The photographic explorations of a former film student.

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Spring Beauty

Spring at last! This is one of my favorite times of the year. Rain washes the snow and dirt of the long winter away and nourishes the gentle flowers. Last week, I went to the park I normally shoot wildflowers at, pulled out the macro for the first time in months, and had a little fun capturing the rebirth of the green outdoor world for the season.

BrightYellowFlowerPrairieTrilliumVioletWhiteVioletsWhiteWithLeaves

 

Next Time: More Nature or Objects on White

Everything depends on the weather and what the plants do.

Argus C3

I was looking for a 35mm camera from the 40s or 50s for my collection when I found this one at an estate sale. A little worn and dusty, but he’s cute. This is an Argus C3 made in Michigan either before or after WWII. Eventually, I’d like to do more research on this camera, but for now I’ve just cleaned and photographed it. Poor thing was pretty dirty. I did quite a bit of Photoshop work on the camera because of the dust even though I cleaned it a lot before shooting. For more information about Argus cameras, visit http://argusinfo.net

 

Next Time: More Table Top or Nature

Maybe you can tell, I’m pretty rusty with the still life/table top right now. Due to other commitments, I shot very little last fall and winter. Right now, I think maybe getting back to more of the basics would be good, so I might do some objects on white. Otherwise, we’ll see what Spring brings.

The Aged and Beautiful Yerkes Observatory

Last month, the local photo club decided to visit Yerkes Observatory. It is connected with the University of Chicago, but located in a small town in Wisconsin. Built in 1895, it houses what was the largest telescope of the time. Many astrophysicists studied there over the years. Albert Einstein even visited in the early 1920s. You can read more about the observatory here: http://astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes/

We began with an educational tour and a look at the telescope itself. Not the best conditions for photography, but I had to get a few shots.

The floor in the telescope area moves up and down. During the tour, we were sitting on the edges of the building, which remain stationary. Our guide announced that he would go over to the desk and raise the center floor while whistling the theme from Star Trek. He was rather good at it. Here is the somewhat Original Series looking control desk.

ControlDesk

After lunch, Dad and I stuck around for exterior photographs. This is the largest dome anong with the entryway to the building.

EntryAndLgDome

On the other end, there are two smaller domes and more ornate carvings.

CornerDetail

Dad wanted to stick around and see if the sun would come out. While waiting, I photographed some of the carving on the entryway pillars. The Satyr is a caricature of Mr. Yerkes. According to the tour guide, he was one of the not so well-loved wealthy industrialists of his time. He built the observatory to improve his image with the public, which is why it is such a grand building.

YerkesSatyr

The architect was a bit eccentric. No one knows what all the caricatures and symbols on the building mean because he had his son burn his papers upon his death. He also made fun of Rockefeller. Originally, there was a bee stinging Rockefeller’s nose, but he visited the observatory, and the powers that be thought they should have all the bees chiseled off the columns before he arrived.

Rockefeller

Moons, stars, and the man in the moon also grace the pillars.

ManInMoon

Wandering around the building, I noticed that the side doors were not as well-kept as the fronts – not at all. This did not surprise me, as I imaging keeping up a grand old building of that size is a challenge. The peeling paint and old door knob had a nice rustic quality about them, so I thought they’d make an interesting shot.

SideDoorknob

Finally, Dad got what he was waiting for. The sun came out.

EntrySunnyDomeLS

Next Time: Flowers or Old Camera

Spring is coming slowly. If it doesn’t come fast enough, I’ve purchased an old Kodak folding Autograph and an Argus I’d like to do posts on sometime.

Dictionaries

I finally finished it. Getting back to still life with as little as I’ve shot since last summer (and such a small percentage of that planned table top) means I’m rusty right now. I have to make myself do this. The joy and fluency will return as I keep at it. But enough of my inner frustrated artist.

When I hear or read the word dictionary, this is what comes to mind:
TheDictionary

The big, red dictionary was once my Uncle’s. I don’t know how it got to us, but whenever my Mom told me to look something up in the dictionary, this was the book I picked up. We had other dictionaries, but this was The Dictionary. Mom let me take it with me when I moved out.

I’m not language crazy by any stretch of the imagination, but an old dictionary just has some kind of venerable aura about it. When I find one, I want it. This one from the 1950s was thrift-store find last fall. With its pinkish cover, letter tabs, and gold-edged pages, it almost looks like a Bible.

Pink50sDictionary

Not all dictionaries are venerable tomes though. I found this pocket dictionary at a library book sale a few years back. The writing in the front cover tells me a teen girl owned it back in the 1940s.

PocketDictionary

Next Time: Observatory

Speaking of old and venerable, I spent yesterday at an observatory constructed in 1895. In the early 1920s, it was such a big deal in astronomy and astrophysics that Albert Einstein himself visited it.

 

Classic Car Museum

I visited a classic car museum with the photo club a few weeks ago. Lots of cool old cars! Unfortunately, there were also a lot of reflections and mixed lighting. I used a tripod and tried to find shots where the reflections were minimal, neutral in color, or worked with the subject. It was good to get out and spend the day appreciating man-made beauty, but I hope I’ll be seeing some nature soon.

BelAirDash

BlueTaillight

Pierce12

PinkTaillight1

RedAirplane

RedAndWhite

Next Time: I should finish those dictionaries.

Tropical February – With Orchids

Two years ago, I went to the Milwaukee domes in February (https://mycameramyfriend.wordpress.com/2014/02/). Since the heat and humidity of the tropical dome was so nice in cold, dry February, I decided I’d like to do it again. However, I didn’t feel like the trip this month and even if I did, the domes are closed. So I went to a more local conservatory instead. It’s not near as big or quite as humid, but it does have many tropical plants and the orchid show was on last week.

 

Next Time: Classic Cars

Photo club decided to go to an auto museum. Lots of detail shots. I promise I’m still working on the dictionaries. It may be a few more weeks because other stuff keeps intervening.

Annual Valentine Encouragement

Because this was a long week for me, and because I realized this will be my last post before Valentine’s day, no dictionaries this week.

Back when I was in college, my roommates would get flowers from their boyfriends for various occasions. I didn’t have a boyfriend (which I’m not sad about, because it was the right thing for me), so I would photograph their flowers.

Rose

It was good fun at times, especially when no one else was around and I could turn out the lights and experiment with LED flashlights.

FlashlightFloral

While we’re on the subject of boyfriends just a week from Valentine’s Day, I’m going to say it (like I have for the past couple of years): single people, please don’t let Valentine’s Day get you down. Not having a significant other doesn’t mean you can’t observe the holiday. Love comes in many varieties. Romantic isn’t the only one. So take some time to let your friends and family know how much they mean to you. Call, write, send a card, or make plans to meet for coffee. Observe the day as a celebration of the love you do have. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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