What’s your reaction to this one? Cool or creepy?

What’s your reaction to this one? I was walking St. James Court shooting houses and this young woman came walking up the sidewalk toward me. The shot was a classic surreptitious “shoot from the hip” shot. I just tripped the shutter on the 635 as it hung against my stomach. I was set for f16 and had the focal point set to about 20 feet, so I didn’t have to focus. I really like the shot, but it also strikes me as kind of creepy, almost like a stalker or something. Maybe if the girl was 80 years old, or a male, it would be different, but a young, fairly attractive female being photographed without her knowledge or permission bothers me. On the other hand, I really like the shot. What do you think? (Click on image for larger view.)



Louisville Waterfront

Water and photography are a natural pairing. The openness and reflective properties of water make for interesting textures and the activities of people on and around water provide us with great subject matter. I have been exploring the waterfront in Louisville – the park, the docks and trails. I never seem to fail to fill up my memory cards and expose all the film I carry when I go down to the river. (Click on images for larger view).

Reading-on-the-Dock This lady was definitely getting her inner Zen going. She was just reading at the end of the dock. I think her serene vibes helped to make the picture. I wanted to know what book she was reading, but I decided not to disturb her. It was probably The Diamond Sutra or something like that.


I was carrying my Yashica 635 TLR (a 120 film camera) when we walked past this guy. He yelled, “I got something!” and I turned and shot the picture without focusing or even aiming the camera because I thought a big fish was about to explode out of the water. It turned out to be an unfortunate box turtle. The fisherman cut the hook with some wire cutters so it could slip out of the turtle’s mouth and let him go. He said, “I’m strictly ‘catch and release.’ I don’t like killing things.” (The vignette is a Photoshop effect, not the lens.)

The-Belle-of-Louisville-2 The Belle of Louisville is the oldest operating steam ship in the United States. She’s coming in to dock after a cruise up the river. I love this boat.


Another guy fishing with bridges in the background. This is looking upstream on the Ohio River toward Cincinnati. We talked to this guy and he wasn’t catching anything. He said he’d never fished the river before and didn’t know what he was doing wrong. My hunch is that it was so hot that the fish were deep in the channel, out past where you could cast a line.

Three-Ducks Gotta’ luv the ducks. I think ducks are natural comedians.


Here’s the crew tying up the Belle at the Third Street dock. That foggy stuff is real live steam from the engine. I particularly enjoyed catching the rope in mid air (and yes, this was done with a digital DSLR).

Barbecue-under-the-Bridge This is the southern end of the Kennedy Bridge where Interstate 65 crosses the Ohio. The massive expressway makes a perfect canopy for a cookout when the sun is beating down.


See also “Cooling Off in Waterfront Park”


Adventures with Expired Film: Fujichrome Astia 100 in 120

My friend, Jim, sent me a box of Fujichrome Astia 100 to run through my Yashica TLR. The film expired in 2004 and I had my doubts about it, but we had it from a reliable source that the film had been refrigerated for its entire long life. I loaded a roll and went down to Willow Lake which is on the edge of Cherokee Park in Louisville. It was late in the day and the sky was overcast with heavy clouds. I shot it in the Yashica 635 TLR and and used the trusty Gossen Pilot 2 meter to get my exposure readings. I had the film developed at a local lab. To my dismay, I found out that the lab is closing down in three weeks and from here on in, I will have to ship my color out of town for processing. I totally understand digital, but I wish it didn’t have to mean wiping out all of the traditional analog photography industry. Anyway, here are the results of the experiment. All of these, except the dragon fountain have had some color correction in Photoshop: (click on images for larger view)

reed-at-willow-lake Yashica 635 with Fujichrome Astia 100

Willow-Lake-5Yashica 635 with Fujichrome Astia 100

Willow-Lake-7Yashica 635 with Fujichrome Astia 100

silly-dragon-fountain Yashica 635 with Fujichrome Astia 100
This one has no color correction whatsoever, and it shows some “red shift”
It should be more gray. Part of this may be underexposure, and some may be the age of the film.

Willow-Lake-2 Yashica 635 with Fujichrome Astia 100

To be honest, I expected the film to look much worse, given its age. I was pleasantly surprised at what I could get from these transparencies. I did some color correction on all of these shots except them dragon fountain, but actually, it was not much more than one would do on fresh color transparency film. I will definitely shoot all of this film that I can get my hands on.


Looking for Fish at Willow Lake


Yashica 635, Tmax 100 (expired) in Tmax

I had a few frames left on a roll so we went over to Willow Lake which is really just a large pond on the edge of Cherokee Park. It was late in the afternoon with a heavy overcast, but I wanted soft light, rather than a hard directional light that clear skies would have provided.

The film was from a batch of expired Tmax 100 that I bought a while back. The film expired in 2004 and I have been shooting it for practice fodder and to test it to see if it still works. It works fine in terms of development. The contrast and tones are right but I got a lot of light streaks which are too small to see at this size, but they would show up on a 10” x 10” print. I’m not sure if this is deterioration of the film or not. I washed some of the negatives in film cleaner to make sure it wasn’t residue from the development, and it didn’t wash out. The worst streaks can been seen with the naked eye. They look like dark, fine hair on the negative. If I was scratching the emulsion, one would think that the streaks would be reversed, looking light in the negative and dark in print.

We walked around the lake looking for interesting angles. Marian started looking for fish in the water and I realized there was repetition of form between her pose and the shape of the lake which was interesting, so I shot the picture. The soft light gave a dreamy mood to the scene. With a little touch-up in Photoshop to get rid of the streaks, I had a picture, but I’m wondering is this expired Tmax is more trouble than it’s worth.


The Iron Horse

Like millions of other American teenagers, I couldn’t wait to get a driver’s license so I could go racing off in one of my dad’s cars. I scarcely noticed that sometime between my childhood and early teens, the great passenger trains had vanished.

208-1 The Old 208 Close-up, Yashica 635 with Ilford Delta 100

After all, cars are much more fun. You can go where you want to go, when you want to go there. Cars are freedom and individuality; railroads are institutions. And, it didn’t help that when the railroads had a virtual monopoly on overland transportation, they took advantage of working people by charging exorbitant rates to ship farmers’ crops to market. When I was a kid, I never heard a single lament for the passing of the trains.

208-2 The Old 208 , Yashica 635 with Ilford Delta 100

The last time I rode on one of the great trains was when my mother took my sister and I on the Texas Chief up to Oklahoma City to visit my grandfather in Norman. It was like a luxury hotel on wheels. I couldn’t have been more than about nine years old, but I remember it as if it were yesterday.

French-Lick-Train-Station-1Train Station, French Lick, Indiana, Yashica 635 with Ilford Delta 100

When I was a kid, my dad could drive down the middle of the highway steering only with his knee while he lit a cigarette with his Zippo lighter. This drove my mother crazy, but you could do that then because there were so few vehicles on the road. In Texas, you could often drive for quite some time without seeing another car. Things have changed, and changed a lot since those idyllic days. Today we face streets and expressway choked with millions of vehicles almost 24 hours a day. Half of the time I set out to drive from Louisville to Lexington, I am delayed by a multi-vehicle accident. Today, the air is turning toxic, the planet is said to be heating up, and the Gulf of Mexico is filling with crude oil where a living ocean once thrived. In the days of my youth, gas was 25¢ a gallon. Today, people are going into debt to fill their tanks. Times have changed.

Passenger-Cars,-French-Lick Passenger Cars, French Lick, Indiana, Yashica 635 with Ilford Delta 100

I can’t help but think that our friends across the pond have been smarter than we have on the issue of trains. Only we gave up our trains – England, Europe, Russia, India, Africa, China and Japan all kept and developed their railways. Only we relegated our great trains to the pack mule role. Ours still run, but they carry only new cars, coal, chemicals and other bulk freight.

208-3_antique_effect The Old 208 , Yashica 635 with Ilford Delta 100, antique effect from Photoshop

It would be great if we would re-think our ideas about the trains. I know I would use them. I think a vacation on a train would be terrific. Just being able to hop on a train and ride to Cincinnati to see a Reds game would be a hoot. I wonder how many cars we could get off the road if we had a railway system that took people where they wanted to go. How many amphetamine-crazed truckers would have to find another line of work if our railways were truly operational? How many tons of hydrocarbons could we keep out of the atmosphere? How many Deepwater Horizons would we need if we were running the trains?

You can buy prints of these photos and others on Red Bubble by clicking on this link


Time to Get Angry


“Dead Gas Station” Yashica 635, Kodak Tmax 100

This gas station was a BP for a long time, and it flourished while it was a BP, but then the owners started mixing gas from other low-price vendors and BP cut them off. It wasn’t long before the station just failed and closed. Now, its carcass sits by the side of Newburg Road looking dead and forlorn. I have spent thousand of dollars here in gasoline, but now I have to drive over to Popular Level Road to a Texaco, soon to be a Marathon, to fill my tank.

With millions of gallons of BP oil gushing into the the Gulf of Mexico, and ruining a place I have loved all my life, I find myself wishing that we could make all the gas stations look like this. Maybe we could build electric cars, and rebuild the railroads. Maybe in some places we could even go back to riding horses. That would suit me fine.

I remember how the gas companies gouged us so badly a couple of years ago and helped to bring on the recession we now suffer. $4 for a gallon of gas, just because the hotdog speculators in the commodity pits bid the price up. They didn’t give a damn about us, or the country that allowed them to make a killing. “Killing the golden goose” has never been more true. I hope all of those creeps are out of work now. The world fell into a recession, and they eased the prices, just enough to keep us from going bankrupt trying to get to work, that is, those of us who still had work. Then this spill happened. It is no small wonder that the rage against the oil companies has boiled up. The rage will drive BP into liquidation, but if that is all that happens, we will have proven again how stupid we are.

It’s time – really, it’s past time – to get angry. It’s time to get angry about they way we’re getting screwed. It’s time to angry about what’s happening to our planet. It’s time to quit talking and start making some solutions happen. We have all been passive for too long. We have all been unwilling to suffer any inconvenience or do without any gadget for too long. It’s time to start saying “No” to the machine.

Although I can’t imagine why you’d want it,
you can buy this print on RedBubble – just click this link.


George Rogers Clark Homestead, West Wall

George-Rogers-Clark-Homestead---croppedClick on picture for larger view

Yashica 635 with Tmax 100


Pictures of the Day: Louisville Downtown


Belle of Louisville, Ilford Delta 100 in Ilfosol 3

MooringMooring, Ilford Delta 100 in Ilfosol 3

Hard-Rock-2 Hard Rock Guitar, Tmax 100 in Tmax

Live Live, Tmax 100 in Tmax

Click on Pictures for Larger View

Technical information: Photos shot with Yahshica 635 TLR camera and 80mm Yashikor lens; film and developers noted under each picture. Film is 6×6 cm “medium format.”

For a subject to be strong enough to be worth photographing, the relationship of its forms must be rigorously established. Composition starts when you situate your camera in space in relation to the object. For me, photography is the exploration in reality of the rhythm of surfaces, lines, or values; the eye carves out its subject, and the camera has only to do its work. That work is simply to print the eye’s decision on film.  – Henri Cartier-Bresson – on composition. “American Photo”, September/October 1997, page: 76