Denver icons


The Brown Palace Hotel in the foreground. In the background: the Wells Fargo Center aka the Cash Register Building. Recently I’ve been shooting this scene with different cameras at different times, from about the same location.

This one is old style. Film. Shot with a Nikon EM + crummy old Tokina lens, on C-41, converted to grainy B&W in Photoshop.

Film day, snow day, work day

1-reflect1 I’ve been on eBay again, looking at old Nikon lenses to use with my D7100.  I always browse the old film camera category, because people will sell an old SLR with its lens(es) in a single deal. I’ve acquired a few good old prime lenses for a bargain price that way, and in the past I donated the unwanted sad old cameras to Goodwill. But this time around I’m paying attention to the cameras too. I bought some film and I’m shooting with a few old SLRs – all Nikons so far – in the bundles I bought. A few days ago I took light rail downtown to my job on a day that started clear – see the first photo, above –  and as predicted went all snowy. I took along a Nikon EM with a crummy old 35-70mm Hanimex Tokina [oops, a mistake in the original edit] lens (don’t ask, long story, bad choice of lens), shooting Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400. When I went to lunch, the snow had started: 1-snowfall17th1 By quitting time, I was happy to be riding light rail and not having to drive home. 1-snowstreet1 Or to bike home. 1-coldride

Not critical work


I love the innernets. Today I researched an old Promaster brand zoom lens – once bundled with Nikon “amateur” level SLR film cameras and now often found for sale, cheap. As often happens, I found a discussion on point, on a photography forum, with only a few conflicting details (it’s definitely manufactured by Tamron vs. it’s for sure a Tokina lens).

And then I found this, from a guy who started a discussion by asking about that lens. He thanked the others for the information and said, about the lens:

it will not be used for critical work, just for snapshots and holiday memories

Just snapshots and holiday memories.

Oh, dude. Really?

The photo above is a crop of a picture I took back in the 80’s or 90’s, of my aunt, clowning around at Christmastime with a row of stuffed animals on the hearth. She adored her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and loved making a big fuss over them at Christmas especially.

I won’t put her face on the Internet today. She’s now the prisoner of a vicious disease (Parkinson’s) and not in good physical or mental condition. So bad that she’s incapable of consenting to my posting an identifiable image. It’s beyond sad. The energetic, smiling woman in that picture is only a memory now.

I don’t remember what camera I used to take that photo. It was probably some decent point and shoot with 35mm film. I’m glad it came out pretty well.

But, if I’d had a top of the line, revered, camera and lens, to take that photo? It would have been worth it.


Grandmother’s vase. Unless it isn’t.


This little blue opalescent vase sat on the windowsill above the sink at grandmother’s house.

It’s a Fenton piece, probably from the 1940’s, just 4 inches tall, and not valuable.

It reminds me of childhood summers in a small town. The sound of a screen door slapping closed, the welcome shade of a big pecan tree in the back yard, a wavery old lady’s voice humming a tune as she washed dishes at the sink. High-ceilinged rooms and old-fashioned furniture. A big old clawfoot bath tub, an old bathroom sink with separate hot and cold taps.

I’m not sure this is the exact vase from my (step)grandmother’s house. I went in search of more like it, and found them. They were, I think, individually hand made – not machine made although manufactured in commercial quantities. I shopped for Fenton vases in antique shops and flea markets for a few years, and I found there were slight variations between pieces when compared side by side. I think I sent the original little vase to a relative and kept the closest copy.

But it’s possible I didn’t send it off. I just can’t remember. And I’m enjoying the small mystery – is it the one I knew as a kid, or one just like it?

Kodak Holiday

Kodak Brownie Holiday camera and box

Yesterday I took this camera out to a photo meetup. The rules were, to bring an item and photograph it, then post the photo without a caption so that the photo itself tells a story.

This Brownie Holiday was my first camera ever, a gift for my 6th birthday. I’ve bought, sold, lost, and given away a ton of cameras in my lifetime, but always kept this one.

Yesterday morning when I took it out of its box, I slid the catches down and opened it. That’s when I learned it still has film in it!  I have no idea how old that film is, no memory of the last time I used the camera as a kid. Obviously I ruined some of the film by opening the camera. After I closed it again, I rolled the film past exposure 5 and left it on exposure 6. Research on the 127 film indicates that there are 8 exposures on the roll.

At the meetup, I asked about it, and was advised to take the film to Englewood Camera, and that because it’s black and white it may well still be good.

I’ll take three more exposures first. I’m still deciding what they will be. I’m trying to keep my expectations low, to be prepared for the film being ruined.