Andy Shepherd’s Camera

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The Shaw-Harrison company manufactured these simple, bakelite cameras from 1959 to 1972 in a variety of colors – along with an identical model called the Valiant 620. I picked this one up on eBay for a few bucks because it was advertised as still containing a roll of film. When it arrived, I discovered that the film was only on exposure number 6. With 620 film, there are normally 8 exposures – but this is a rare 620 camera that takes square pictures, so still half the roll was left!

When the camera arrived, I saw that the previous owner had etched his name into the side of the camera:

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Was this the inspiration for the film “Toy Story”?

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I thought it would be fun to finish Andy’s film roll, and then develop the whole thing.  Who knows what would be on this film – maybe from 50, 60 years ago!

Below are the photos I snapped.  It seems the film had become damaged somehow – maybe the camera was opened at some point?

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Sadly, it seems that too much time had passed between Andy Shepherd’s last use of the camera, and my first. This is all I could glean from the photos he had taken, prior to moving on to other cameras. Or interests altogether.

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Sorry, Andy. I tried my best.

You can get all the different colors of this camera on eBay for less than $20 each. Or, if you are patient, maybe even less than $10 each. Or you can buy them on Etsy for ridiculous prices – from nearly $50 to as much as $125.  If only Andy hadn’t etched his name into the side of this one….

If you really like the look of this camera (without Andy’s name), you can get a poster of half a Sabre for your home.  The poster costs $67.  How much for a picture of the whole camera?

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Varanasi: In and Around Town

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There is an endless number of interesting faces, places and scenes to photograph in Varanasi. Last week I shared some photos of the ghats along the river – where most of the tourists hang out; but in this city of 3 million and its environs you can go just about anywhere in the city and find things abuzz with all sorts of activity. In this post we go “inland” – into the streets and alleyways of Varanasi, to the Ram Nagar fort, and to the nearby town of Sarnath, the site of Buddhism’s earliest days.

Dueling bike rickshaws

We happened to be in town during an interesting confluence of religious holidays. The Hindu “Durga Puja” festival, which was winding up on the 3/4/5 of October, culminates in processions to carry large Durga idols for immersion in the Ganges. This was to be closely followed by “Bakrid” (Eid ul Adha), the Feast of Sacrifice, on October 6. In preparation for this holiday, Muslim celebrants were bringing animals from throughout the city for the annual ritual sacrifice. Busy times in Varanasi!

Durga Procession

Durga Procession

Above, this Durga procession could be heard from half a mile away as they came down the street with a group of drummers.  Just in front of me, they paused to light a firecracker – and the kids started jumping in the air when they spotted me taking pictures. We followed them down to the beach (photo below), where they performed the traditional immersion. I’m not going to pretend to be any kind of expert on the overall festival – you can read more about it here – but from what I observed, it involves setting up “pandals” (temporary, tentlike temples where the Durga idols are installed), we saw straw effigies in wooden frames and copious amounts of flowers being offered to the river (assume this was related), and then in the end these idols follow the other offerings into the Ganges.  It seems like a lot for the river to absorb, but just downstream, we saw enterprising men in boats collecting the floating wood frames and taking them apart, likely to be repurposed for some other use.

Durga Procession

The group of boys below was going in the opposite direction, and they seemed to be having a great time piled into the back of the cart.  When they spotted me taking pictures, two of them came running over and insisted I take their portrait!

Boys

Boys

One of the places we went that day (we were out and about for 9 hours!) was the nearby Ramnagar fort. The part tourists are allowed to see was not all that spectacular – it houses a museum with extremely dusty old cars and lots of weapons, and there is a small temple in the back, through a passageway filled with BATS!

Ram Nagar

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The Ramnagar Fort is the residence of the Kashi Naresh, the cultural patron of Varanasi and a member of the royal family of a Brahmin state which currently no longer exists.  I didn’t know this when we visited the fort, though – but now I know why the guards there didn’t allow us to wander around the grounds.

Ram Nagar

Above:  Ramnagar Fort – can you spot the monkey?

Finally, we also learned that Varanasi is also an important city for Buddhism. When, at the age of 35, Siddhartha Gautama – i.e. the “Supreme Buddha” of our age, reached enlightenment, he went to a forest near Varanasi to preach his first sermon, and met his first disciples. This forest is the Deer Park of Sarnath, about 13 km from Varanasi.  The Chaukhandi Stupa, which is believed to mark the spot where he met his first companions/disciples, is shown below.  It’s about 1500 years old.

Chaukhandi Stupa

And no description of our day exploring Varanasi and its surroundings would be complete without mentioning Buli, our rickshaw driver. With a pink scarf around his head, he offered to drive us all around the area, and asked a very fair price for doing so. Before we got started, he pulled over to load up with betel nut, and then we were on our way.  Every now and then he’d spontaneously start singing “la-la-la” and chuckle, “My music.”  He suggested places to go and told us about admission prices and how to avoid the odd scam here and there.  The photo below suggests he was unfriendly, but in fact he was extremely jovial and friendly, but when he was driving (betel nut aside), he was completely focused on his work.  If you go to Varanasi and want to hire him for the day, give him a call at 9335029645.

Rickshaw Driver

This is the third in a series of posts about our trip to Varanasi.  See previous post “Varanasi by Night” or “Death on the Ganges.”  You can also browse other Varanasi photos in my Varanasi album on Flickr. Like the one below.

Things you see in India

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Found Film: Introducing the Alberts

Raymond Albert was born on March 20, 1926 to Willa and Annie (Chenard) Albert, who were born around 1880.  According to the 1940 census, at age 14, he and his family lived at 318 Waldo Street, in Rumford, Maine (photo from Google Earth in 2014).

318 Waldo

He had two older sisters: Theresa (Legere), who had already moved out by this time, as she was 10 years older than Raymond; and Lillian, who was 16.  He also had a younger brother named David, age 8.

Raymond eventually married Cecile Fisher on July 9, 1945.  They bought a house not too far away from his childhood home, at 241 Knox Street, where they raised their daughter, Louise, who was born soon after they married (the white house to the right foreground is 241 as it currently appears)

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One of Raymond’s hobbies, besides his love of automobiles and fishing, was photography.  This post is the first in a series of “found film” post that chronicle the photos he took over a 6 -8 year period, from about 1948 until the mid- to late 1950s, and what we know about him based on these photos and a bit of googling here and there.  The photographs came to me as a box of already-developed negatives, dusty from having been packed away for the last 60+ years.

Below is the person I believe to be Raymond.  Because he appears in so many of the photos, it may have been his wife who was the photographer; but it is Raymond’s name that appears on one of the film rolls.

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 1

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 1

This is Louise, in what appears to be a 1948 Ford Mercury. And below, I’m guessing this is Raymond, Louise and Raymond’s parents, and a picture where Raymond swaps places with Cecile. Any idea what dam this might be?

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 1

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 1

In July 1949, it appears that Raymond’s sister Lillian may have gotten married.

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Here’s how we know the date:

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The reception may have been held at a local community center where bingo could also be played:

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

However, it seems the wedding itself was held at St. John’s (Catholic) Church.

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

This church was literally just a couple of blocks down the street from the Albert home on Knox Street.  In fact, if you scroll back up to the top of the page, you can see the steeple in the distance.  The church catered primarily to French-speaking (Acadian) people living in the area.

It seems the Alberts also had relatives in the country – perhaps Raymond’s grandmother?

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

Sheep! Cows!

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

Kittens!

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

Lobster feast!

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

The women of the family pose on a trip – perhaps to Lameque, New Brunswick? And what are those odd ruins?

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

Raymond Albert's Photos - Roll 2

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Death along the Ganges

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As Americans – like most “Westerners” – we are for the most part, relatively isolated from death.  Not that we don’t have people close to us dying – we just don’t deal with the specifics.  I reflected on this just a few weeks ago, when we lost our longtime family dog in India, and suddenly had to deal with specifics.  In the US and in Europe, when you have a pet put to sleep at the vet, you just leave the animal and it comes back to you as a container of ashes (if that’s what you want) – or you can take it home and bury it, if it’s a small animal.  It’s similar with humans – most of the specifics are dealt with by specialists you hire to do this for you.  Most people have a relatively sterile funeral service, where you look at someone who has been fixed up and filled with chemicals to avoid anyone having to deal with any awkward smells or sights or other unpleasantness, or maybe you look at a closed box that gets lowered in the ground and covered up after you leave, or you end up with an urn.

In India, death is a much more intimate occasion.

Visiting Varanasi recently, one of Hinduism’s holiest cities, we reflected on the separation between the living and all of the business of death in our own culture.  The ghats of Varanasi – nearly 100 of them – are allocated for different purposes – bathing, washing clothes, and other things – and two of them are dedicated exclusively to cremation.  On the banks of Mother Ganga, the funeral pyres burn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Manikarnika Ghat

The process is simple and unadorned; somber, yet not overtly one of sadness. Because to die in Varanasi, be ritually purified in the holy waters of the Ganges, and then return to the elements, is a fortuitous occasion – one which eases the release from moksha, the cycle of rebirth.  Relatives (usually only male) of the deceased family member carry the body, wrapped in cloth, to the site on a bamboo stretcher.  Led by the nearest male relative, identifiable by his shorn head and white garb, the body is dipped into the waters of the Ganges and then placed on the steps to dry.  With the assistance of funeral workers – frequently from the Dom caste, fees are exchanged for an amount and mixture of wood (the more sandalwood or other aromatics, the better) from one of the endless piles stacked around the site, and the pyre is prepared.  The closest male lights the fire from the nearby temple  – whose flame is said to have been burning continuously for the last 3,000 years – and lights the pile, prepared with ghee to catch fire more quickly.

Manikarnika Ghat

Friends, family members, workers and tourists quietly watch the process as dogs, cows and goats wander undisturbed throughout the area.  The heat from multiple pyres burning simultaneously can be stifling as smoke and ash billow out over the river where the ash leaves a film that moves slowly downstream.  Boats on the river in front of the ghat are loaded to the top with wood.  Every now and then a new group appears with another body.  There are no appointments, yet the process appears to flow smoothly.  It takes about three hours.

Manikarnika Ghat

Manikarnika Ghat

Not everyone may be cremated.  Children under the age of five, sadhus (holy men), people who have died of snakebite, and pregnant women need no further purification.  Instead, a stone is attached to the shrouded body and a boatman is paid to carry them out onto the river where they are consigned to the river.  Yet the river flows, things move around, and the stone may come detached, allowing the body to rise to the surface.  Death is not for the squeamish.  But the cycle of life and death continues in Varanasi, as it has for thousands of years.  And the nearby electric crematorium languishes unused and in disrepair.

Manikarnika Ghat

For an excellent photo essay on the subject, refer to this National Geographic article.

For more of my photos of Varanasi, refer to this Flickr album.  Other posts about Varanasi can be found here: Death on the Ganges; Varanasi by Night

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Varanasi by Night

We finally had the opportunity to visit Varanasi, India – also known as Benares or Kashi – one of the seven holy cities of Hinduism and Jainism, and also important in the development of Buddhism.  Varanasi, a city of 3 million on the western bank of the Ganges River, is said to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

There are plenty of nice hotels in Varanasi, but we chose a “heritage hotel” on the Ganges in order to be at the center of activity and to better experience the atmosphere of the city.  The view is worth it:

River View

The hotel, located on one of the central ghats (there are nearly 100) is only reachable by boat. We were dropped off by taxi at the northernmost ghat, were picked up by the hotel’s boat, and enjoyed a late-afternoon ride down the Ganges. That night, we were invited to take a boat ride upriver to the city’s most spectacular Ghat, the Dashashwamedh Ghat, where Hindu priests perform a nightly dedication to Lord Shiva, River Ganga (the Ganges), Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire), and the whole universe.

On the way there, we enjoyed a spectacular (just post-)sunset ride.  See some of the photos:

Dusk in Varanasi

Dusk in Varanasi

We were instructed to keep our hands inside the boat to avoid getting them crushed, so thick were the boats on the river. Boys in rowboats were selling onlookers small floating candles to send downstream, while hawkers stepped from boat to boat selling bottles of cold water. We were pretty far out and there are better videos than ours, but this was our experience (very much shortened:

Still images of the ceremony can be found at this link.

Afterward, a meal on the rooftop restaurant at the hotel.  And our waiter explained that this evening was the last in a multi-day Hindu festival (there are so many we lose track – and they vary between cities and regions!), and he encouraged us to get out and have a look.  So we did.  We wandered around the alleys behind the hotel:

Alley

and eventually managed to find our way to the main road, which was packed with people heading in all directions.

Lights

In fact, I recorded a short video clip to try and convey our impressions. The sound is actually from the streets, not music I added afterward.

Finally after a long day we decided we’d had enough excitement for one day, so we headed back. On our way, we saw these guys just above street level:

Red Macaques

For more photos of our trip to Varanasi, check out this album on Flickr.  Other posts about Varanasi can be found here: Death on the Ganges; In and Around Town 

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Project Underwood: Typewriter Restoration

One evening about a year ago, my (younger) daughter and I were checking out typewriters on eBay.  We share an interest in “retro” machines (this is how my camera craze started, and her last Christmas present was a record player), and inexplicably, we both wanted – needed – a typewriter.  So we both picked one out and waited.  Got great deals.  Hers worked.  Mine didn’t.  Doesn’t.  Here’s what it looked like close-up after having removed some parts.

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So I got it in my head somehow I was going to restore this thing.  Take it apart, clean it piece by piece, and put it together, a smoothly oiled and operating machine.  I carefully researched it and determined that to this day, I’m still not sure what it is.  According to its serial number (4808494-11), it should be a #6 made in 1938.  But then there is this website with pictures that lists it as a “late 1940s” model.  (For $1,295!!  Mine cost like 30 bucks plus shipping).

So I started to take the thing apart.  The carriage was all crooked and wouldn’t slide properly, the shift function didn’t work, the ribbon wouldn’t lift up when a key was struck, basically the thing didn’t work at all.  I removed about 15-20 major components and took pictures along the way to help remember the sequence.  Then I was faced with the prospect of disassembling all of the small pieces and levers inside.  I consulted somebody on Instructables.com about next steps, and he cautioned against it – saying the typical typewriter like this consists of 2-3,000 individual pieces!  So I took his advice.

I discovered that the metal frame of the typewriter had a crack in it.  I bought some industrial strength epoxy and glued the thing back together.  As for the rest of the problems, the typewriters of this era are amazing pieces of machinery.  Designing them must have been an endless trial-and-error exercise, but the end product is a triumph in human ingenuity!  Anything that’s wrong with it, you can basically look at it and fiddle around with the different levers and springs and connections, and figure out how it’s supposed to work.  So piece by piece I was able to restore most of its basic functions.

Next I used a vacuum, toothbrushes, rags and q-tips to clean it as thoroughly as possible.  Doing that helped it work even better.  As I cleaned it, I put it back together, somehow, using the pictures I had taken.  The end result is a typewriter that almost works, and simultaneously adds like 100 pounds to our weight allowance.  I could not figure out how the little bell rings.  And there just isn’t quite enough clearance for the carriage to go back and forth smoothly.  And a piece of trim is missing, as well as the carriage knob on the right side.  But it looks pretty nice:

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So now I have a partly working typewriter.

I’ve just bid on another exemplar of the same model on eBay….I just know, if I have two, I can make one working copy….

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Found Film Friday: Only Briefly Misplaced

Every week I post a roll of “found” film that has been forgotten in someone’s attic or inside a camera, often for half a century.  You never know what you’re going to end up with though.  With the old spools, it’s pretty clear that the pictures will be pretty old, and often yield a few surprises from yesteryear.  Half the time, I don’t get any pictures at all – and this gets worse the older the film.

With 35mm film, the success rate is much higher, and often the photos are 30-40 years old.  But you never really know for sure.

This week’s roll came from an admittedly pretty shiny roll of Kodak 35mm film.  But I was still hopeful something cool would come out of it.  I held up the negatives to the light, and saw a bunch of pictures kind of like this:

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I thought, “boring” and wasn’t going to even bother scanning them, until I realized it was a whole bunch of shots of the same building from the same spot – a sort of “time lapse” of some building under construction. So I decided to scan them after all, and thought it would be fun to do something different, and string them all together in a time-lapse sort of video. So here is what I ended up with:

Hmmm…wouldn’t it be interesting to try and figure out what building this is?  Gee, I wonder….  As it turns out, on the very last frame, a clue appears.  Note the blue sign above the back end of the white pickup truck on the right.  Yup, it’s a Courtyard Marriott?

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Where, you ask?  Well, thanks to the clue offered by the “Maine Seafood” truck that appears partway through, it turns out that this is the Waterfront Courtyard Marriott in Portland, Maine.  And now I can figure out when it was built, so I can determine just how long this “found film” has been lost.

So it turns out….six months.  They completed this thing like in May 2014.  Which is why this was really just “misplaced film.”

But I still wonder, why did someone in 2014 go through the trouble of taking pictures of this thing from the same spot over and over, using a film camera, and then simply discard the roll.  Was it to document construction for insurance purposes?  In case the thing burned down or something?  I’d like to know.

And that’s this week’s “found film” roll.  Blast from the past!

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It’s 1914 and Everyone’s a Photo Critic

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One hundred years ago this month, much of the world was at war.  But in the United States – which would eventually mobilize 4 million military personnel – public opinion in 1914 was still firmly on the side of neutrality.  This was very evident thumbing through this 100-year-old issue of “The Camera” magazine, published in Philadelphia.  Filled with photographs by Hamburg-based German photographer Rudolf Dührkoop, the only mention of the war is an editorial that claims the war was being used as an excuse to raise the price of photographic materials and chemicals.

Within a few years, images of war – many of them taken by American soldiers – would become much more common.  But in 1914, American photographers were more focused on portraits (Ansco was sponsoring a “50 loveliest women” photo contest – see the advertisement below) and on bright, sunny landscapes.  This was very evident from the content of one of “The Camera” magazine’s regular features, “From our Print Criticism Department.” In this feature, readers were encouraged to send in copies of their (photographic) work, to be criticized by the magazine’s editors.  It’s fascinating, not only because it gives an insight into the kinds of subjects photographers 100 years ago were interested in photographing (nothing at all to do with the ongoing war!), but also for the nature of the criticism that was offered.

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In 1914, photography was still young, and limited to people who could afford the materials, could understand basic chemistry, and had the free time to devote to this new art form.   Rather than snap hundreds of photos and sift out a handful, photographers would have to painstakingly set up a scene, snap a few shots, and wait until hours later (at best) to see if they had succeeded.  Despite the differences in equipment, much of what defined a “good” photograph was the same then as it is now.  So I thought for today’s blog post, I’d share a bunch of these verbatim (the copyrights are all expired).  And like the American photographers of 1914, we’ll just forget all about the war that was raging throughout much of the rest of the world.

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Verdi Burton – “Lifting Fog.”  A very unusual subject and one of much interest.  The effect you have caught is possessed of sentiment and feeling, and shows your appreciation of the poetry of Nature.  It is a theme for a painter, and we realize that the natural view must have been particularly beautiful.  You deserve much commendation for getting a real impression direct from Nature and not in the way too many do by faking negative and print.  Impressionism in photography is as legitimate as it is in painting, but the true artist gives us Nature, not a gutta percha world reflected in a brass doorknob.  Your subject is a true transcript from nature, and therefore delightful to artistic perception.

(Nowadays we might see similar criticism of photographers who overdo Lightroom or Photoshop adjustments.  And “gutta percha”?  This was a type of Malaysian latex used to coat cables.  No idea what this had to do with photographs, especially when reflected in a brass doorknob…)

critique3

H.B. Long – “Allegheny Bridge.” A very good picture of the bridge, but we should prefer a view from it rather than of the structure itself, which can be of interest only to a civil engineer. The scenery around fairly pleads for its taking. The view must be beautiful. Let us have the scenery without the bridge. The technical quality of your work is most excellent, and the photograph is especially of value for local association.

(I suspect that a contemporary critic would have been more impressed, and called attention to the lines leading the eye to the upper right third…rather than suggesting maybe the photographer ought to have taken a picture of something completely different)

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F. E. Irving. – “A Hillside View.”  As a whole your picture is not a good piece of composition, but it has, like most of us, some redeeming qualities.  In the first place, it is [not?] a very good photograph, and then, on examination, we discover that, like the puzzle pictures, it has a picture concealed and indeed a pleasing picture.  There is a good deal of artistic merit on the right side of the photograph.  We would suggest cutting off all of the view by a vertical line to the left of the two slender trees, so as to just enclose them in the scene.  You will thus have a picture 2 x 3 1/2 inches which you could enlarge and thereby secure a really fine piece of composition.

(“Your picture pretty much sucks, but there is a tiny piece in the corner that isn’t too bad – if you could please crop out 80% of it you should be fine.”  Seriously, I would question this critique, as the composition they suggest seems like the most bland part of the picture)

critique6

F. H. Legleitner – “An Interesting Letter.” Your negative is woefully undertimed, consequently the print is hard and lacking in detail. The pose is not natural, but constrained and the accessories very annoying to the eye, especially the pennant with the lettering in the half-introduced frame. Your model, judging even from your photograph with its imperfections, seems to us an excellent subject for portraiture, and under good conditions of illumination any good photographer would get charming results. In a word, you do not do justice to your good subject. Study proper illumination and do not be afraid to give 5 seconds exposure instead of a fraction, and do not illuminate with such strong light as you have done. Soften the light by means of tissue screens and do not crowd so much in your photograph when you are taking a portrait.

(Honestly, I didn’t think the picture was that bad.  The pennant was odd, I’ll admit)

 

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Gustav Nelson – “Camp Life.”  There are too many unpleasant vertical and horizontal lines in your photograph, which you might have diminished in number or have gotten rid of entirely by a little exercise of taste, especially as your topic does not demand their introduction.  You might have made quite a picture of the group of men and the boats if you had concentrated your attention upon them.

(I would have left out the part about the lines and asked, “this is a picture of….?”  Oh, and your horizon is crooked.)

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J. B. Gale – “Lilies.”  Your flower study is excellent and you have reproduced the texture of the lilies well.  The only fault is in the monotonous black background which detracts from the merits of the picture.  It is entirely too funereal and so unpleasantly suggests a use for which flowers of that variety are employed.  A graduated gray would have set the bunch off better and give it the atmosphere which, like all living things, it needs.

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H. M. Branin – “Among the Quaking Aspen.”  Your tree study is a charming piece of composition and also a most excellent photograph.  The rendering of the different textures – trees, rocks, foliage and water is well and adequately reproduced.  We can discover no fault whatever with your picture and shall congratulate you for your artistic feeling.  With the colors of Nature your view must have been delightful.

(I like how they basically say, “the color we imagine was there but can’t yet photograph makes this an awesome photo.”)

critique10

Frank Zwinak – “Spring Sunshine.”  The composition has got some good features, but is rather too monotonous in the lighting.  It does not convey any spring sunshine or in fact sunshine at all.  Everything is in one uniform tone.

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Flower Collage

Here’s a fun photo project…and an idea I stole from my wife (I explained to her that I was improving on her idea – it didn’t go over well).  Go find a green space and see how many flowers you can discover.  Or bugs.  Or whatever.  And then make a photo collage out of them.

I went in our back yard here in Chennai, India – which is filled with both green things and bugs – and I didn’t realize how many different flowers there would be.  I was hoping for 16 if I really worked at it.  I ended up with 21, but then realized I would need 25 to make a perfect square.  So I went back out and actually found 5 more within about 10 minutes – often tiny overlooked ones.  Which was good, because one of the previous 21 had been a duplicate.

I took all the pictures with a wide-open aperture, in RAW format.  f/1.8 ended up making parts of the flowers blurry, so I switched it to f/2.2, which was much better.  Then I did a bit of fixing and cropping in lightroom, and then dragged them all into photoshop.  I cropped each photo square, changed the canvas size to 10 by 10 inches, and then changed each image size to 2 inches square, and copied them in as individual layers.  You can also do it in photoshop, and save the whole thing as a jpeg.

Flower Collage sunglow

And then, if you’re bored, you can play around with different effects for fun. Like this “grunge” effect.

Flower Collage grunge

Or this “brocade” texture.

Flower Collage texture 1

Anyway, it was a fun way to spend a few hours. My wife wasn’t too upset that I “stole” her idea. She ended up finding 27 kinds of flowers to my 25….

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Found Film Friday: Cowboys and RVs

It’s been a slow week for photography and blogging.  Last weekend we went to photograph and film the annual Ganesha Chathurti immersion of Ganesh idols in the sea.  I got some great video, but unfortunately can’t locate the video card I recorded it on.  So the only new post for this week is the weekly “found film” post.

This weeks’ film is a roll of size 620 Kodak Verichrome Pan film, which usually turns out pretty good pictures, even when it’s old.  I don’t believe this week’s roll is particularly old, as this appears to be a mid-1980s minivan:

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I don’t imagine there were many people running around in the mid-1980s taking pictures with black-and-white medium format film (certainly more than there are nowadays, but still not many). This person wasn’t particularly skilled at the use of their camera. We have a few photos taken out of the car window while moving, mostly of a pretty barren landscape. They appear to have been driving around the American West.

Cowboys

Cabin

And finally we have a whole string of pictures that run together, because the user failed to advance the film completely. But it makes for an interesting negative, I guess:

RV

I’m working on another collection of negatives I’ve come across – this time from Maine. It’s about 20 rolls of film taken over the span of a few years, and I’m trying to get them in some sort of reasonable sequence that makes sense. Look for them in the coming weeks, but here is a teaser. The photos are from the late 1940s and early 1950s, but she’s holding a vest pocket kodak from the 1920s (or older).

img271

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Found Film Friday: Country Outing

DSC02537

This week’s roll of “found film” came to me from near Binghamton, New York, where the Ansco company was located from the mid-1800s to around 1980. The spool was covered in rust, and the backing paper was stuck to the film so badly that I was unable to remove large strips of paper. So I loaded it on the spool and let it soak in water for a bit, then was able to remove most of the bits of paper and fibers that were stuck to it so I could develop it.

DSC02539

The only real clue to the age of this film – other than its size (116) – was the expiration date printed right on the box – June 1958!  So we can guess these photos were shot in the mid-1950s.  116 size film is 70mm wide, and a roll like this would provide eight 2½×4¼ exposures.  These are tricky to scan because of their size, but with a bit of patience and some Photoshop enhancement to bring out some of the amazing detail on these large negatives, I think these 60-year-old photos, never seen by the photographer, turned out pretty well!  Most of the white areas are from fibers that I was unable to remove.

Found Film: Ansco 116 Roll 1958

Found Film: Ansco 116 Roll 1958

Found Film: Ansco 116 Roll 1958

Found Film: Ansco 116 Roll 1958

Found Film: Ansco 116 Roll 1958

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A Brief History of Photography…as of 1912.

img485I have a few old camera magazines – about a century old.  It’s fun to flip through them every now and then and consider how much has changed…and in some cases, how little has changed…in the field of photography.

The article below, from the December 1912 issue of “The Camera” magazine (cover above), recounts the history of photography from that time frame.  Nowadays with our digital, throw-away cameras worth hundreds of dollars (or more) that do all kinds of crazy things we don’t even know about, in order to produce perfect images that can then be altered and made to “look old” again, I think few people know how photography actually came to be.

And in spite of all the things which have changed, it’s still all about capturing light through a lens and a very small opening to produce tiny chemical reactions on a flat surface.  Oh, and the screw used to attach a camera to a tripod is still exactly the same size.

img480 img481 img482 img483 img484

 

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Dispatch From Sierra Leone: Return Home

So, I’ve been back a week, but a lot has been going on.  I wanted to go back and share some final impressions of what was a fascinating, extremely challenging month in this small West African country I never imagined I’d go and visit (as an aside: under different circumstances, i.e. flights readily available and freedom to travel “upcountry”, I’d definitely go again, as a tourist!)

Here’s a final shot of the western side of the Freetown peninsula, seen from the Country Lodge Hotel:

Sunset

And this is what happens when you zoom in. There’s always all these ships sitting out there in the water. I never figured out what kind of ships they were or what they’re doing – they really don’t appear to move much.

Ships at Sunset
I also managed to collect some aerial video from roughly the same vantage point, and turned that into a short video clip.  Yes, those are vultures being filmed from above, at around the 1 minute mark!

Finally, the trip home, due to all the airlines that have (in my view, irresponsibly) suspended service to Sierra Leone, was a grueling, 40+ hour ordeal that took me through Casablanca, Zurich and Dubai, back to India (my suitcase took the same trip, but a few days later). I took advantage of one of these long layovers and ventured out into Dubai. Sharing the handful of photos I took there, if you’re interested. Click on the right side of the screen to see all 7 or so photos.

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Found Film Friday: Portraits with Grandma

This week’s found film was inside a camera – a Kodak Brownie Target Six-20, as seen below.

Kodak Brownie Target Six-20

This camera was manufactured between 1946 and 1952 and sold for three and a half bucks. It gets its name from the film it used – 620 film, a variant of 120 film, basically just on a thinner spool. 120 film is still available today and can be easily spooled onto a 620 spool. In other words, this camera can still be used to take pictures.

I’m guessing the photos on this roll were taken well after the original manufacture date. Mainly I’m guessing that from the hairstyle of the girl in these photos, which remind me of junior high in the late 1970s. Have a look at the old yearbooks!

Found Film:  Kodak Brownie Target Six-20

Found Film:  Kodak Brownie Target Six-20

Found Film:  Kodak Brownie Target Six-20

Found Film:  Kodak Brownie Target Six-20

I’m assuming this is a granddaughter and two different grandmothers?  Not sure what is on the front of the girl’s dress – it doesn’t look symmetrical.  And I’m guessing the film was only partly used, which is why the bottom half of the last picture was ruined.

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Found Film Friday: Trip to Grandpa’s!

This is the final installment in a series of film rolls recovered from Colorado, and originally shot in the 1960s.  We have met the “Smiths” and seen them at Christmas, Easter, birthdays and a trip to Florida and camping with the Airstream.  In this final post from that set of film, the kids go to spend some time with Grandpa.

The kids like visiting Grandpa, because he takes them to the lake!

Found Film: Kodacolor-X Visit to Grandpa's

Found Film: Kodacolor-X Visit to Grandpa's

We all get to enjoy a big family meal together!

Found Film: Kodacolor-X Visit to Grandpa's

But best of all, going to Grandpa’s is cool because he lets us ride the lawnmower! Did people have riding mowers in the 1960s??

Found Film: Kodacolor-X Visit to Grandpa's

This is my fave picture in the entire set. It’s the only time we can spot Junior without his stuffy bowtie:

Found Film: Kodacolor-X Visit to Grandpa's

And here, Junior even gets to drive!

Found Film: Kodacolor-X Visit to Grandpa's

Found Film: Kodacolor-X Visit to Grandpa's

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Dispatch from Sierra Leone: River Number Two Beach – Part 2

Just sharing a couple of short videos we did at “River Number Two” Beach south of Freetown, Sierra Leone.  Overcast day at the beach, what better activity than to fly a quadcopter with GoPro around the beach?  We took a trip up the river itself, and later hung out on the beach, where some of the locals got a chance to steer the ‘copter around a bit.

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Dispatch from Sierra Leone: Day at the Beach

This weekend the weather was supposed to be – well, “not as bad.”  So we planned a trip to the beach – a great opportunity to unwind a bit after a harrowing few weeks at work.  A co-worker and I got up before dark and got dropped at River Number Two Beach, which is “google famous” as the site where a 1970s “taste of paradise” commercial was filmed for the Bounty candy bar.  [sidebar: if you watch the commercial, there’s almost nothing of the beach itself, and you wonder why they went to the expense of coming all the way to West Africa to film it). It’s the same place I went last week for an hour or so, but this time I actually have my own photos to share.

River No. 2 Beach

The plan today was to take a canoe trip up the river to a waterfall, then return, when we would be joined by a bunch of other colleagues from work and spend the day there. We sat in a canoe with a good three inches of water in the bottom, and were taken up by Ibrahim, who rowed the canoe upstream through a series of rainshowers. The resort had given us a large beach umbrella to keep our cameras and gear dry, but there unfortunately wasn’t any way to keep all 3 of us dry.  So our gear stayed dry, but Ibrahim did not (though he didn’t seem to mind).

Ibrahim

On the way, we knew there was a chance to see crocodiles or maybe a type of monkey which “catches” crabs that grab on to its tail. But the weather wasn’t on our side – we saw a quick shadow of a monkey in the mangroves, but other than that, it was just birds.  Such as a pair of pied kingfishers, and a pair of grey herons.

Pied Kingfisher

Heron

After a rainy half hour, we made it to the waterfall. Up on the top of the falls stood a red 55-gallon drum. We wondered why it was there and commented jokingly that it ruined the falls, and decided to hike up to it. Turns out it was just a drum full of water that had somehow floated downstream and ended up there. I told Ibrahim we should remove it, and he said, “It is useful for my village, I will bring it back.” And he dragged it all the way back down the falls, and into the canoe it went.

River No. 2

Waterfall at River No. 2

After that, we headed back down to the beach, to relax, watch the birds and the waves. Once, for about 40 seconds, the sun even came out! River Number Two also served us a great barbecue fish lunch.

Flock of Seagulls

Dog on the Beach

All in all, and despite the rain, a great day. I also flew the quadcopter over both the beach and the river – and let some of the locals fly it a bit! But that’s for another post…

You can see more pictures from Sierra Leone, including the one where the “ferry canoe” operator uses a shovel to row the canoe, at this Flickr album.

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Found Film: The Smith Family Goes to Florida

For the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at a batch of Kodacolor-X film from the 1960s, generally featuring a family’s special occasions, but for some reason never developed.  This week we accompany them as they go to Florida (and we think they may be from Colorado).  How do we know they went to Florida?  For one, that’s what was penciled on one of the rolls.  And also, there’s a clue in one of the photos below – can you identify it?

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

I’m not sure what we’re looking at here.  This is the order the pictures appeared on the rolls.
Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

 

And here’s our clue.  Can you tell what it is?  The next few photos are all from the same place.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

 

This seems to be a signpost in the park, pointing in all different directions.  I’m not sure what makes it photo-worthy, but we can’t make out all the details.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

Next we have pictures of an elderly couple, followed by more pictures of the park.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

At first I thought these were vultures – but no, they’re parrots! And clearly there’s something of interest in the two pictures after that, but I can’t tell what it is.
Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

And finally, what looks like the beach. But I’m not completely sure! I wish we could have seen them as developed by the correct (C-22) process.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Trip to Florida

Found Film: Kodacolor-X Visit to Grandpa's

So did you figure out where they went? It was Miami – “Parrot Jungle” – since 2003, known as “Jungle Island”. You can find examples like the one below all over the internet.

Tammy Parrot Jungle

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Dispatch From Sierra Leone: Sunset

Awful news from next door in Liberia in articles like this and this.

Here in Freetown, we’ve gotten some relief from the rain, and (knocks on wood) the number of new ebola cases per day has slowed considerably.  Let’s hope the break in bad weather continues.

Trouble

Sunset

Clouds over Freetown

Freetown sunset in HDR

Yes, this last one is an HDR trick.  More pictures from freetown on Flickr.

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Breaking Rocks in Sierra Leone

The Long Road

This morning I woke up to a rare non-rainy August morning in Freetown.  Saturday!  So I grabbed my quadcopter and my camera and headed out to one of the highest-rated local beaches, River No. 2 Beach, where the local community has collaborated to create a nice spot frequented by locals and foreigners alike.  After an hour-long, bone-jarring ride, I arrived, checked out the area, showed the locals the quadcopter and flew it over the pristine natural beauty of the area, and snapped a bunch of pictures.

No. 2 River, Sierra Leone

No. 2 River, Sierra Leone

Then I realized that, for the millionth time, I had not switched on the camera on the ‘copter, and to add to my disappointment, the SD card in my other camera was corrupted (and later proved unrecoverable).  So other than the short clip below, what you’re seeing in this post is other people’s pictures of the places I saw.

If you’re interested in what I saw along the way, check out this guy’s blog.  Pretty much the first third covers it.  But like an episode of the Simpsons, my blog post today starts with one thing and ends up someplace completely different.

The thing is, all along the “peninsular highway,” much like the rest of the hills surrounding Freetown, are large homes in a semi-constructed state.  My driver explained that people basically build as they get funds.  Many of the half-constructed houses have moss growing on the walls – interior as well as exterior.  Along the peninsular highway, this is much more evident, kind of ramshackle and uncontrolled.  It’s a beautiful view, and the logical place for Freetown’s wealthier folks to settle, once the road gets paved.  Prior to the current ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone had one of the highest growth rates in the world – chugging along at near 14%!  And the construction I saw everywhere – even if often paused in mid-build – made this obvious.

All this growth has a dark side, however.  Amid all of the half-constructed mini-mansions and beach houses are a ramshackle of improvised housing of wooden poles, discarded boards, and ribbed sheet metal.  These are families who have moved out here searching for work.  and work there is – building, and all of the work that this supports, such as people selling drinks and snacks to construction workers.  Unfortunately, there’s also this:

Kick Out Poverty

I see this wherever I go in and around Freetown, and it’s heartbreaking to see kids (and adults) carrying heavy rocks in the rain, and then sit all day smashing them with a hammer.  You can read more about this problem in this excellent article in the Atlantic.  I don’t really know what can be done to fix it.  I just wanted to share; maybe someone else has some ideas.

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Found Film Friday: Good Times for the “Smith” Family

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten to know a family (dubbed “Smith” by me) via a pile of undeveloped film from the 1960s which ended up with me. The Smith family was primarily into photographing the kids, but also occasionally the grandparents turn up, during all of the major family events. Hence we don’t really know much about them. The film came from Colorado, and based on the type of film used, the kids on these photos would probably be in their late 40s or early 50s today.

We start with a birthday party. It’s not clear whose birthday it is, though “middle sister” may have had a role in the cake, as she appears to be wearing an apron. Junior, as always, looks smart in his bowtie, and on this occasion adds a cardigan. Below that, a group photo likely taken the same day.

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

Then the family goes on vacation – camping, it seems. someone in the family appears to own an airstream. And a beret. Matching outfits for the girls – is it a scouting outing? We may never know. And I’m not sure what to make of the fellow eating – seems like all from the same trip.

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

Next, a couple of posed group photos. Junior’s plaid jacket with bowtie is noted. This reminds me of one of those “first day of school” photos. And then four unidentified adults.

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

We end with horseback riding. Two of the photos appear to be out “in nature” but in the first photo, the horse seems to be walking close to a residential house. In the last photo you can make out a second person to the right. Junior’s not wearing a helmet, but an adult is close by. Whew!

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

Found Film:  Kodacolor X Good Times

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Dispatch from Sierra Leone: Walking in Freetown

There are two seasons in Sierra Leone:  the dry season…and the rainy season.  Although there is some rain in the “dry” season, the vast majority of the 3 meters of rain that fall on Freetown during a typical year occur between May and October, with an average of an inch a day in August.  Some people call the rain “biblical” in scope. With all the rain and damp air, it’s impossible to dry anything – and even things that are supposedly dry, feel damp.

On Sunday morning, a brief break in the clouds – an opportunity to be seized.  I packed a camera (in a ziploc bag), umbrella, backpack and headed on foot into Freetown proper.

Here are some views of the city I saw on my way.

Freetown

Dog

Once I got into the city proper, I walked through the rain-soaked streets, many of which were lined with vendors selling different types of fruits, flip flops, and other items.  People walked through the streets with huge bundles balanced on their heads – I wanted to snap a picture of a guy with a good 250-300 eggs stacked on his head, but I wasn’t quick enough to get him from the front.

Market

There was this whole section that was under about 4 inches of water, and people were just going on about their business as if nothing was wrong. Sergeant Marsh explained why.  But when you live in a place where it’s constantly raining, you wear sensible shoes – that can get wet and not cause any issues. Unlike the shoes that have been drying in my hotel room, and are still damp, starting to get stinky, and developing furry mildewy patches…

Market

I love the picture of this little boy helping. Photographically it could have been a bit better, but still…

Help from the Boy

There are big mosques and churches all over town. And I thought about how, despite the things we remember hearing about during Sierra Leone’s horrific civil war that ended just over a decade ago, and all the religious intolerance and horror we hear about in places like Iraq, Sierra Leone is one of the most religiously tolerant places you could ever find. Seriously – take a moment to read about it in this article.  I’m sure it’s a matter of time before someone decides that this is doctrinally improper – but think of the conflicts that wouldn’t exist if everyone thought like “Saloneans” as they are called here…

Church

Mosque Turret

I walked past Freetown’s famous “cotton tree”, and I saw this odd directional sign near the tree which points the direction to the American Embassy, among other things. The American Embassy is a good 5-6 miles from here. Maybe it used to be nearby.

Signpost

Then I chatted with Victor, a security guard, and asked if I could add him to my “100 strangers” photo collection.  It was starting to rain, and I went to snap a photo of an interesting church, but a gentleman across the street objected.  He was operating a roadside snack stand, and wanted to know what I was doing.  I calmly approached him and explained that I was taking a picture.  Because “that’s what tourists do – they take pictures of interesting things they see in the places they go.”  He was a bit agitated but started to calm down, saying “we want to make sure you’re not a terrorist.”  I asked him if I looked like a terrorist, and he explained a terrorist could look like anyone.  So after I got him to OK me photographing the church, it started to rain, and the camera went back into the ziploc bag.

The rain picked up pretty quick, and a group of people hiding under an awning called me over so I could put on my raincoat and grab the umbrella out of my bag.  At this point the rain was coming down in sheets.  That’s when I looked over – bear in mind, I was in the center of Freetown – and realized this group of boys had decided to (nearly all) strip down to nothing for a game of soccer in the pouring rain.  You don’t want to get your clothes wet, right?

And that…is how I spent last weekend’s few rain-free hours.  Oh, and slopping through the rain for the hour-long walk home.  For more photos of my time in Freetown, refer to this Flickr album.

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Dispatch from Sierra Leone: Rain and Monkeys

It has been  an extremely challenging first week in Sierra Leone.  An ebola outbreak – the world’s worst to date – has stretched the country’s already limited medical capacity to the limit.  Although the epidemic has been going on since May, for some reason the media chose the last week or so to spin this thing up.  Although the disease has had tragic effects in a couple of Sierra Leonean towns, the disproportionate media response has worsened the situation as some health care workers stopped coming to work.  International airlines have begun suspending flights, and hotels are empty of foreigners.  In a country already struggling to overcome poverty and a difficult recent history, the additional stigma that will result from this poorly understood disease will only further hamper development.

I arrived last week Sunday – after a grueling 24 hours of travel, the last bit was a $40 “water taxi” ride from Lungi International Airport – built on the nearest patch of flat ground that can be found near (hilly) Freetown – to the peninsula that hosts the capital city.

map

All of the passengers who had arrived with me from Nairobi were asked to wear life vests, and our suitcases were piled in the boat where it looked like they might slip out the back end any second.  Most of the fasteners for the canvas flaps designed to keep out the rain were torn, so I kept a grip on the nearest one to avoid alternately getting sprayed by rainwater, or smacked in the head by a piece of flapping canvas.

photo

Three Chinese passengers wore rubber gloves and surgical masks from the moment they exited the plane; once we reached the mainland, they were joined in this by the CNN crew that had been the sole occupants of the plane’s business class section on the flight from Nairobi.  From there, an SUV would pick me up and take me to my hotel, where I would collapse for the next 12 hours.

photo (1)

The next day had been declared a national holiday – for reflection, education and prayer – which meant I’d have additional time to recover from the trip.  Once I woke up I thought I’d go for a walk, get to know my surroundings a bit, but found the streets eerily deserted.  I walked around a bit along muddy trails and snapped a few photos here and there, but eventually realized we were expected to remain at home, so back to the hotel I went.

Phone Shop

Mansion

After a busy workweek, I was looking forward to the following Saturday, as I’d finally have an opportunity to see a little bit of Freetown and its surroundings. But alas, it was not to be!

catinhat

As it turns out, we find ourselves in the midst of Sierra Leone’s rainy season. It doesn’t rain ALL the time. Just MOST of the time. I woke up at 6 am and was excited to hear that it wasn’t raining. But that’s when it started – and it didn’t stop raining again for the next 16 hours.

So I still haven’t really left my room, other than work.  But I have managed to photograph some local wildlife!  A family of “green monkeys” lives on the periphery of the hotel grounds.  I wasn’t able to get a clear shot from my hotel room – so I went up to the wing of the hotel that is still under construction.  The monkeys were clearly alarmed at seeing someone up there, and watched me closely.  I’m not 100% sure these are green monkeys.  From the wikipedia entry, it seems that the males have bright blue testicles.  Maybe you can spot them in the video.

While I was up there I took a few snaps in the building itself.  As you can tell from the photos, basically I live in a cloud.  But hopefully tomorrow will be better.  Or next weekend…

DSC00561 DSC00567 DSC00571 DSC00573

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Found Film: The Smith Family Celebrates Easter

Last week we met the “Smith” family (as I’ve decided to name them), celebrating Christmas in a series of moments captured on Kodacolor-X film – manufactured between 1963 and 1972 – on an unknown camera.  This week it appears they’ve moved on to Easter.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Easter

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Easter

This fellow seems to be the favorite of the photographer, as he seems to appear most often in the overall series of 9 rolls we’ve uncovered from this family.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Easter

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Easter

From the photos below, it appears this roll of 12 (maximum) snaps was used for Christmas, a birthday, and then Easter.  Back in the day, you got the camera out for special occasions.  In the photo below, it appears that it’s big sister’s birthday.  Junior has put aside his customary bowtie in favor of a long tie – to celebrate the occasion?  It seems on the right that another grandma has joined the picture – maybe they are celebrating at Grandma’s?

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Easter

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Easter

Or maybe it wasn’t a birthday after all?  Here, wearing the same clothes as in the photo with the cake, the youngest two are seen tearing into presents.  And below, it looks like two Grandpas discussing a gift given to one of them.  And finally, sister appears to be contented with her purse, and new bathrobe and slippers!  Note the smaller Christmas tree in the background (compared to last week’s set) and the manger scene.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Easter

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Easter

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Found Film: The Smith Family Celebrates Christmas

I have no idea who this family is, but now that I have developed a bunch of their pictures,  I’ve gotten to know them a bit and it only seems appropriate to give them a name.  I’m calling them the Smith Family.  The Smiths were pretty good about photographing family events and trips, but it seems they were not that good about getting them developed.  The film came from Colorado, but the Smiths may or may not have lived there.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Christmas  

As a result, I acquired nine rolls of Kodacolor-X film, 127 size.  This film was manufactured between 1963 and 1972 and was often used in relatively cheap plastic cameras that predated the instamatics.  This film uses a process called C-22, which has been obsolete for many years, having been replaced by C-41 in the early 1970s. As the name implies, Kodacolor-X is color film.  And yet you are looking at black and white?  There are people who talk online about having had success developing C-22 using C-41 chemicals at room temperature, but it’s completely hit or miss.  One of my rolls got this treatment, and the result was “miss.”  The other 8 were developed using a standard black-and-white process.  This produced very dim negatives, which I lit from behind and photographed, and then enhanced using various photo editing programs.  The result is a photo that’s kind of muddy and blurry – but this could equally be the quality of photos produced by the cameras of this era, which often used inexpensive plastic lenses.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Christmas  

So the Smiths appear to be a relatively well-to-do family (judging from the size of the Christmas loot) in the 1960s, with three daughters and a son.  Lots of formal posed photos, and the son is always wearing a bowtie.  Check out the tractor and the fireman’s hat he got!

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Christmas  

The trees in the background look like two different trees, so I suppose this roll includes both pictures at home and a trip to grandma’s and grandpa’s.  Below, it’s not clear what they are holding, but I’m thinking it may be the “umbrella” that is normally mounted over the tractor.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Christmas

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Christmas  

Mom and Dad below, I’m guessing, along with Grandma and the kids.  Grandpa must be snapping the picture.  I don’t think it was his camera though.

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Christmas

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Christmas  

I can’t tell what the boy got, but the girls all seem pretty happy with their dolls.    

Found Film:  Kodacolor-X Christmas  
This was the first of what will end up being several posts as we follow the “Smiths” through the holidays and a few trips and vacations.  Stay tuned!

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