A couple of weeks ago, we decided to go on an adventure in Miami to the Gold Coast Train Museum. Little did we know what an adventure it would be…as my GPS in my Android phone took us all the way west …though I told the hubby it looked suspicious, he wanted to follow it. We just got to go through horrendous Miami traffic from west to east and finally found the correct location which was right by Miami MetroZoo (where he initially thought it was).
One of our reasons for visiting on this day was that it was free admission (as it is the first Saturday of every month) and there was a caravan of gourmet food trucks to be there. The hubby’s a foodie, so he really wanted to try the food trucks…and we really needed some inspiration for our photography which we knew the trains, our friends Robert, Michelle, and Bobby, and my step daughter Melissa and her daughter Aliza would give.
I took my post WWII Argus A2b and trusty Pentax MX with me. I needed to get the Argus out “just because” and I knew my MX wouldn’t let me down (since I’m still not well versed in the use of the A2b) so I’d get at least some decent shots.
We were starving after our driving adventure, so we headed straight for the food trucks. Luckily, they didn’t let us down. We scarfed a couple of fish tacos immediately, then the hubby and I went to separate trucks for the rest of our meal. I had a wonderful Mediterranean chicken wrap from a truck that only does wraps…super yummy!
Once we finished lunch, I realized there were a couple of old fire trucks and a Case steam powered farm tractor just outside the train building. I thought they would make excellent photographic subjects, so I proceeded to shoot away. Got some shots I really like of the tractor and especially the details of one truck (an American LaFrance). I just love rusty old historical vehicles like this. They have so much more meaning when they were used for saving lives or for producing food. As always, I thought about this history and wondered about the tales they would tell if they could.
We gathered up our crew and headed inside the train building. It was amazing, they had many different eras of passenger cars, engines, and cabooses. I loved the passenger cars most…imagining the lives of the people that rode in them. The most luxurious of these was the Ferdinand Magellan Railcar made by the Pullman Company. This railcar was used for the three presidents prior to Kennedy (Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower) to transport and do “whistlestop” campaigning. It was replaced with Air Force One for President Kennedy. The appointments in this car were amazing…it had an early version of air conditioning, two “suites” with adjoining washrooms…one of which even had what they called a “bath tub,” but it was more of a basin for the shower.
It was a great day checking out all the cool rail cars and I think we’ll go back soon. We had a good time, but with everyone in our group it was hard to shoot as much as I wanted to. I like to document the details and it takes me a while to do so…so the hubby and I will have to make a trip on our own to spend more time shooting. We highly recommend it and if you’re going to the Miami Metro Zoo any time soon, definitely add it to your agenda!
In recent months, I have been in a little “slump” in my photographic adventures. Luckily, in October when I took a driving trip to see my family in Virginia, my father gave me a Koni Omega Rapid (oddball medium format), Graflex Crown Graphic (large format), and a Rolleiflex Automat (twin lens reflex) to use! He’s always been good like that and I think that seeing me getting back into film photography made him want to hand these off to someone to use again…they were just sitting in drawers in their dank basement.
I got home with these new gems and was getting some great inspiration just by having these cameras in my hot little hands. Upon my return, I was on flickr catching up and someone had posted about a photographer by the name of Vivian Maier from Chicago that had just been “discovered” after her passing. He made mention of her use of a Rolleiflex and this really intrigued me. I found more information on the web about her shooting through many decades with her Rollei and that there were thousands of rolls of film found of hers. There were two major things that made me very interested in her; the fact that she was a woman photographer in a time when it was very male dominated, and that she used a Rolleiflex camera rather than a more “dainty” 35mm or other smaller camera that a typical woman of the era would.
I came to read about her, watch videos and see her story explode across the internet. What a find this John Maloof had come across! Thoughts of her falling into obscurity went through my mind and made me so thankful that John had the wisdom to see the great value of this woman’s images and the story of her life. There is now a display of her work and a couple of her cameras in Chicago…makes me really want to go there to see it and the place that she had called home for so much of her life.
Now this Rolleiflex that my father had entrusted me with had so much more meaning to me. It started with a fascination of the German engineering of a machine that was made around WWII and now the added interest of a mid century woman photographer having used a very similar camera. I can’t wait to use the camera more and watch the incredible story of this amazingly talented woman photographer unfold.
I was just going through my gallery on my website and realized how many images I have from cemeteries. I don’t know what exactly draws me to them…a sense of history, a mystery of a life I never knew, or simply showing respect to those that have left this world. I have been intrigued since I was very young and my brothers and I would sneak into graveyards to peek at the headstones.
Since my foray back into film photography, I have shot Key West Cemetery and Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Lauderdale fairly extensively. I think my favorite subjects would have to be the angels…beautiful heavenly beings watching over the souls that have passed on. Key West has some gorgeous hand carved marble angels that I adore. There’s even one there that had an eerie light flare no matter what camera or angle I took it from.
My favorite cameras for shooting in these environs have been my modern Diana F+ and vintage Diana, Ansco Pix plastic 35mm, and Minolta Minoltina AL-s 1960s rangefinder.
It all started on Thursday night when a friend mentioned that a restaurant owner might be interested in some of my images for decor in his business. I knew I had a handful of good shots I got with my trusty Pentax ZX-5 in 2005 when we went for a friend’s 50th birthday celebration. I also have some from 1990 when I was there with my parents and was using Dad’s Olympus 35DC rangefinder, but that’s a different story for a different day.
I went to my flickr account where I have the majority of what I consider my “quality” work uploaded first. I was surprised to find that I had not uploaded many shots I had remembered from that trip and had to dig back into the backup drive to find them. I located the file and began the process of deciding which images were worthy of uploading to flickr. It certainly is a bittersweet task, as we had visited a short 4 months before the devastation of Hurricane Katrina hit this beautiful gem of a city.
The images I see are those of city rich with history, music, and culture. They are a reminder that this tragedy will not take away the spirit of New Orleans as it is far bigger than a hurricane. That spirit touches all who visit the city and is carried with them to far away locales the world around. My only hope is to be able to visit soon and once again get my fill of the intoxicating brew that is New Orleans.
Back in November for the hubby’s birthday, I decided to take him to the historic Bonnet House here on Fort Lauderdale Beach. They just happened to be having an orchid show, so I though it would be a great photo expedition for both of us. We’ve both needed a bit of inspiration so it was just what we needed.
I decided to bring my trusty old Pentax MX. I had one in high school and college, but it ended up with a faulty meter, so I sent it to my Dad to repair and never got it back. This camera is one I purchased in an online auction for a very reasonable price and it came to me with a dented prism. I got some money back due to the fact that it made the hot shoe malfunction. I then proceeded to repair the hot shoe based in instructions I found on the internet and now have a fully functioning gem of a camera (albeit a tad battered looking ;-).
When we went in, there were crazy Spider Monkeys jumping through the canopy of trees overhead. I was shooting with my 50mm lens, so I couldn’t get any good shots though. The orchid show was beautiful and we were able to get some wonderful afternoon light on them.
The house itself was just beautiful too. It was owned by an artistic and quirky family and it shows. There is everything from classically beautiful art and sculptural pieces to very primitive tropical style paintings. We weren’t allowed to photograph inside the house, but I got some decent images of outside and in the courtyard areas.
I have been led back into the analog (film) photography world by a bit of plastic known as the Diana camera. It happened a year ago when I saw one of these gems at an Urban Outfitters store and was reminded of my very first camera in the early 70s, which was an original Diana. I didn’t purchase the one I saw there, but began thinking about it constantly…I had purchased a book in the 90’s called “Angels at the Arno” by Eric Lindbloom which contained images shot with a vintage Diana camera like the one I had as a child. I dug the book out and was once again in love with the dreamy ethereal imagery created by the photographer with this camera. I had to have one! My husband was nice enough to find a store near us called Bear & Bird at Tate’s Comics in Lauderhill, FL (as we have no Urban Outfitters near by) and we went the next day. I picked up a shiny new Diana F+ and began shooting my expired 120 film which had been residing in my fridge for about 10 years.
My childhood love and my passion for analog photography had been renewed! It has been a slippery slope since then…I’ve been shooting primarily film images and have been developing black and white film in my home darkroom. I have also amassed quite a collection of plastic toy and vintage cameras. Next step…printing in the darkroom!