Schoolroom Shenanigans, Pt.II

Part II of my school career at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.  You thought I wouldn’t have more?

I’ll miss this time of my life…

See Part I.

Schoolroom shenanigans

It took almost 7 years when I started going back to college, but I did finally graduate.  I have a lot of memories, and also a lot of degrees…because I ended up getting a double minor (in visual arts emphasis on photography, and film studies).  But through it all I had my camera, especially since the first class I took was Intro to Photography, all the way back in Fall of 2013.  So here is a rather large gallery of memories, with many classmates I’ve known over my time at UCCS; I forget the names of some of them!

I don’t expect anyone else to get anything out of this, it’s more a self-indulgent nostalgia trip for me than anything.  Some of these were never published, some have been posted to Facebook only.  Thanks for the memories…

Jeep tours 2018, Part II

2018 was the year I shot Canon gear.  It’s hard to remember back this far…but I had a lot of Double-X that I’d bought from the Film Photography Project and I wanted to use it all up, so it was all put through the Canon 7 (Part I) and Canon AE-1, which is below:

After shooting all these I decided to go back to what I know best, Tri-X in my beloved SPII, especially with the Yellow 50 (and now Yellow 35 too).  I think that being used to the Takumar lenses with Infinity to the left, it was hard for me to use the Canon (and for the Canon 7, the Leitz) lenses because they’re the opposite and it caused me to slow down too much and miss shots, or get out-of-focus results.  I’ll admit that the M42 system does have its shortcomings when it comes to camera body features, etc, but sometimes you just have to go with what you know.  While the Canon AE-1 can give me fine pictures (and it’s my go-to camera for slide film), I’m too familiar with the layout of the Pentax lenses.  So if I do ever abandon the M42 mount for something else, it’ll be Nikon I go to, not Canon.

Views from Rampart Range Rd.

Rampart is one of the forest service roads running from Colorado Springs, passing by my town, Woodland Park, and continuing on North along the front range of Colorado.  We do tours up there during the Summertime but only the bottom 6-7 miles so that is the part I know best.

The first time I traveled this road was back in 2007 when my friends picked me up from the airport and took us to Woodland Park the back way in their minivan.  It’s a story I like to tell, mainly because if someone in a minivan can drive it, it’s really not that rough a road.  I’ve passed many a regular car up there and would have thought my own Chevy Blazer wouldn’t have much trouble.  Well…

That’s never happened on a tour.

The good news: the tires were only a year old and I made sure to spend the $15 extra per tire for lifetime warranty.  I’ve already got two new free tires out of that deal.

On rough roads in Colorado, you’ll find plenty of people willing to stop and help change a tire.  Unfortunately, none of them will be pretty girls.  Oh well.

Workin’ on the railroad

This is the cog railway that goes from Manitou Springs to the summit of Pike’s Peak.  2018 was the first year since 1891 that it didn’t run, which was a big bummer for a heck of a lot of people: if you read any brochure or article on the best things to do in Colorado Springs, the cog railway was always #1.  It’s owned by the Broadmoor Hotel, they had about a century of deferred maintenance to address, and what they’re saying is that it’s going to cost $95 Million to fix, and all the parts have to be machined from scratch from a company in Switzerland.

Thankfully, the Broadmoor has plenty of money and the last I heard, they’re saying that the railway will be up and running in 2021.  Never having ridden the train before (I thought I had plenty of time), it was a gigantic bummer, so I’ll be one of the first in line to get tickets once it comes back.  I took those pictures while we were waiting to hear of the assessment’s findings.  This train pictured was evidently their maintenance engine, probably the last time I saw any train on top of the mountain.

Here’s a picture of Ridgerunner pointing out the wear in the track:


Fujicolor 200 in the Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80.  Autofocus at its finest…

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Dogs I have lived with

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Pinto and his brother Malachi were puppies we got from our friends the Beards, I think back in 1995 or so.  Malachi died rather young being hit by a car, but we had Pinto for a long time.  Pinto was supposed be named Mordechai (see the Biblical references there?) but due to my brother’s speech impediment and the fact that he was his dog, we went for something more obvious, either a pinto pony or pinto bean.  Personally I think he had more in common with the bean.  My mom took him with her when she moved out to Colorado in 2006 and he died about a year later.


ca. 2006 with my mom’s digital camera

My mom’s next dog she named Mr. Snerdly, however I refused to call him that.  He was The Snerd. I wouldn’t say I don’t have any bad memories of him, but he’s the least annoying dog I’ve ever known.  My mom had to put him to sleep just last year, and it was hard on her.


ca. 2017, Fujicolor 200 in the SPII

Scarlett was one of my mom’s best friend’s dogs.  They keep getting more dogs and Scarlett was old and cranky about it, so my mom took her.  She was a real escape artist, couldn’t be kept behind a fence no matter how tall it was.  They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but I got her to sit and shake my hand pretty easily: she couldn’t eat until she gave me her paw.  I was up there for a few weeks but didn’t ever take any pictures of her there; I thought about it right before I traveled to SW Colorado for a film festival, and decided to do it when I got back, by which time the dog was dead.  I took this pic at my mom’s friend’s house, the only one I have.


ca. 2016, Superia 400 in the SPII

When I lived in Colorado Springs back in 2017 Jake was my roommate’s dog.  Very old, and never that much trouble…if you could see him.  It turns out he had a very bad vice: he loved to eat books.  And not ratty old paperbacks, he’d go after the fine expensive hardcovers.  He got into my room several times to raid my bookshelves through no fault of mine, though thankfully my roommate replaced everything Jake destroyed.  Which included a photo book, one or two nice coffee table books, and a blu-ray set from the Criterion Collection.


ca. 2017, Double-X in the AE-1

Lucy is a dog belonging to friends of mine, I’ve known her for several years now, because I’ve housesat for my friends for a few years now.  She would bark at something late at night or early in the morning, waking me up so that I’d have to go yell at her.  Point of interest: it takes me quite a long time to get back to sleep once I’ve woken up.  I seemed to have broken her of that, but she plays up to her fanbase by barking when her owners are home and of course they don’t seem to care as much as they should.  I rented their downstairs for over a year but that ended when they moved to Nebraska; I can’t say I’ll miss all the barking.


ca. 2018, Kodak Gold 200 in the SPII

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Why I love the Olympus Trip 35

RIP 1968-2018.  Unfortunately after shooting this camera for 3 years the shutter is now stuck halfway open and I haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet.

It will happen though, because it’s small, light, easy to use, gives me spot-on exposure, and has an absurdly sharp lens.  The Olympus Trip 35 and it’s my favorite mirrorless camera.  Reading about some of my photo friends’ experiences with the Trip and also finding this fantastic store made me want to sing again the praises of this mechanical wonder that I found at the thrift store for all of $8.00.

It needs no battery: it has a selenium meter which gives perfect exposure, something I tested by shooting slide film in it.  After reading about “night tripping” (which basically means using high-speed film in the Trip manually set to f/2.8 and its slower speed of 1/40sec), I’ve felt comfortable using the Trip in all kinds of situations indoors and outdoors.  One thing that I’ve talked about a lot (though never tried yet) is putting a few rolls of Cinestill 800T through it; or now that T-Max P3200 is back that might have to happen.  Either way I’ve yet to test the extremes of film latitude yet, but it will happen.

And the Trip 35 does indeed live up to its name: it travels so well!  I took it to Wales where it was my camera for color film, and threw it into my bag for a last-minute trip to Ohio.  Though the lens sticks out a bit it still easily fits in a jacket pocket without getting in the way.  Speaking of the lens and its zone focusing, you do have to be careful when shooting inside, but made it perfect for shooting my William Klein masters’ study.  Since then focus doesn’t mean as much to me as it used to, though most of the time I’ll get it right.

When looking through all the shots I’ve taken with this camera I couldn’t believe just how much I’ve used it in the last few years!  It’s a large gallery–in order we have: Tri-X (6), Velvia 100 (3), Double-X (4), Provia 100F (3), T-Max 400 (4), Fomapan 100 (2), Kodak Gold 200 (2), Fuji Neopan Acros 100 (2), and Ferrania P30 (2).  There will be other films shot in this camera one day, but for a while now I’ve been concentrating on the Spotmatic for my photo project that’s been going on since January (and long before).

I would definitely recommend this camera for people who don’t want the bulkiness of an SLR, don’t like relying on batteries, but still want an AE camera.  My camera’s shutter still had accurate speeds after nearly half a century.  Zone focusing can take practice but is doable, so don’t let that dissuade you!

Brother’s wedding

My brother and his now-wife had a photographer, I just took pictures for fun.  Lots of friends and family, most of whom I hadn’t seen for years.

I had a problem with loading the Canon, really me being cheap and trying to get an extra frame out of the film…the result of which was that my third roll of film doesn’t actually exist.  It could have been worse though, as I had forgotten by then how much I had shot and wasn’t sure if I’d actually taken any pictures at all.  Still, it makes for a good reminder that you must really know your camera before you start doing all the little tricks.  Unless I’m shooting the Spotmatics, I’ll make doubly sure of things like the film loading process!