The old homestead

A repository of memories that will never come again.

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Rafting the Arkansas River

One of the services our company provides is a Jeep tour through the mountains from Colorado Springs to Cañon City for a half-day rafting trip on the Arkansas River.  I’d been down there several times and wanted to experience the trip myself, which I have to say is way more fun than just sitting around for 3 hours like we usually do.  I put a roll of Tri-X through the Weathermatic:

I definitely had a good experience, and as this half-day trip only goes over class-3 rapids, I didn’t feel particularly challenged; there was plenty of respite between the tricky bits which means I had plenty of opportunities for pictures (maybe Spring would be different).  Most of what I’ve shot with the Weathermatic has been ASA100 film and just occasionally the pictures have been a bit blurry.  I hoped that Tri-X’s extra 2 stops would keep that problem under control, but sadly it didn’t.  Not only was it cloudy but we ended up having some pretty heavy rain, and with the jostling of the boat there were a few unusable images there, though most weren’t too bad.


One of the worst offenders, though I still like the picture.

The Weathermatic only reads DX markings for 100 and 400, so other speeds will be overexposed.  It is a bit disappointing that the camera doesn’t prioritize faster shutter speeds for the 400 speed film.  I suppose for critical work, one would need a Nikonos but for what it is, the Weathermatic does 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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Testing out the Mamiya Macro Sekor 60mm f/2.8

Was this made by Tomioka?  I seem to remember reading that somewhere.  I have the 50mm f/4 S-M-C Macro-Takumar which has a 1:2 resolving power (and also the MCM Chinon Macro 55mm f/1.7), this one has a 1:1, so it is a true macro lens.  It’s also a preset lens, which is a bit annoying. I had these rolls developed and scanned at $15 a roll by Mike’s Camera, and can’t say I’m happy with the amount of evident dust on their scanner.  I’ll certainly rescan on my Pakon once it’s out of storage.

I shot two rolls with this last summer, some Fujicolor 200 and Gold 200, both exposed at ASA100 and that meant keeping the aperture pretty wide occasionally.  Wherever possible I was shooting in direct sunlight, but I didn’t use a flash or anything else like that.  When I got the lens it seems that every flower around me was a yellow flower, so there’s maybe not as much color variation as I could want, but I enjoyed seeing the bees going about their work.

So I don’t know too much about macro photography, but basically I would preset the focus (usually to maximum, move the lens until the bug was in focus, stop the lens down, and take the picture ASAP.  The bees were tricky, they were always going from one flower to another so I’d only have them for a few seconds sometime.  I’ve heard that it’s better to have a 100mm lens (or longer) and a flash, to keep the depth of field as wide as possible under the circumstances.  These shots were the ones that were most in focus, but since some were not in direct sunlight I had to open up the aperture here and there.  I suppose that using something like Portra 400 would have been better, or perhaps a tripod.

The question I’ve been asking myself for a while is, did I really need another macro lens?  Probably not, though this one is a true macro and faster than the Takumar.  But the last time I used that lens I was taking pictures of my super 8 cameras and I just set the camera on a tripod so the extra stop wasn’t needed.  It was an extremely good price and I could make at least four times what I paid by selling it online, so a good investment.  But am I going to start taking pictures of bugs all the time because I own this lens now?  No, in fact I haven’t even used it in a year.

As an aside, all color scans over the last few posts brought to you by Mike’s Camera Colorado Springs with their Frontier scanner.  It’ll give you good scans, but you do have to deal with workers who either don’t know or don’t care.