Gawkers as spectacle

Building off one of my photo instructor’s categories of my Cowboys & Jeeps photo project, here are a few shots from the zoo that I took that fit into that category.

I suppose that this might fit into the whole photo project but I wasn’t planning it.  If so expect them to be black & white at some point.

Scrub Oak

A camera test to determine if my new thrift store find had any light leaks or other problems.  Thankfully I’m problem-free aside from a few mechanical oddities and those I can live with for a while.  A 100-roll box of expired Fuji Superia 400 appeared in the photo lab last semester, evidently free, so that’s what I used rather than waste my own film (12 exposure rolls, so I wouldn’t call it cost-effective to process C-41).  Processed in Sprint Chemistry and I used the times for Tri-X; it fogged quite a lot but seems to look alright in scanning.

I see this stand of scrub oak nearly day I’m on campus because it’s right out the window of Columbine Hall (where the photo lab is).  I’ve photographed it at least twice before, here and here, plus it can be seen in the back of these shots as well.

Starr Kempf

I don’t have the full story on Starr Kempf, but he was a sculptor who lived in Colorado Springs.  I think I was told that he was a professor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS), where I currently go.  He made a number of kinetic sculptures (they move with the wind) and originally they were all displayed in his front yard.  The story I heard is that the neighbors weren’t too happy about them or the publicity that they were getting (Kempf’s house is very close to the Broadmoor Hotel), and many of them were removed, either to New Mexico, downtown Colorado Springs, or as depicted below, to a newer section of the university.  I shot them with the pinhole lens on my dedicated pinhole Spotmatic.

Here’s one that I shot with the Trip 35 on Acros.  This was Spring of 2018, the first semester in the brand new “Ent Center for the Arts.”


Acros 100 in the Trip 35

And here are the remaining few on Kempf’s front lawn.


Velvia 100 on the Canon AE-1

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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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Gabriel portrait session

I don’t do it too often but when my friends want pictures I’m there for them.  I can’t say that I’m too used to portrait sessions in general and with infants in particular; Anne Geddes I’m not.  But it turned out alright and I think my friend is happy with the results.  Perhaps if I get enough practice I’d consider opening up a photography business.  We narrowed it down to 20 pictures to print, these are the ones I personally like best.

Black & White is T-Max 400, and I pulled out a lens I don’t use too often, the Chinon 55mm f/1.7 Macro, to make sure I could get in as close as needed: the Chinon, while not a true 1:1 Macro lens, does focus to less than a foot, better than the 1.5 feet with my normal Takumars, and shooting indoors I wanted something faster than the f/4 S-M-C Macro Takumar.  I knew there was a reason I bought it!  Also it was a pretty screaming deal at my local shop, evidently they’re quite rare and go for several hundred dollars when they turn up on ebay, so it was too hard to pass up.

I pulled out the old Pentax ES as my secondary camera, and it went back to its old tricks (actually it did a long time ago and I just hadn’t remembered).  So my original fix didn’t work, but then I haven’t gotten around to opening it back up again recently.  The ESII I own was sent off to Eric Hendrickson for a CLA but he couldn’t get the speeds right so he sent it back…evidently it’s a common problem and I guess he doesn’t like working on the AE Spotmatics.  But what that means now is that I have an ESII with accurate fast speeds and slow speeds that are much too fast.  So much for having an M42 system: I have 5 bodies and only 1 that works 100%.  I’ve been on the fence anyway about switching to Nikon and getting an F2 and F3, which it seems are much more serviceable…it’s gonna cost me though…