Recently I have been going back through my photographic archives. I have brought up images that I thought were okay and converted them to black and white and I loved them. I was amazed that this simple conversion could make me go from “like” to “love” with a simple Ctrl/Alt/Shift/B stroke.
It started with my aforementioned images from New Orleans and more recently some that I had taken with my pseudo Rollei Pearl River twin lens reflex camera. I had some shots from our Fisheating Creek, Florida camping trip and some others from that camera.
And just the other day, I picked up a roll of film from the processors that I shot in my Olympus XA (c-41 that I don’t develop at home) that was color. I got home with it and didn’t even scan it as color, I went straight to black and white…and the images were great! I’m amazed at how much just doesn’t work as well in color and once it’s made black and white, it becomes “art.”
So, from now on, I am only going to be using black and white film (unless I get a crazy good deal somewhere) and process myself. That way, there’s no question…it’s black and white and that’s it. Also, the film itself is predominantly less expensive and home developing also is much more reasonable in the long run. I am the “starving artist,” after all 😉
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!
Still recovering from a long and fun weekend of food, fun, and great music at the Riverwalk Blues and Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale this past weekend. Our friend Vena Paylo (wonderful music portrait artist) asked me to share a booth with her to sell our wares and I thought it would be great fun and we might just make some money at the same time!
I had matted up many of my images that I thought would sell to a blues and other types of musical interests crowd. I selected some of my New Orleans ones that I had just added to the website, along with many musical instrument “portraits” I have taken over the years. I had two images relating to Joel DaSilva of the Hep Cat Boo Daddies (great hard rocking rockabilly style music) pedal board with voodoo doll and set list and one of his well-loved Fender Stratocaster guitar with a retro pinup style woman on it. I also had another favorite local musician represented; Graham Wood Drout of Iko Iko’s (great “swampadelic” style) white Fender Stratocaster along with his amp that has his design of the Iko Iko logo snake. I also had a handful of images of resonator guitars which are one of my favorites…they are just art in themselves! I also love the way they sound 😉 Lastly, I thought some of my images from Clarksdale, Mississippi last year when we went to the Blues Music Awards in May would be appropriate. I had one from Morgan Freeman’s club “Ground Zero” and a shot of “Red’s” famous juke joint.
It was a great festival and I sold WAY more work than I ever thought I would…including every music-related piece I brought. I don’t think I missed any sales by not having selection though, which is good considering I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to have been. Now I know more what to expect and think I’d love to do more blues related music festivals…they’re fun, the music is wonderful, and the crowd is generous and courteous…oh, and they have great taste in photography, of course 😉
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 recently realized that along with being a rangefinder maniac, I am Pentaxian. I came to this realization after acquiring a nice little Pentax MX to replace the one I had sent up to my Dad to be repaired about a decade ago. I had asked him about it recently and he seems to think it’s “his” MX, which it technically is, but it was mine for a very long time from high school through college and after.
The MX was my first Pentax and I used it for many high school yearbook projects. I continued to study photography into college and used it for my classes there also. It was my constant companion. Dad had an LX and I enjoyed using it too, but I still really enjoyed the MX more. I was lured into electronic wizardry in the late 90’s and picked up a ZX-5 (MZ-5) in my early online auction days. I loved throwing the old glass from my MX on this camera and also enjoyed the newfangled autofocus lenses I bought for use with it. By the early 2000’s I was lured by the digital age and began using various cruddy point and shoots. Dad was getting out of film photography, so he loaded me up with his old gear, which was pretty cool. He gave me an SF1n, a PZ-1p, and a load of cool old lenses. I finally picked up a digital slr around 2005…after much debate…and it was…wait for it…PENTAX!!! It was a k100d and using all the old glass and lenses from the ZX-5 was a God send. Oh, and let’s not forget about the flashes. Now the hubby has a k10d and we’re just one big happy Pentaxian family!
I decided recently I needed another MX…ten years was far too long to go without. I bid and won a nice one on the ‘bay. Well, I received it and it looked pretty good even with the mentioned dents in the prism. It was much better looking than my old beater was anyway 😉 I put it through its paces and found everything to be in reasonable working order…at least as far as I could tell without running film through it. I loaded a roll of film and found that the flash would not fire. After some investigation on flickr and the web, I found out how to take apart the hot shoe without taking the entire camera apart. There was one small part out of alignment, so I lined it up, reassembled it, and voila…flash!
My “new” MX: