Blue, 1982-2017

This is a tribute to Blue, one of my six favorite jeeps (we have six CJs, all 1982-1983, I would have rated Blue in the top three).  She was a good jeep, but sadly she’s no more.  It’s hard to see a beauty like this go out.

 

Actually I was the last one to drive Blue, and something in the engine compartment caught fire as I was taking a group down Rampart Range Rd. just above Balanced Rock, exactly a year ago today.  You can see in some of the pictures where the fire fed off the paint on the top of the hood.  I wish we had spent the money to put her back in commission but sadly it’s not to be, it seems.  She’s just sitting at the lot now, there for whenever we need a part to keep the other five CJs running and so far has donated a windshield and a gas tank to other jeeps.

Personally I’d rather drive one of the old carbureted jeeps any day but I’m in the minority.  I had many drivers (tired old guys) congratulate me on killing Blue off and asking if I could do the same for Bulldog and the others.  Ugh…

I didn’t have my camera with me that day (it’s become a bit of a superstition for me since), but evidently one of my passengers took a pic with her iphone, and one of my fellow jeep drivers got a hold of it.  I post it below, but do not own the image:

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Cowboys and Jeeps

(If you’re looking at the header group pic, from L to R that’s Buffalo Phil, Twister, Dutch, Scorpion Cowboy, P-Dog, Denim, Rowdy II, Sidewinder, and Dusty)

One thing that my instructor in Intermediate and Advanced Photo taught me was to make projects out of what you happen to be doing.  Since Summer 2016 I have been dressing up like a cowboy and driving jeep tours around Colorado Springs.  Here are some of the shots I’ve gotten when have a free hand (none while moving, I promise).

 

Besides being an ongoing photo project, I’ve also started making a documentary about life as a tour guide, the growing Colorado Springs tourism industry, and how Colorado and the western states differentiate themselves from the rest of America.  We’re living in the age where cowboys traded in their horses for jeeps.

There have been sprinklings of pics in the past here and there, but not one post dedicated to them.  Some of these pictures date to last summer, and a lot of different rolls of film here, too.  In order: Fujicolor 200, Cinestill 50, Fuji Neopan Acros 100, Kentmere 100/AGFAPhoto APX, Kodak Gold 200, Kodak Tri-X.  I plan to do a lot more shooting and interviewing this summer if I can, but this was conceived as more of a long-term project and probably won’t be finished until I finally graduate, and who knows when that will be…

On the water with the Minolta Weathermatic Dual 35

It’s been a bit wintry here in Colorado these last few days, and makes me want my sunburn back for just a little while longer…so here are my vacation pictures (Labor Day weekend) while on Lake Cumberland in southern Kentucky, with (most of) my college friends from Ohio State.

note: I apologize for the Bud Light cans marring a few of the images.  It was later in the day and evidently some of my friends have no taste.  In compensation, here’s a (somewhat blurry) picture of me drinking my Magic Hat No. 9:
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Life’s too short to drink cheap beer.

Speaking of being just a bit blurry, that’s probably my only real gripe with this camera; I suppose something like a Nikonos would give me just a little bit more control.  I used 100 speed film that day, and I think next time I’ll be sure to bring along some 400 speed as well.  I’m sure ASA100 works fine most of the time, but unfortunately you’ll need that extra stop or two if it clouds over:
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(or maybe I could have used the flash?)

On the other hand, I have 2 focal lengths, 50mm and 35mm, and that’s nice to have occasionally.  The only other problem I had with the Weathermatic was with the water spots on the lens (it can be seen in a few of the color shots).  I suppose there is some sort of substance that you can rub on the glass to help keep water off of it, I just didn’t think about it until it was too late.

I’m really pleased with how the camera performed out of water (the black & white pictures) and I think that in a pinch I could go on vacation taking only this camera, as long as everything I was shooting was outdoors.  The shutter is extremely silent (and the auto-winder isn’t all too loud either), to the point that I actually wasted a frame or two making sure it was actually working.  It doesn’t waste all of the leader, either.  On one roll I got 38 exposures, pretty respectable.  While being made sometime in the late ’80s, it’s still water-tight (I didn’t test just how deep I could push it), and amazingly, it floats!  The camera cost me a whole $7.00 from a thrift store, though the 6V lithium battery was probably twice that.  Thankfully I have another camera or two that can use that battery…  I just learned today from reading a few other online reviews that while the camera only shoots at ASA100 and 400, it will accept anything up to ASA1000.  Shooting 800-speed negative film at 400 isn’t such a bad idea anyway, so I might give that a try next time.

The black & white film is AGFAPhoto APX 100, the color is Fuji Provia 100F.  It was a bit risky I suppose to shoot slide film in a camera I’d never used before, but I think that’s the true test of performance, and the results speak for themselves.  AGFAPhoto doesn’t make its own film.  I’ve read that APX 100 is repackaged Kentmere 100 made by Ilford.  I paid around $8.00 for that film (more than I paid for the camera) and it’s really not worth it when one could buy Kentmere-branded film for under $5.00 a roll–it’s the same problem with how much Precisa CT 100 costs now.  Whatever this company is that has bought the rights to the AGFAPhoto brand, I don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish by rebranding other companies’ films and marking the prices up.  Sooner or later people will wise up; they’re not likely to get any more of my money, that’s for sure.  If you want real AGFA film, it’s labelled Rollei now.  The Kentmere 100 film, which I’d never shot before, looks very pleasing to me most of the time, but it is pretty grainy.  I’m not normally one to whine about a bit of grain, but it’s really noticeable for a 100-speed film, so be prepared.  Again, I’m not complaining (except for how much I paid), I think it has a great look to it that reminds me of what film looked like back in the ’60s and ’70s.  That said, it’s grainier than my beloved Tri-X (at least with whatever developer my camera lab is using, and maybe I should ask just what that is) and two stops slower, which makes it hard for me to find reasons to use it right now.

I wish I didn’t live so far away from my friends now, but then a lot of them have moved away as well.  This is the first time I’d seen some of them in 7 years.  It’s hard to know where the time went, but this marked the 10th anniversary of us all being in the dorms together.  It’s scary thinking that there are legal adults now an entire decade younger than me, or to think that I’m in classes with some of them.  I’m thinking about mortality more these days; perhaps still a bit humorous in someone only 28 years old, I’m sure.

My apologies if you don’t like to look at pictures of half-naked hairy fat guys.  We can’t all of us shoot nothing but gorgeous female models, though a lot of people do get away with it (and get paid for their trouble).  I’m just not that lucky I guess…