Americans can be lazy and disrespectful

While I was out shopping for a few gifts for my wife on the Saturday before Christmas, I became aware of an alarming trend.  Everywhere I went, there were people that were parking curbside and waiting.  Usually someone was in the car, but sometimes not.  I saw this perhaps a dozen times in a four hour window of shopping, and I did not once see someone getting into or out of a car – so they weren’t just stopping to pick someone up or drop them off.

My first reaction was just an amazement at how lazy these people might be.  I usually intentionally park a little farther away to do some extra walking.  The passengers in the curbside-parkers (maybe I’ll just call them curbers) are clearly doing a lot of walking while shopping.  Can they seriously not walk the extra 50 yards to a true parking spot?  I noticed no handicap parking tags, plus often the handicap spot was literally just steps away and open.

Parking away from the other cars also minimizes the chance of some hitting my car or putting a door ding in it.   Not a big concern, but it just takes away some risk of a bad driver or someone not paying attention swinging their newish SUV into a spot or a kid in daddy’s car  on the phone or otherwise distracted hitting my car.  Blame my Aunt Nancy on this one, as her vintage Volvo daily driver still looks nearly new, and I learned this tip from her.

As i thought about it more, I became a little more disappointed, because these curbers are also really disrespectful to the thousands of other people shopping in at least two ways.   First, they’re stopping and parking in what is essentially one lane of two lane traffic.  So all the others drivers must go around them, driving out into the other lane of traffic to get around the curber.

When they pull up and stop, any other vehicles behind them are potentially initially delayed as they try to figure out what in the world they curber doing.  I actually witnessed this twice, and neither time was a turn signal used – so everyone else sat there for an extended pause before realizing there was nothing blocking the way – these people were just stopping for no apparent reason and had no plans to move.  I’m sure it sucks a little Christmas cheer out of some people when they realize they’ve been stuck behind a curber who has just claimed a new spot to wait.

A second way it is really disrespectful is to the shoppers on foot.  Now, to get to the store or back to their car, they must cross what was a two lane area of traffic either in front of or behind the curber.  Drivers coming from either direction already have to figure out what the yahoo is doing just sitting there, and they also now have limited visibility to pedestrians on top of this extra distraction.  So Curbers are putting others at risk purely for their own personal convenience.

Then it gets worse.  We’re fighting an obesity epidemic in this country.  Curbers are a prime example of the cultural reasons why.   People are too friggin’ lazy to even walk to their cars!  More importantly, somebody else is happier to just sit in the car and diddle away on their phone while a (presumed) loved one is shopping.  GET OUT OF THE CAR AND GO WITH THEM!  YOU NEED THE EXERCISE!

Then there’s the whole fuel economy thing, because it was a cold day so every car was sitting there idling.  One was definitely there for almost 30 minutes, because I went into three stores and shopped around, and waited in line at two of them, and the car was still there running when i came back to my car.  These are probably the same people that will complain about fuel costs and that they have no money to invest in retirement or whatever.  It’s because you’re sitting there burning off $2 worth of fuel every hour going nowhere.  It’s not the $2, it’s the mentality that accepts the wasteful use of money and time that leads to having no money.

Obviously our local police departments don’t need money – because these people are clearly parking in a no parking and fire zone.   An officer could just walk the beat and write dozens of tickets in an afternoon, keeping people safer and encouraging others to be just a little healthier at the same time.  There’s probably multiple violations that could cited in most of these cases.

While it aggravates me, overall it just makes me sad.   It’s probably a little piece of why people in other countries often thought I was either Canadian or British.  They said I was too nice and too friendly to be an American.  I didn’t expect everyone to speak English, so how can I be an American?  I talked to others, and tried to fit in with local behaviors as much as I could, including walking.  10,000 steps?  Try 25,000 to 30,000 on a typical weekend day in Italy, France, or Belgium.

Curbers are just one example of the entitlement and disrespectful attitude that many Americans exhibit.  My question is how do we save ourselves?  How do we reverse the trend as a society?  It’s obviously not an easy answer, except for one part of it:  All of us can save ourselves.   Take responsibility for your life, your health, your financial future, and for how you treat others.  Maybe we can’t fix the United States as a whole (and don’t expect any government to fix it either), but we can make an impact in our part of it; we can make an impact in our lives.

We really should be thinking more about others than ourselves this time of year, but often when we think of others, we get so many good things for ourselves.

Merry Christmas.



New Martinsville Regatta on Fujichrome

My favorite memory about growing up in New Martinsville, WV is the annual hydroplane regatta that was typically held on the last weekend in September.  During my teen years, the event was moved to the south end of the town and seems like it was in the summer (maybe it wasn’t), and the regatta shifted from primarily inboard hydroplanes to eventually all outboard boats.  By the time I started my senior year of high school, I think I had been to 18 New Martinsville regattas in my 17.5 years of life; it was a big deal in the town and for my family.  I don’t know the entire history of leadership decision making, but in my mind the desire to make it a carnival atmosphere and to bring in the outboard boats was what ultimately caused the Regatta to lose popularity, and the event that once brought 50,000 visitors to a little town in West Virginia eventually ceased to happen.

However,  they have gradually been trying to rebuild the regatta, and this year there were some inboard hydroplanes, and I was excited to see the big 7-liter Grand National Hydros thunder down the Ohio once again from the banks of my hometown.  While it was nowhere near the scores of inboard hydroplanes they used to attract, the course is essentially the same course that has set somewhere around 85 speed records, so hopefully it continues to grow.  It was a nice event and the regatta Committee did a good job.   It would be nice to eventually see  more Grand nationals, 5-Liter “E-Class” Boats,  2.5 Liter Modified “A-Class”, 2.5 Liter “S-Class” Boats, 1.5 Liters “T-Class”, 1 Liter “Y-Class”, Jersey Skiffs,  and maybe even Sportsman Entry (SE) and National Modified boats back on the Ohio again.

There were at least two national Champions in attendance and I think two more were crowned on the weekend, so they’re attracting quality boats. They did have a couple vintage Hydros from New Martinsville natives, and a couple vintage Unlimited Hydros, which never ran in New Martinsville in their day because they were just too big and fast for the width of that section of the Ohio. It was exciting enough that I hope to attend the Regatta again next year.

Included are my favorite shots from the day from the first three rolls of film I developed.  Shot on either Fuji Velvia 50 or Provia 100F, using a pair of Minolta Maxxum 7’s, and mostly telephoto lenses, other than one 28mm prime shot of Gale V.  Home developed and scanned using an Epson V600.


Foma 200 developed in HC-110

Typically it’s not a good idea to change two variables at one time when experimenting, but there’s a reason I developed a new film in a new developer.  Actually multiple reasons.  First, I didn’t expect to like the Foma, and I got it for pennies in a lot, so i figured “why not?”  I already have Tri-X, Eastman 5222, and Ilford HP5+ that I really enjoy for black & white photography.

Second, I bought the HC-110 to develop some old rolls of film.  So I wanted to try it out before unleashing it on some 40-year old rolls.  Unfortunately, those two canisters were empty.   Apparently the metal was thicker and heavier, so I couldn’t tell be feel they were empty.   No worries, as I still have an old roll of 120 to finish shooting and develop, but 120 has been a bit of a nemesis as far as spooling on developing tank reels.

Plus, the shots were just fooling around while in Wheeling, and it was a long holiday weekend so I had plenty of time to mix the working solution and just relax when developing, so again – why not?

Overall, the results are OK.  The most impressive thing is the grain and the detail in the photos.  The contrast isn’t quite  as high as I was getting with D-76, but it seems to have a more subtle tonality.  How much of that is film vs developer, I can’t be sure; hence it not being a good idea to change multiple variables.

Take a look at the detail in this picture; I can read the street sign above the traffic lights when I zoom in, and not just “Main Street” but the street numbers “1300” and “1400” in the white band above as well as the “No turn on Red” sign:

Foma 200 Wheeling-16

Then there’s a depth of the lacquer on this boat, which i think the Foma 200 captures very well:

Foma 200 Wheeling-13
Compulsion….are we talking boats or film stock?

This shot should have been a difficult shot, where I was trying to capture the ghost of lettering that had long been removed.  The sun was shining off polished aluminum with a black background to reveal the image, but the Maxxum 7 and the Foma handled it pretty well:

Foma 200 Wheeling-14
Miss Supersonic

Then there’s these two images which for me would only work on black and white film.  Maybe I’m just odd, but the old doors and windows picture is part of why i shoot film.  It’s one of the few shots from the weekend that turned out mostly like I wanted.  The Pump Store sign works for me as well, showing the age and worn feeling I get when I’m in Wheeling.

Foma 200 Wheeling-2
Pump Store
Foma 200 Wheeling-1
Wheeling: 2016, or 1916?

The grain is pretty fine, and combined with the wide tonal range, I’m interested in shooting another roll of Foma (which I have), and also to start working with Eastman 5222, Ti-X, and Ilford HP5+ in HC-110.  I feel like I have several years wort of concentrate, and I have a gallon of D-76, so there’s not shortage of chemicals.  If anything, I’m low on b&w film, since I spent the summer stocking up on color films.  Here’s some other shots from the roll, which overall had some pleasing images.

One thing to note is the suspension bridge.  It is the oldest suspension bridge in use for automobile traffic.  Standing on the bridge was sort of odd, because it does bounce a good bit as cars cross, and when I looked at the railing, I noticed it was wooden!  It was built in 1849, and the suspension cables are either original or date back to 1860.  Talk about history.  Again, it seemed fitting to shoot historic boats and buildings on film.




The concept of workflow

As i was thinking about almost being caught up on developing rolls of film, I started to realize that I need a better workflow in my developing/scanning/cataloging of images.  I’ve typically focused on location, film stock, and camera.   But as I hopefully get standardized on my cameras, I need to consider other information.  For instance, I use different developers now in Black & White processing.   From my Maxxum 7’s, I can capture exposure data.   Then there’s simply the general tagging of pictures so I can find certain subjects in my library.

The most pressing of these is the capturing of exposure information, since each camera only keeps the last 7 rolls of data.   But honestly, the other things I can do are just as important, because it’s easier to do it all in one flow than to go back and enter it later.  Starting with the exposure information, I   tried to find an easy way to manually enter “EXIF” data into Lightroom.  For DSLR’s, this is usually automatically included in the image, but for scanned film, there’s nothing there.  I figured it would be easy to just type it in like keywords, but imagine my dismay when it is apparently not possible to enter this info manually!

After a little searching, i found two tools that when used together make what I’m trying to do possible.  They are ExifTool and LensTagger.   I guess ExifTool will work on it’s own, but I read a review in PetaPixel that made the LensTagger sound like it was easier than using just ExifTool alone.

After installing them and giving it a try, it does indeed work.  Here’s a shot from Lightroom Loupe before running LensTagger:

before lenstagger

Notice it only has the generic file information at the top, and the metadata tab on the right only has dimensional information.  And here’s one of an image after:

after Lenstagger

Now the exposure, ISO, and lens info shows at the top, with the same information as well as the camera and lens information on the metadata panel.

I still have some experimenting to do, but it seems like I can set up standard films and lenses to make it go more quickly.  Then it’s simply make sure I have the right frame info for each picture.  I think it will only add a few minutes to each roll of film uploading once I get familiar with it.  But since I need to do each individual frame, it could be an extra 30 minutes per roll.  I also found out that it reverts to the original scanned image when I write the data, so I definitely want to do this before cropping the overscan edges and adjusting levels.

There are probably a lot of Lightroom plugins I could use to make my workflow more efficient, so I’ll be gradually looking into enhancements in workflow.  But for now, having a little discipline to capture exposure and image information for each roll is a positive first step that should make it easier to not only find photos, but learn from them at a later date as well.

Maxxum 7 the Third

After one of my Maxxum 7’s started having error messages, I started looking for a replacement. It arrived on Thursday, so on Friday I took it with me to Wheeling, WV to take some pictures of some vintage hydroplane racing boats.  Unfortunately it was only registration day, so no action shots, but I still enjoyed seeing the vintage boats.  I also spent a little time walking around Wheeling.

The good news is, the third Maxxum 7  seems to work well.  I’m starting to feel like with these cameras and Portra 400, I might never miss a shot again!   I guess I need to get rid of the faulty one soon.

The Dynax, The Defective, and the New Maxxum 7

All the photos were from two rolls of fresh Portra 400, and I was using a couple different lenses, either the 50mm prime or the Beercan 70-210mm f4.   Perhaps my favorite shots were reflections in the windows of a building in downtown Wheeling.   It just wasn’t something I was expecting to see, and the results on the film were as good as I saw in person.  In fact, most of the two rolls were not a disappointment.

There were also some fun shots from around Wheeling, which for the most part just feels like an old city, so it’s appropriate to be shooting vintage boats on near vintage cameras in such a city.  I enjoyed using the Maxxum so much that i didn’t even get the Hasselblad out of the case.   The Hassy takes great pictures, but I’m just so enamored with the Maxxum 7’s that I don’t want to shoot with anything else.

Then of course there were the boats.  I sort of want to see them racing again, but hopefully the New Martinsville River Heritage Days later this month gets me some good action shots.   Since they weren’t racing, i was able to get some close-ups in the pits and talk to some owners and inspectors.  I’m happy the camera worked well, and I’m going to try to shoot some more rolls of film through it soon, including some slide film.  I also have a roll of Provia 100F and Fomapan 200 that I shot on Maxxum 7-1, which is actually a Dynax 7.   Hopefully I get them developed this weekend as well.

If you’re interested, the boats are still racing tomorrow, Sunday September 4th.  Information is on the Wheeling Vintage website.

A Nice Night for a Wedding – and Fuji Superia 800

A few weeks ago I was headed to a wedding with my newly acquired Maxxum 7.  It was an indoor wedding with an indoor reception at a venue I knew to be dimly lit.  Since i was only taking the camera for fun, I grabbed a roll of Fuji Superia 800 of unknown provenance: I had acquired it in one of my Craigslist film buys.

I felt like I had grabbed a couple nice shots during the night, and thankfully the negatives confirmed my feelings.   There was a little developing residue left on the negatives, and at this point I’m about ready to buy some specific film cleaner to see if I can quickly and easily eliminate the various residue spots I’m getting from the stabilizer needed.  So the scans aren’t clean, and it’s just part of my home developing process that needs significant improvement.

One of the first photos I seem to take at a wedding is the centerpiece.   This was exposure #1 on the roll:

Chelsea Wedding-13-2

I’m pretty sure the lens I used was the Maxxum 50mm. I wish I would have moved the pepper shaker!

Wait a second! It just occurred to me that the Maxxum 7 has all that data about the last 7 rolls I’ve shot.  The camera imprints data information on the film leader.  I learned on this roll that if I scan that leader as part of my process, the scanner picks up the information as a picture, so I can easily use it for cataloging my negatives and have the information at my disposal for either posts or simply to learn from how I did something.

Chelsea Wedding-60
Data imprint from the Maxxum 7

What that tells me is it was Camera #1, roll # 57.  So then I use that information, and as long as it was one of the last 7 rolls, I will still have the data.  After that, it starts overwriting the oldest data.  So here’s the data screen for that roll:

Maxxum 7 data: Roll dnI-0057


It’s in area 3, which is actually my third roll because I cleared the data when i got the camera.  It also gives me the film ISO, which might be a good confirmation or useful if I accidentally don’t keep the leader.  When I use go into the data on the camera, there’s a wealth of information.

Maxxum 7: frame by frame data

This is the data for the centerpiece picture.  You can see it gives me the date and time.  It gives me the mode, shutter speed, and aperture.  It also provides the lens information, exposure compensation, flash, and focus, as well as the frame number.  Holy smokes!  This is incredible information to have at my fingertips on a film camera.  I know the Nikon F5 holds a lot more data, and maybe the Maxxum 9 does too, but I’m not sure it’s readily available on camera like this.  So as long as I keep up on my developing, I’ll have this info.  Maybe I’ll consider adding it to my tag info on my scans.  Anyway, back to the pictures.

There was one picture that when I took the shot I thought it had the potential to be pretty special, especially as a fairly candid shot.  The bride was circulating through the tables, and I was talking to another guest when she walked into some sunlight filtering through the window.  I said her name, and grabbed the shot when she looked back.

Chelsea Wedding-5-2
The beautiful bride.  1/250, f3.5, no flash.  

I also experimented with some dance floor shots due to the odd looking lighting.  I thought if I grabbed the shot at the right time that I could get people in polka dots.  It worked.

Chelsea Wedding-6-2
Polka dots, but not Polka dance.  1/30, f1.7, no flash.

Both of those shots show some grain, but it is consumer grade 800 speed film.  Maybe it’s a little expired, but I think the results are more than acceptable.  As i went looking for some other 800 speed film photos, it occurred to me this might be the first fast color film I’ve shot since my airport scanning fiasco.  I normally shoot Portra 400 or push Ilford HP-5+, so this might not bee too excessive grain wise.

Another of my favorite shots is one of my wife laughing.  She hates her picture taken, but I think she’s starting to appreciate my love of film and of her.  Maybe I can start getting her to pose a little more often, but I really like these types of candid shots.

Chelsea Wedding-4-2
Having a laugh. 1/60, f2.0

Several other shots turned out well.  So once again, this 50mm prime lens caught more winners than average in my book.  And the Fuji 800 did well.  I have a couple more rolls from that lot, so I won’t hesitate to use it when the situation arises.  Rolls like this one are exactly why I wish I’d just fire my camera more at all events.  Hopefully it gives me the motivation to shoot more at family functions.

So get out and shoot more film.  You can always buy more film, but the moments they capture are here and gone in an instant.



Expired Kodak Vision 250D

Even though I’m really falling for Portra 400, I have a bunch f film in the fridge that I still need to shoot.  So when my team had a fun outing to the County Fair I figured I’d pull out this roll of Kodak Vision 250D.  It’s expired, so I think it’s actually Vision 2 stock.

This film is hand-rolled by Mike Raso over at the FPP.  He has the canister DX coded at 200 ISO, so i shot it at that rating.  I know the general consensus is to slightly over-expose film, especially expired film, and I’ve been doing that fairly often.  But I’m finding that I like the saturation and contrast by slightly underexposing, or at least not overexposing.

This roll turned out just a little flat for my tastes.  Now maybe it’s because it’s expired, but if anything I liked most of the shots from a roll of expired Fuji 100 that I shot the same day.  It was mostly overcast, and mid afternoon, so it wasn’t great light, but this film just didn’t wow me.   Here’s two shots compared:

Washington County Fair 2016-8
Kodak Vision 250D
Washington County Fair 2016-105
Fuji 100

Now that I look at them side by side, the Vision 250D is really not too bad.   Here’s a handful of other shots on the roll:

And here’s a handful of shots from the Fuji 100:

The two stocks have a decidedly different look.  I don’t think I got the color correction nailed on the Vision 250D for scanning either, and scanning is one major difference..  The Kodak Vision stock lays flat and is a little thicker, while the Fuji curls worse than any other film I’ve used.  So I think I’ll give some fresh Vision 3 a try soon.  I also have some expired Vision 500T.  I have 4 rolls of that vs the single roll of 250D, so I can experiment a bit.

Also, the lens used was the Minolta 28-105mm xi power zoom lens.  It did really well with the exception of the rusty Allis photo – I had to switch to manual focus.  That might have been the camera as well, but using manual focus with that lens was tough.  It was just really difficult to find the focus ring.  But I like the lens and will probably use it often.

We enjoyed our team outing, but none of the photos really stood out.  It was nice to document the fun, and to try out a few new variables.  Plus, I haven’t been to the County Fair in two decades, so it was a nice excuse to enjoy a local tradition.