“Did you just take a picture of me eating my breakfast?”

Yes I did.  Get over it.

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Kitty triptych

One of the guardians of Black Bear Distillery.

Experimenting with different looks, this is Tri-X pushed 2 stops and developed in Sprint chemistry.

A friend’s wedding

(Actually they’re both friends) It was Summer and dry and hot, definitely a memory I need in these cold months.  My friends wanted some pics taken for their wedding, I was happy to oblige.  There were all the standard pictures that are taken at weddings, though these are my personal favorites.

There were two other photographers so I didn’t have the pressure of getting all the needed shots, I could play around and have some fun.  It gave me an opportunity to test out the re-released T-Max P3200, plus play around with a new point-and-shoot, one of the Olympus Stylus Epic line.  I can’t complain about the camera (at least not too much), because it cost me $3 at the local Goodwill (the battery cost four times that), but I will anyway.

The Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80 has all the failings of its ilk: autofocus that can sometimes be inaccurate, a pretty salient and distinctive lens flare (or that might be a plus depending on one’s mentality), a flash that must be turned off every time one opens the camera, plus automation in film winding and shutter release that might make one lose a critical shot.  But if you know anything about these cameras you already know all the downsides.  For the price I paid I’d say the camera was worth it.  It’s small enough that I can carry it in a pocket or around my neck everywhere I go, and for that purpose it does what it needs to.  For off-the-cuff shots during a wedding it was a good compliment to an all-manual camera; the zoom lens–though slow–came in handy too.

As for T-Max P3200, the jury is still out for me, but this is only my first roll of the stuff and I’ll admit that I did the film no favors by shooting it in the Colorado sun.  I mostly wanted to look at the grain structure and can see that it will not handle high-contrast scenes as well as Tri-X, but then it’s designed for low-light shooting.  I actually pulled the two shots that show the film to its best advantage, and I don’t think they stand out too much from the Tri-X I also shot.  I fully intend to use this film for shooting inside where it’s dark, so until that I have nothing to say about the film yet.

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:

bluefire

Bulldog

The legend of Bulldog is that right before it was purchased by our company some 20+ years ago, it was involved in a head-on collision with a Mack truck.  The Mack truck was totaled, the only thing they could salvage was the hood ornament, so we took it…and the Jeep came through without a scratch.

Probably not quite a true story, but still an entertaining one.  Bulldog is the flagship jeep, and usually driven by Denim who besides driving tours is the resident mechanic.  It’s considered an honor to drive the Dog, and this Summer I’ve gotten the honor quite a lot.  Most of these pictures are from 2016, with some from 2017.  I haven’t even developed anything from this year, which means there are probably a lot more Bulldog pics waiting to be shared…

Our company has I think 20 jeeps at last count, 6 of which are early-’80s Jeep CJ-8 Scramblers, of course the most fun to drive: no nonsense, no frills.  That is to say, no automatic transmission, no cloth interiors, no doors or windows, no working gauges, just metal with vinyl seats, easy to hose off when it gets dirty.  Bulldog also features a high-torque first gear/reverse and isn’t used in regular driving, just for pulling other vehicles out of ditches.  As well, it doesn’t have power steering, which makes it akin to wrestling a bulldog, especially when driving up those all-dirt mountain roads…