I debated on whether to take a photo and post a shot today...or not! I decided to go ahead and shoot SOMETHING. This is my dad's Rolleicord, made in Germany in the fifties, it was a pretty excellent camera in it's time. Rollei has a long, and well deserved reputation for building fine cameras. This one, the Rolleicord was not the top of the line, by any means, but it was a pretty cool piece of equipment. It featured automated film advance which was rare and it was all done mechanically...there were no batteries so everything was mechanical. There was no light meter so you either used an external meter or guesstimated, relying on experience and the handy little chart on the back plate. Using 120 or 220 roll film, it made a 4.5 x 4.5 centimeter negative or transparency (for slides) and had a red tinted window on the bottom so you could tell how many shots you had left on the roll. The bottom lens was for taking the picture and the top one was for focus...the view, through the focusing lens was reflected upwards, by a mirror, onto a screen made of ground glass. your view of the subject was the same size as the negative. Seems pretty primitive when compared to the modern cameras of today but...in it's time...it was hot stuff!
Several times, I've posted on this blog about my boy, Gimpster. I've shown you a few photos and told you a little about the difficulties of his early days. Gimpster was born with some pretty severe health and development problems...his own mother shunned him and left him to die. I became his surrogate mother and hand fed him and cleaned him up just like a mother would...I don't know, there was just something about him that wouldn't allow me to give up on him. It paid off big time and he became a wonderful companion. Here's a picture of him as a pup, in Sept of 05...he was about six months old in this shot and bearing few signs that he'd had so many problems at birth. Gimpster passed away last night as we slept, leaving a huge hole in my heart...he had shown no signs of illness or distress...just here and happy one day and gone the next. I guess his heart just gave out. We buried him this morning out in the back yard, where he'll be in good company. Some folks say there are no dogs in heaven...I say heaven is full of dogs...and damned few humans. I look forward to meeting him at the gates...I know he'll be there, he was always a faithful and loving companion. I won't be worth a damn for a few days but I'll make it...Gimpster wouldn't have it any other way. RIP old friend.....
One thing hasn't changed at the harbor yet...You can still see birds, bugs, butterflies and flowers. There's not really much in the flower department, they're just about gone for the year...but there are a few still hanging on.
Where there are flowers, there are bugs and the odd, beaten up butterfly.
Sunflowers are few and far between but the operative word is few...there are a few.
Blue sky too!
Little green Lady Bugs
Not a sunflower but a green bug just the same.
All shots were with the Sony 70-200/2.8 ssm today...we're supposed to have great weather for the rest of the week...hope I can make it out again.
I won't be posting until after the 28th of the month. Seems that my "unlimited" data plan from Sprint has limits after all and, apparently I have limited out the "unlimited" portion of my plan...These cell and IP hucksters need a good thrashing! My billing period starts over on the 28th of this month so I guess I'll stay off the net till then. Hope everyone had a GREAT Christmas!!
I had the idea to shoot a light bulb the other day...got out the glass cleaner and polished it up real purty...then, tonight when I actually shot it, I didn't even wipe the dust off of it...DUH...Merry Christmas....
Dos Dias Mas...two days more...then it's Christmas once more. I went to the harbor this afternoon to shoot the Christmas tree but lo and behold, it wasn't there. The city must be feeling the financial crunch! I figured, since I was there, I'd go ahead and shoot the carving of Christ that covers the front of the Memorial Tower...I know that I said I was going to give the Lensbaby a rest but this seemed like a good subject for it.
Could it be that Santa came early?...that he brought me a bundle of Dominican cigars?...could be but Santa was dressed in brown and was driving a truck of the same color! This is another lensbaby shot ...I may give the LB a rest for a few days...I feel the need for speed!
A short time ago, while I was doing my indoor alphabet challenge, I posted a picture of my Lensbaby. As I explained in the post, it's a selective focus lens that I hardly ever use anymore (because of my poor eyesight) but just handling it and taking a few shots of it sort of rekindled my interest. I shot this simple little scene to give you the idea of what it does...not a very interesting shot but it shows how the lens can give you an area of sharp focus and blur the rest of the frame. I think I'll devote a few days to this old friend and see if I can come up with anything more interesting!
When I remember back to my navy days, seems like everybody carried a ZIPPO lighter...even the guys who didn't smoke. The ZIPPOS were great because you could light them in the wind...a very handy quality when you are at sea! When I was stationed in Pensacola, one of the guys in the barracks was from Bradford, Pennsylvania and his mom worked at the Zippo factory. Every couple of months, she would send us a box of lighters...Thanks again to Brian's mom, that was such a cool thing to do!
Well, my alphabet is complete...what to do, what to do?...
Y is for YO-YO...from the land of YO. It's not just any ol' YO-YO, it's a Spongebob Squarepants YO-YO and it's wacky! The shaft between the two circles is off center so it wobbles and does crazy stuff...it's an eccentric Spongebob YO-YO!
Well, one more entry and another alphabet challenge will be in the books...Hmm, Z...that's a toughie!
SFX is a really cool black and white film that's made in England. It has extended sensitivity on the red end of the spectrum of light...this means you can achieve the effects of infrared photography without going through the hassle of using regular infrared film. Infrared is notorious for the difficulties it presents. From loading the film into the camera (which must be done in total darkness) to figuring exposure (harder than Chinese 'rithmetic), darkness again for unloading the camera and developing the film...making the print...it can be a daunting task. SFX gives the infrared effect without most of that trouble...but...you have to use a very dark red filter on your lens in order to see those effects...the darker the filter, the stronger the effect. IR photos are pretty cool and certainly dramatic...skies are darkened and foliage is rendered as brilliant white...people are too!
I like it...but it's one of those things that everybody seems to pronounce differently. I'm not sure which version is correct so I generally just try to avoid mentioning it in public...is that the coward's way out? I shouldn't divulge this on a public forum but it's one of the ingredients in my "secret" B-B-Q sauce...
Back in the day, UV filters were an important part of the photographers arsenal...not so much anymore. Unlike the human eye, most of the older films were sensitive to the full spectrum of light. Ultra violet light could cause the film to fog so the UV filter was used to attenuate these frequencies. Modern films and digital sensors aren't as susceptible to this effect so UV protection isn't the priority it used to be. UV filters can still be used to protect the front element of the lens but be careful in choosing one...the uncoated variety can cause glare. Most modern filters have coatings to prevent that but not all of them...so, let the buyer beware.
These are my favorite black and white films. TMAX 100 is very fine grained and needs a lot of light...400 is a good all-around film for most conditions and 3200 is FAST! It's used for shooting in the (almost) dark. TRI-X is my all time favorite...contrasty with a lot of edge, TRI-X excells at many things...a long time favorite of newspaper photographers and other photojournalists, TRI-X had the reputation of getting the shot, no matter how bad the conditions. TRI-X has been around for close to 70 years and it's still the film that all other black and white films are compared to. It set the standard "way back when" and it's still the king of the jungle! The digital age has pushed these films into the background but they're still in production...and still going strong!
This is from my 500mm reflex lens...reflex, in this context, is just another name for a mirror lens. I've had this old Minolta lens for quite a few years. Sony continued the manufacture of this lens after the Minolta take over but they discontinued it's production earlier this year...BUMMER...many manufacturers build reflex lenses but the Minolta/Sony was in a class of it's own. It was the only mirror lens to feature automatic focus. That was a pretty impressive bit of engineering!
This is a Peak focussing enlarger from back in my film days. When you make a print using an enlarger, focus is, of course, critical. This is a 10X enlarger and it lets you focus down to the grain of the film...ah, those good old days!
First of all, I beg forgiveness for posting yet another picture of a dusty subject...pressed for time and got in a hurry. The lensbaby is a selective focus lens. I've had it for a long time but seldom use it anymore. The lens element is mounted on a bellows...only the center of the lens produces sharp, focused images...that "sweet spot" can be placed in various parts of the frame by moving the bellows up, down, from side to side or by a combination of those movements. The size of the sweet spot can be changed by changing the aperture discs. wide open, only a small portion of the image is in focus but at f22, most of the frame is sharp. It's a lens that offers a lot of options and some great effects...but it's all manual control and my poor vision limits what I can do with it...darn it!
I'm glad I grew up in a time when it wasn't a sign of criminal intent to have a knife in your pocket. I got my first one when I was about six years old...my maternal grandparents gave it to me as a holiday gift. It had a picture of the Lone Ranger on one side and a silver bullet on the other...I still have it...still have my trusty Boy Scout knife too. There's nothing quite as handy as a sharp pocket knife. I still carry one every day and find a use for it almost every day. I've had to turn around and go back to the truck to stash my knife on more than one occasion when I've forgotten about the no "weapons" rule in many public buildings. Ah...the good old days!
Shooting small subjects on black glass can give you some interesting reflections but you have to clean the glass often during the shooting process (at least in dusty south Texas) because every speck of dust will show in the photo. Some people use plexiglass or acrylic but plastics scratch so easily and those tiny scratches look huge in the finished photo, so I like to use plain ol' window glass...paint the back side with a couple of coats of flat black spray paint and...Voila!...you're in bizness.
As you can see, there is some dust on the glass in this photo...I could tell you that I left it there to illustrate my point but the truth is my vision is getting so bad, it just slipped past me..............
This is probably the last rose we'll have for the year. It was a pretty good year for the roses...we were in one of the worst dry spells in recent history but the roses were watered every day...sometimes twice.
I must confess that I've never investigated the concept of virgin olive oil....much less the idea of being EXTRA virgin. Oh well, I suppose such things are far too deep for an old guy like me. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with plenty of good things to eat and the company of those that you love.
C is for camera, of course. What else could C possibly be for on a photography site?
This is a Sony A580. It's wearing my Sony 70-200/2.8 G ssm...probably my best lens, it's an old Minolta design that Sony made a few cosmetic changes to when they took Minolta over a few years back. Minolta made some great lenses and a few of them, like this one, are still in production under the Sony name. I posted about dust control yesterday and now I post a picture in which the inside of the lens hood appears to be covered with dust...it's not, the inside of the hood is lined with black felt to cut the possibility of reflections. The angle of the light just makes it look dusty!
B is for Blue handled Blush Brush and Blower! My little corner of South Texas gulf coast is pretty hard on photo equipment. If the salt, humidity and ultra violet don't get you, the incessant wind (and the dust that it brings) surely will. These two items have a permanent place in my camera bag, they're indispensable for getting that dust out of places it doesn't belong. A quick browse of any photo catalog or shop will show you the ubiquitous blower brush but I find those things worthless at best and downright harmful at worst. The little blower is too small to do any good and I've never seen one that didn't have hard, coarse bristles. Glass coatings on modern lenses are fragile, their thickness is measured in microns...once scratched, they are a source of all manner of problems. I guard the front elements of my lenses like they were gold...never touch them with my bare hands, never touch them with a lens cloth except as a last resort and then only with a little lubrication from a good quality optical solution...they're too expensive to deserve any lesser treatment. I find the two items pictured above to be very effective on loose dust...the blower usually does the trick but sometimes I have to resort to a few light strokes with the soft brush...your mileage may vary.
OK, here we go! I'm going to try to keep this up on a daily basis unless I get stumped (which is likely) or I am interrupted by unforeseen circumstances. I plan to post only one picture a day on the alphabet theme, unlike last time when I went nuts! If I get the chance to get out and about, I may post images in addition to the challenge shots. Hope it will be fun and that we all enjoy it...I think it will be a bit more difficult than the last one.
Against my better judgement, I visited the harbor today. As I've said before, it's become depressing to me...just to see what's happening down there. I've covered that subject pretty thoroughly so I won't get off on another rant ...oh well. While I was there, I got to shoot this trawler at Aransas Marine Ways...getting fixed up for next season.
Since I don't get out much anymore, I've decided to start another challenge, just to keep me in the game. I'm going to do another alphabet challenge but this one will be limited to indoor subjects...nothing that can't be placed on a table top. Some of them will be shot in my light box and some just on the open table. If anyone wants to participate, you're more than welcome!
Despite yesterday's lament about the demise of Conn Brown Harbor's appeal to me as a source of photographic subjects, the area still has it's photogenic appeal. This photo is from a few years back...I was on the road, between Aransas Pass and the ferry landing when one of our strong Northern fronts passed through, just as the sun was going down. I pulled off the road and grabbed this shot. Ingleside point is in the distance and you can see the cranes at the Gulf Marine yard.
A common sight that's not so common in Aransas Pass anymore. I haven't been to the harbor much lately, not only because I just don't get out much these days but it's become depressing to me. Things are changing too quickly for me and I guess I'm just not ready for the change. The demise of a heritage is painful, especially for an old geezer like me. The behemoth is open for business, the old rusty roofed buildings at the shipyard have been demolished, many of the piers and docks have been torn down and the boats...well, there aren't many boats left. Maybe we'll see more when the next season kicks off but they're pretty sparse right now. I don't think there's even a net shop operating anymore...guess there's not much left for me down there...except for the birds and the ICW. PROGRESS...all depends on perspective, I suppose. Guess it's time for me to find a new hangout! This shot is from 2005...back in the day!