Aug 11 2014

Apparition with an Appetite

I could not get my friend to accompany me to the art show that I told you about in the last post. She was too busy preparing an “European inspired dinner in the orchard.”  So after the art show, I took some photos there instead.  I’ll show you a few more shots with the same Polaroid as my previous post and I also loaded some film into this special little friend.

pola 01My dad got this as a gift in the mid to late 1960’s.  He used to photograph Formula 1 race cars with it. It hung from a nail in our spare room through my entire childhood. I took it with me when I drove across the country in the summer of ’93.  It works just as well now as it ever did.

pola 02There isn’t much to it.  It really is pretty much just a light tight box.

pola 03And once you load the film, set the film speed and check the battery, it’s as easy to use as 1,2,3,4!

pola 06Speaking of battery, I didn’t even remember this little darling having a battery.  I must have replaced it at some point since 1993 though, because the battery inside was in good shape and still had juice, butpola 04it’s a pretty weird looking battery, man. Double ended. I’m not sure you can still get these. I have heard some people modify these cameras to run on AA batteries instead.

So, back to that dinner party in the orchard.  I took BOTH Polaroids with me.  The newer Super Shooter that I introduced to you in the last post was still loaded with color Fuji instant film.

filmAnd I loaded some b/w into my old 210.  Yes, you can still buy b/w and color film for these land cameras.  Keep in mind if you switch between the two that the color’s speed is ISO 100 (you’ll set your camera to 75. It’s close enough. It will work, I promise).  The b/w film speed is ISO 3000! What? You heard me.  If you need some sort of frame of reference, if you try to manually set your smartphone camera to high speed (good in low light or freezing action) you will probably only be able to set it to 800 ISO.

Also, you will only need to wait one-fifth of the amount of time to peel your photo after exposure.  On this day the color film took 75 Mississippis whereas the b/w only took 15.  So if you need more instant instant images, you may want to go with the b/w.

sample 2Anyway, back to the dinner party…The orchard was lovely.

sample 3As was the food and the many many decadent desserts.

sample 04

Guests arrived by traditional combustion engine, diesel, hybrid and pure electric!  If you’d like to learn more about the converted SAAB in the foreground, visit

Now, how about that apparition I promised to you soooo many words ago, remember the title of this post?  Neither do I.

sample 1

I took this lovely photo of our group enjoying their food and drinks.  Everyone seems to be having a lovely time.  Now, I am not one to believe in supernatural stuff.  I have discredited people who claim to have captured “orbs” in their flash photos.

sample 1a

But I cannot explain that blurry apparition to the upper left of the seated group.  There was nobody getting up from their meals when I shot this.  besides, with film as fast as 3000, shot in bright sunlight, even if someone did move, they’d have to be moving faster than an electric car, hell, faster than a Formula 1 car, to create a blur like that!

There is simply no explanation, except perhaps it is the albatwitch, we were in an apple orchard, after all.


Aug 3 2014

I am ‘roid-ed up!

with Pola-roids, that is!

Pola01A friend of mine picked up this fun little Land Camera at our favorite local thrift shop and loaned it to me to play with.Pola02You can still get affordable, non-Impossible film for this little guy at almost any camera shop that is still in existence, or online. This is the kind of film that you have to pull the tab out of the camera, wait an amount of time based on ambient temperature, then pull the photo away from the caustic negative.

Pola03Unlike the last Polaroid camera I was playing with, this camera does not have a battery included in the film pack.  It takes its own set of AA batteries inside the plastic “bellows” area of the camera body, and the shutter will not work without them.

Pola04The old ones look like they’ve been there for quite a while so I took them out, cleaned the corrosion away from the shutter and loaded new batteries.

Pola05Waow!  This vintage camera came with vintage batteries!  I’m not sure I have ever seen an Eveready battery that looked like these!  A quick internet searched dates these to the 1970s, so perhaps these batteries were loaded into the camera when they were all new, then grew old and cruddy together over the next 35 years.

Well, anyway, I put in fresh batteries, loaded my film and headed down to the Farmers Market for some yummy summer veggies.  Let me preface the results by telling you that these are all Droid-camera copies of the original Fuji/Polaroids, so there is some color shift, contrast inaccuracies, and you’ll see some reflections on the glossy surface of the photos.  In most cases, I gave my Polaroid to the market vendor in exchange for them letting me bother them with my goofy experiment.

Pola06I was pleasantly surprised with my first exposure.  I wasn’t sure I’d get an image at all, but if I did, I thought the shadow areas might block up.  The color is a bit cool, but generally I like the image. The “focus” was set to about 5′, and I like how the background gently drops out of focus.

Pola07Then, exposure number 2 is a bit of a disaster.  It’s too dark and there’s motion blur.  I still like the image though, because it has that Polaroidness that you would never get from a camera phone nowadays.  Also keep in mind that you’re still going to have to wait 75 seconds for your instant gratification with these little gems.








The little dial to the right of the lens was either telling me that “if it’s light out and you want your picture darker, turn counter clockwise” OR “if it’s dark out and you want your picture lighter, turn counter clockwise.”

I took a stab in the dark (pun intended) tried to think like a consumer instead of a photographer, and tried the second version.

Pola10It worked!  The second photo was much lighter…maybe a bit too light. This is the shot I gave to the nice veggie vendor.  I bought some okra (mmm, slimey) from him.

Pola11This guy had the most delicious corn I ever tasted.  You could eat it raw off the cob and it was still tender and sweet.  The motion of his arm reaching for an ear gives you an idea of the shutter speed I was working with this whole time.  It sounded like about 1/15th, if not slower.

In case you’re wondering, on the dinner menu tonight, along with the okra and corn will be crab legs and baked cucumber from our own garden. Ain’t summer just the best?

So that’s it for this post.  There’s an art show next weekend.  Maybe I can get my friend who gave me this Polaroid to finish out the pack, I’ll load my older Polaroid, which I have personally owned since before I was born (how’d I do that?) with b/w, and we’ll hit the streets again.

Stop back in, won’t you?


Jul 10 2014

Roof Roof

Oh, hello again.
You want to see what I did with the rest of those rolls of film?
First, let me introduce…
Craptastic IICraptasticmatic II.  Admittedly, it is quite a bit less crappy (therefore less charming) than the original, but it does have potential.  It is fully faux metal 100% plastic, has “aperture” settings, and a hot shoe, but it does not try to disguise itself as an SLR with a fake mirror prism hump. And it did not fall apart in my hands when I tried to rewind the film.

Craptastic II III

It does, however, have a tripod mount, and it’s made not just vaguely in China, but rather specifically in Macau!

craptastic II II

I found that the optics, while small, platic and crappy, did provide a nice blurry quality to many of the images, they just weren’t as special-kind-of-crappy as the original.  It did seem to consistently underexpose, thus the graininess of the images.  I was using 100 ASA, but that should have been no problem in broad daylight.  Of course, who knows how old this film was.  People have literally started giving me rolls they find in thrift shops, in their homes, laying on the street… Next roll I’ll try will have to be 400.
So where did I go?

I went up on my own roof!  My husband was doing some work on the chimney, or as some folks around here call it, chimbly.  Notice the loss of focus around the edges, especially in the backlit areas?  That is pretty great, but I remember the original being better at being bad.


I don’t have a lot to tell you about this one.  I was just trying to be artsy-fartsy.

As for the Action Quad Cam, I can’t say there was a whole lot of great action on my roof.

roof3My lovely and talented husband was applying some caulk to his newly cemented chimney cap (he da bes!)

roof4And then I fell down the ladder*

So thanks for stopping by and spending some time with us up on our roof.  I’m sorry I couldn’t offer you a cool beverage.  Stop by again, and I’ll show you some more ridiculous photos of stuff.  Hint – I have an itch in my Polaroid.

And in case you are wondering, don’t wonder too far, I threw the original craptasticmatic and all of its broken plastic cratptastic pieces into the garbage where it can live for eternity in a landfill.

*I did not actually fall down the ladder, this was a trick of the camera as I am a perfeshunal.


Jul 6 2014

Up On The Roof

Right smack dab in the middle of town
I found a paradise that’s trouble-proof (Up on the roof)

roofmotion1I’m sorry for keeping you waiting.
Unlike the trouble free paradise of the roof, I ran into a small glitch at the photolab.
Remember back in the days of yore, we took pictures on film in our cameras instead of with our phones?  We would take, or mail, our film to this place called a lab.  Sometimes the lab equipment would break down, or they’d lose or destroy your film.  Remember that?

Well, on the day that I found the time to take my film to the one hour lab, their equipment was down, so that added a few days to obtain the results of my rooftop excursion.
So without further ado, here we go!
filmandcameraMy coworker was using the action quad cam, as introduced waaaay back on roll #5, (when I still had the bag o’ film) with a roll of C41 process black and white.  So he was looking for action shots, which were a little hard to find up ON the roof.  But he did find some moving traffic below.


I grabbed the new craptactic beauty I bought to replace my original, broken Craptasticmatic.  I’ll tell you more about the actual camera in a future post, but as for the photos, I was mesmerized by the beautiful geometric patterns ON the roof.

roofcrap1I love the look of the industrial looking equipment up there.  I have no idea what this thing is, but there was no way I was going to touch it.  It kind of looks like something that could bring life to Frankenstein’s Monster. Or maybe it’s some sort of  power coil for a shrink ray, or communication devise for extraterrestrial life?

roofcrap2I did touch this banister. How cool is this?  I would totally shrink a couple of these down and make them into a pair of earrings, if I knew how to use the shrink ray coils.

Needless to say, we both had a blast up on the roof. Maybe we can visit again someday when we have more time to explore and take fun, goofy photos.



Thanks again to my coworker and guest photographer for opening the hatch on this rooftop caper.  We did not use up the entire rolls of film on the roof, so stop back shortly to see how I blew through the rest of the rolls.


OTHER than taking adorable photos of my friend’s kitty.

Jun 26 2014

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

Come a long way

On this day, 5 years ago, I was laid off from my job as a full-time newspaper photographer.

Since then I have held employment in some crappy places and have done some things just for the experience and for a paycheck that I hope never to have to do again (can you say lunch lady?). I have learned a lot about my limits, what I am capable of doing and what I am capable of tolerating.

One year ago, I started a job where I feel like my contributions are meaningful and really help to make our community a better place.

One week ago, my office moved to the city where the newspaper is located, into a building within a block of my old job.

In a way I feel like I have come full circle.  Although I still earn a fraction of what my old salary was, I am a better person. I have struggled and conquered a lot.  I have learned what is important to me and I have become a much happier and well rounded person.  I am better for all of it.

So when my coworker told me that the hatch to the roof, which is normally padlocked, would be opened for repair workers TODAY, and suggested that we go up there, I said “Hell yes!”

It’s almost like we were on a mission from God to up there.

It was like a metaphor of the great new things I have yet to learn and discover.

So when we breached the upper confines of the building it’s not like we entered the magic utopia I had envisioned, it was just a flat rubber roof, but it was still pretty cool up there.  Literally.  It was breezy and pretty and we felt like we were on the Top of the Town
climbDon’t worry, we didn’t go up without cameras. Stop back in a bit, after I’ve had a chance to get the FILM processed, and you can share in our discoveries!  We’ll also get to learn the capabilities of Craptasticmatic II, son of the bitch.