Friday, June 23, 2006

Horseman, Author, Farmer, Scientist, Friend

Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Our friends Dick and Lorrie Alexander invited us over for a dinner and ice-cream social at the Bethel Church down the road from their farm. Dick also wanted me to take some photos so that he'd be able to include a recent one on the dustjacket of a book he's writing called "Playin' Cowboy." I probably took 50 shots, and like this one the best.
Richard D. Alexander is an amazing man. I have known him for 25 years, and am pleased to have him as a friend, mentor, and a former boss at the museum. He's not pretentious - he's a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has won their highest award, been recognized as a top faculty member at UM, and other accolades. He's one of the great minds that have tackled thorny issues in evolution and human behavior. Yet, at heart, he's still an Illinois farm boy with an amazing breadth of talent in so many things - music, art, literature, science, horsemanship, farming, telling stories, and a good human being. He retired in 2001, and since then has written at least 4 books. Some of his material can be seen at

Monday, June 19, 2006

another trip, cool stuff

dexter mill
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Marjorie and I went for a drive yesterday -- I decided that I wanted to celebrate Father's day by doing whatever was fun. That meant a father-daughter drive to no place in particular -- we just make up the route as we drive along. Our first stop was in Dexter, and we came in along Huron River Drive. I find it ironic that HRD is touted as a bike route, when in fact, it has to be the most bike-unfriendly road around. Scenic, yes. I once biked from Ann Arbor to Dexter along that road, and if anything, the road has gotten worse. There is virtually no shoulder along the entire route, and cyclists hang out into the lane - especially when they ride 2 abreast. So, I would rather they biked elsewhere more friendly. Oops that is so un-PC here...
Anyhow, we arrived at Dexter and got to the old train depot about 2 minutes ahead of a Conrail train, which was a pleasant surprise. Took a few train pics, and then we shot film of the depot, some renovated buildings nearby, and the Dexter Mill. I used my Nikon, Holga, and Polaroid, and Marjories used her Hasselblad and digicam and Holga. We then drove through Dexter to Issland Lake Road, then Dexter Twon Hall Road, Tiplady Road, ending up on Gregory. We then took Gregroy road and some other roads, ending up in Mason. We spent a few hours there shooting photos of the town, and visited a real nice assemblage of antique stores. I ended up buying a Tower 50 camera for $10. It's a 1953 era 35mm camera. I put a roll of b&w film in it today and will test it out.
We drove back on M36 to M52 to Jackson Road and home. Not bad for an afternoon, and a good Father's Day.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
The other night I tried catching up on my backlog of b&w film to be processed. I developed 7 rolls one night, 5 more yesterday. All but one are 35mm, and I still have another 8 rolls to do. The funny thing is that I am finally seeing the images of things that I might have shot a month ago, maybe longer; such as this photo of the Frog Island Brewery, which at the time (late April), was trying to get into operation. It's at the site of the former Ypsilanti Farm Bureau on Huron River Drive, and many of the buildings there are being used by the brewery. I had set up my tripod with my Mamyia 645 across the street, and while shooting some frames, I noticed a shirtless, burly guy with long hair and a beard come walking purposefully across the street from the brewery. He asked if I was from the city assessor's office. I looked at him blankly and asked what he meant. I told him that I was an amatuer photographer, and always had wanted to get a shot of this scene. He explained how much trouble they had with the city while getting this brewery operational. We talked a while about small businesses and how hard it is if you don't have someone in City Hall on your side.

I haven't been by there since then, and I do hope they are successful in getting things going. We need more people like those in the Frog Island Brewery to operate locally-owned small businesses in places like Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. They are willing to take the risk -- our cities should be helping them as much as possible.

I still haven't developed the film from the Mamiya. This shot was taken with a Vivitar plastic 35mm camera that I bought in a junk store for a buck. The film is Lucky 400. I hope those guys are lucky, too.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Moving On

Time to Celebrate
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Last night was the 2006 Commencement for Huron High School. The class is large enough - over 500 students - that they held it at EMU's Convocation Center. It's an event that for me at least, holds mixed significance. On one hand, it's obviously a celebration and culmination of 4 years of high school. Marjorie was in the top 25 of her class, and one of 61 students to maintain a 3.9 or better GPA over 4 years. I'm certainly extremely proud of her, and her accomplishments. On the other hand, we know that this is just the first step on the way to becoming an adult, with all the responsibilities and more education to come. She thinks that way too much is made of HS graduation, because it should be expected of everyone. I think she has a point there. For some kids, this may be the end of any formal schooling, other than the hard knocks of life. It may be the last time that they had an opportunity to learn with some superior, and dedicated teachers that want them to excel. For others, they will move on to various schools or perhaps trades that will give them more skills and knowledge to have creative, productive lives. As I said, it's really more of a beginning than and end.

Marjorie will attend Northern Michigan University this fall, and likely pursue studies in art and desgin, and history. She's interested in architecture, preservation of historical buildings, and the impact of local theaters and restoring buildings in small towns and cities. So, if anyone is looking for a bright, artisitic, and good-natured summer intern in the Ann Arbor area, email me.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Morning Walks

planet and moon
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
A morning walk with a camera, by myself, is definitely a pleasure.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle

Woodland Tiger Beetle
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Today I spent my lunch hour(s) at Nichols Arboretum. The peonies are in full flower, and it is quite a sight, and fragrant. I took a bunch of shots with my Diana, Lubitel 2, and with the Coolpix 995. Afterwards, I went looking for other interesting things to shoot, and this little green tiger beetle let me get pretty darn close with the coolpix. Usually they are so wary that you can rarely get within a few feet of them. Just move sloooowly, and inch towards them and they don't realize that you are there.