Pentax Program Plus

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Here’s the camera and lens I have been shooting almost exclusively for a little more than a year now.

I have an admission to make though. I chose this camera because it was the cheapest available at KEH when I went to place my order.

I have a nostalgic preference for Pentax. When I started my career as a photographer this is the brand I already I owned and I made the choice to stay with it for some time. When I came back around to shooting film I knew I had to get another one.

Yes I had my eye on some of the more well-known models like the MX, but it just wasn’t in the budget at the time. Nonetheless I’ve found the Program Plus a great camera which suits me fine.



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Today was the last day the legendary Kodachrome will ever be processed.

I’m disappointed.

I have to admit I’ve never shot a frame of Kodachrome.

By the time I got back around to film, its discontinuation had already been announced so I never bothered.

But Kodachrome is everything I want in a color film. Namely true-to-life colors and proven longevity.

I’m not shooting much color right now, but the little I do I wish it were Kodachrome.

Life update 2010

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I cannot adequately describe the utter, over-riding joy I feel in regards to life right now. My Beloved and I have long been working at having a specific kind of life, and I believe we really are there. Not almost there — there!

I’ve been thinking about our recent past tonight and I thought I’d jot down some notes.

We came to Missouri in 2003. I got a job at the daily paper as an “editorial assistant” (translation: do everything guy). In 2004 we bought a house in a tiny rural village about 8 miles outside of town. And we were mostly happy, we were on the road to the life we wanted.

In 2005 I decided I wanted to pursue photography more than I had been. I planned on getting an old film camera or two and make photographs for myself (much like I’m doing now).  But … two weeks after I’d made that decision, the daily paper in Independence, KS, called me up and offered me their head photographer position.

And I took it. And it was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. The day we moved there I turned to Noel and told her we’d made a mistake. I was never truly happy there. It ate at me. And it led me to make many more mistakes.

Even now, a year-and-a-half later, I can’t put my finger on exactly why I was so unhappy there. All I know is that I was deeply unhappy, and it drove me crazy.

In 2008 I quit the paper there. I enrolled in a college class, took a job at the Walgreens. Neither lasted long. Got a job at the public library. I was the janitor, it was one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had. Still wasn’t happy. And my life was falling apart around me.

Then in 2009 we finished paying off the property in Missouri. In July we sold or gave away almost every single possession and left Kansas. It was crazy and drastic, it was foolhardy, stupid even. And it was the second best thing I’ve ever done in my life (the first was marrying my Beloved, which coincidentally was also stupid, foolhardy, drastic and crazy).

When we made the jump, everyone warned I’d never find a job. In three weeks time I had three jobs and was turning others down. There will always be work for folks who want to work.

From July until early fall we lived in a tent in our backyard — the house has been uninhabitable for a while now — until we found the fifth wheel camper we live in now.

The first day back I felt what I’d been missing all those years in Kansas … peace.

This past year hasn’t been easy by any means. Last winter I was subbing on the school bus and working 30+ hours at WalMart, I was never caught up on my sleep. We were constantly behind on the bills. But I never doubted I had made the right choice and we were on the right path.

Now here we are at the end of 2010. I have my own regular school bus route. I have a good part-time job which dovetails with the bus driving perfectly.

The majority of my time is my time. All the bills are paid. My Beloved and I get to do just about everything together. I can pursue my photography at my own pace in my own way. I’m relearning to play guitar. We are slowly tearing the old house down and looking at plans of what we want to build in the future. We’re getting ready to plant a garden this spring. I’m thinking about a small chicken house.

I am over-flowing with peace, love and joy!

Life is GOOD!

Oh, as an aside … when we left Kansas. Our original plan was to head back to Florida and follow the tourist trade around working where ever we could. Eventually living aboard a boat again. I’m not really sure what that was all about. When we got to Missouri, I was getting job offers. We realized we had the property here free and clear. So we just stayed here. I don’t regret it.

Note to other drivers

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That big, fat white line at an intersection is there for a reason.

If you pull five feet past it when coming to a stop, you forfeit the right to get angry when you have to backup so me in my big, fat school bus can make the turn.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Blog shuffle

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A couple weeks back, I completely scrapped my photoblog and began anew.

Tonight, I did it again.

Two reasons.

One, I don’t like my color work.

I’ve been shooting a lot of color because the only film available in my tiny little town are the Fuji packs at the Wal-Mart. They quit carrying the Kodak BW400CN a while back. Not even talking about real silver b&w film.

So I shoot the color film, then I post the color pictures and I’m not happy. Sure I can always hit the “b&w” button in photoshop, but I’ve never been pleased with that route either.

So I am making a (quasi-as-long-as-I-feel-like-it) commitment to shooting black and white. Which meant the color crap had to go.

Two, Blogger finally added a functionality to their design thingy which allowed me to create the blog I envisioned.

I’ve long preferred the single column blog format, especially ones which allow you to post your pictures wide. Blogger enabled that a while ago. But you could only have one column of widgets at the bottom, which just looked horrible.

I noticed just recently though they’d added the option to have one, two or three columns of widgets across the bottom. So I had to jump on it. Because now I can post my pictures at the delicious 900 pixels wide which looks so good on my laptop!

PS – My photoblog can be found at:

Holy crap it got cold

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We’ve been enjoying our average 40s-high/20s-low temps for a while now.

But yesterday we caught the tail end of that massive blizzard that swept the upper-midwest.

We didn’t get but the lightest dusting of snow. We did get wind gusts to 50 mph, and frigid temperatures. Last night’s low was around 15, tonight’s low is forecast to be 5! Brrrr!!

I’m happy to report the efforts we took to keep the camper’s waste tanks from freezing are working wonderfully. When I left for work today the outside temperature was 25 degrees, and the sensor at the waste tank reported 54 degrees.

iPhoto vs Photoshop

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For the past several years, I’ve used iPhoto for nearly all of my personal photography editing needs.

I’ve tried out the various demos of Aperture and Lightroom and Photoshop. I simply have not been able to fully convince myself to spend the money for one.

I think one of the reasons I’ve never been able to persuade myself to purchase one of the “major” editors stems from my practice of striving to make my photo in-camera as much as possible and only using the editor for final, minute tweaks.

iPhoto is perfectly capable of giving a well-made exposure the final tuning it needs for printing. It cannot however salvage a poor image. The “I’ll fix it in Photoshop” attitude has always rubbed me the wrong way.

Ducking into Hastings last night, I was perusing B&W Magazine and was excited to find these sentiments mirrored somewhat by one of the authors expounding on the reasons he preferred film photography and silver gelatin printing.

One of the reasons was he felt Photoshop gave people too much control over the image.

For the time being, I am happy to shoot my film, scan the negs and print digitally. There is no possibility of me having a darkroom at this point in time, however I can definitely see the time coming when I will want to be able to make my own traditional, wet darkroom prints again.

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