed & breakfast.  I have a lot of hard memories growing up, but the house itself was home, a sanctuary away from the madness of life.  My grandpa died in that house.  My brother and mother insist that it’s haunted–I’m not quite as spiritually aware as they are, and the house never bothered me.  My mom had a premonition (if you want to call it that), and wanted to sell the business in 2000, but my dad refused; revenue had been steadily climbing since they opened.  Unfortunately after Sept 11 happened, a lot of people stopped traveling and pretty much anything connected to travel and tourism took a big hit, including us.  We sold the house and the business less than a year later.

The people who bought the bed & breakfast after us didn’t do too well and went under.  They owed us quite a lot of money but escaped that by declaring bankruptcy, as well as making off with several articles of antique furniture, etc before they moved down South.  I also think they took an industrial waffle iron that I was quite fond of, and would have loved to have owned.  Oh well, life goes on.  My dad knows more about the current owners and I didn’t ask him too many questions, though apparently the house is still operated as a bed & breakfast.  If I ever become filthy rich, I will definitely own that house again.

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The scans were a bit on the green side for some reason, and I had to do a little correction in Photoshop.  Strangely, it didn’t affect the rest of the roll.  The artifacts on the left side of the second picture are tears, I believe: it was the last shot on the roll, and the Weathermatic would be damned if it didn’t give me one last exposure.  God bless it…

Washington by moonlight

Don’t know if I’ve mentioned my new job but I drive jeep tours in Colorado Springs.  While we were in Manassas, VA for a wedding, I and a few relatives took the opportunity to go into Washington, DC and get a bus tour of the nation’s capital, by moonlight.  As I was halfway through a roll of T-Max 400 (and not pushing it), I didn’t have too high hopes for these pictures shooting 1/2 and 1 second exposures.  Still, I quite like the ghostly quality of the results…

Just a reminder: don’t be asshole cheapskates like my relatives, tip your tour guides well!

The days of drugstore 1-hour photo are gone

At least in my town.  I’ve been up at my mom’s recently, and noticed that the Walgreens where I did my film processing back in the day no longer has their minilab, sadly.  Now this doesn’t affect me at all, but was still a bummer to find out.  Maybe I should have asked one of the employees about it all, but really I was done with that store years ago.  The last time I took film there it cost me $18 for three rolls of film and they didn’t scan them, because evidently they started some racket where they wouldn’t give people scans unless they bought prints as well.

Even then, I’d still try to give them business–though I was never successful, I’d encourage my Woodland Park friends to shoot film and get it developed at Walgreens.  They never took me on, and sadly it’ll be that much harder for anyone in this area to try film.

The local processing may be gone, but the film remains.  City Market sells Kodak Max 400 and Gold 200 (plus single-use cameras) and the Wal-Mart sells 4-packs of Fuji.  The last time I went to Wal-Mart though, which was right after Christmas, I noticed that they no longer sold Fuji Superia 800, and that seems to be all across the board, at least in Colorado.  Too bad, because I love that film and now I don’t know how to get ahold of it cheaply.  Then again, I haven’t used it since experiencing the wonders of Cinestill 800T, so how does this all affect me?  Not at all.

A grown-up birthday

A friend of mine from church turned 37, so the guys all decided to celebrate…by hanging out in a garage.  I guess this will probably show my young age, maturity level, what have you, but still, it sounds like kind of a lame birthday.  I suppose when you and everyone else you know is 30-something and married with a family, grabbing a few hours in a garage for a few beers and a pipe is kind of all that can be expected.  I don’t know, it’s not really a part of “growing up” that I can say I’m looking forward to all that much.

That said, it was still more socialization than I usually get, and I haven’t gotten to hang out with these guys nearly at all since I moved down to the big city.  Also, I haven’t celebrated my own birthday for years now, really.  It always falls on finals week so my friends never wanted to do anything, and after a while I just stopped feeling like my birthday was anything worth celebrating.  Besides, after you turn 21, there really isn’t much point to aging is there?

This is the last roll of film I shot through my (first) Canon 7 before it broke down.  My replacement came just yesterday, and hopefully that camera will be problem free.

Ha, this made me chuckle…

http://tablets.reviewed.com/features/please-stop-taking-pictures-with-your-tablet

There is a hierarchy in digital photography, and firmly at the bottom, it seems, are people who take pictures with their tablets.  I get it; too many people don’t really experience concerts, speeches, artist talks, anything that they go to, they miss real life because they’re too busy looking at it behind a screen.  Like the screen on your iPhone, right?  Like the screen on the back of every DSLR, perhaps?

It’s quite entertaining how concerned the author gets over things like the tablet’s battery life, quality of the tablet’s camera compared to a smart phone, and how ridiculous tablet photographers look (a point made several times).  Best quote: “To make matters worse, Apple keeps improving the iPad’s camera. With the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the company had the audacity to add a camera flash and 12-megapixel sensor to the tablet…”  The author also jokingly reflects on a dystopian future where lenses are obsolete, but I don’t see that as all that far-fetched.  I can see the end for DSLR technology; it might be closer than one thinks, if the majority of the consumer base moves away from “real” cameras.  It should be mentioned that what the average consumer considers good enough is quite underwhelming, one of the reasons digital photography became popular in the first place.  Convenience will trump quality, so why carry a bulky DSLR and zoom lens around when you can pull a thin tablet out of one’s shoulder bag?  Or a smart phone from one’s pocket. 

The comments are wonderfully entertaining as well, and it seems emotions run high over this subject.  At least there’s one badass on there who still shoots with single-use cameras; that guy is my hero.

I do wonder, with the larger size of the tablet, does that give increased room for larger and better sensors over a smart phone?  Will the tablet actually overtake the smart phone as the user camera of choice for the unwashed masses?  Will people frantically scramble to get extra sensors for their favorite DSLR and mirrorless cameras, will they cry when they give up the ghost after a decade?  Will they shell out huge amounts of money for the few remaining models, or scour thrift stores hoping for something a little nicer than an early ’00s 1MP point-and-shoot?  Will they bemoan the death of photography?

As time marches on and professional digital cameras are abandoned in favor of tablets with lenses on them, I will watch and cackle like a crazy person.  Me and all the others kooks still hung up on our light-sensitive little pieces of plastic…