Monday, August 27, 2007

The UP is Where I Want To Be

On Wednesday, Marjorie, Adrienne and I drove N to get Marjorie back to school at NMU for her second year. We took two vehicles, this time. Marjorie drove her Jeep filled with most the stuff she needed for her dorm room, and either Adrienne and I drove the little Echo that had more of Mo's stuff and our own belongings for a 4 day trip. The drive up went great, and Marjorie got all her stuff moved into the dorm in about 45 minutes. That gave Adrienne and me a lot more time to do other things around Marquette, including the three of us going back to the Huron Mountain Club on Friday, where we shot a ton of images.
3 Sunset and Little Presque Isle from Presque Isle Park.

While I was there, I reflected in why I like the Upper Peninsula so much, especially Marquette. For one, the natural beauty of the place is amazing. The Lake Superior shore is ever-changing, and the weather never fails to be interesting. Marquette is a moderate-sized city blessed with a mixture of old and new, and the downtown is active. They have several bookstores, coffeeshops, art places, and no pretentiousness. The NMU campus has a nice art museum, lots of nice facilities, and a commitment to providing a good undergraduate education and learning environment, not the mega-sport, mega-money, and megalopolis that UM has become. Outside Marquette, of course, there are all sorts of interesting places, and much of the area reminds me a lot of growing up in the Adirondacks, with the addition of the Great Lakes being nearby. Some of the area is gritty, a reminder that not everyone has an office job or works for a University. Oh, and there are a lot fewer people around.
Mountain Stream falls Mountain Stream Falls in the Huron Mountain Club

So, whenever I spend a few days in Marquette and anywhere in the UP, coming back to Ann Arbor is always a bit of a downer for a day or two. As much as I like it here, and I do, I think Marquette would be the place that makes me whole.

It was nice making a day of it at the Huron Mountain Club. I had not been there since 2003, when I went up to receive an award for research done there. This time, we went to see how things were going and to photograph some places that I wanted more, and better photos of. The Jeep got us up to Mountain Stream Falls really quickly, and the rough road there was a good baptism for the Jeep. I wish I had used one when I was doing research there before -- it would have enabled me to get to many more sites in day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Friend Lost

Yesterday morning I received a very upsetting and surprising email that my friend, George O'Neal had died Thursday, and was found in his home by his daughter on Saturday. It was all the more poignant to me because George and I had met less than two weeks earlier at the Argus Day, and he had helped set us up at the Argus Museum for my talk. We met at dinner again, and it was hard to talk because the bar was noisy, but George had told me that he wanted to meet with me again soon to talk about some things, and that was the last thing I had heard from him, other than "Hey, it's good to have you as a friend, and I look forward to getting together."

George was 79, and I know he missed his departed wife Gene very much. She passed away from cancer about 4 years earlier, and I think I somewhat helped him climb out of the depression that gripped him afterwards. We would meet for coffee, or maybe just a brief chat, and he gradually became more involved in photography once more, and started showing up at our Crappy Camera Club meetings. George probably felt a bit old with some of the younger crowd there, but I teased him that at least when he was there, it didn't make me the "old man." He had me over to his place a few times, and he had a nice exhibit of cameras and photographica, and he was always a gracious host. I wish I had known George and Gene back when they were the stalwarts of the Michigan Photographic Historical Society. The two of them started the nucleus of the exhibits at the Argus Museum in Ann Arbor. I know George really cared about that collection, and he was really pleased that it has been so well-curated in recent years

George was interested in lots of things besides cameras and photography, such as minerology, genealogy, and traveling. He grew up in Ann Arbor, was in the US Army from 1945-1947. He and his wife had five children, four who are still living, and nine grandchildren.

I will miss George, and I wish I knew what it was he wanted to talk to me about.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Argust 7 Aftermath

A3C3.0807.3 Some of the crowd, photo by Bill Bresler

We had a great turnout for my talk on Argus cameras at the Argus Museum Tuesday afternoon. Cheryl Chidester, the museum curator, was very gracious in hosting us, and also provided refreshments. She has been doing a wonderful job with the displays and the change in the museum from what it was like 7 years ago is just amazing. With donations from Argus collectors and the social network that the Argus Collectors Group has created, the collection has expanded both in the hardware, but also in the archives of printed material containing company history, employee information, and product R&D.
gather around the display cases Adrian and John

After I talked, people hung around and viewed the collection, asked questions, and then we all went out walking for photo opportunities, and were to meet at the Old Town for dinner. It was a pretty good group of Ann Arbor Area Crappy Camera Club members that went out shooting. A fun evening, for sure. Earlier in the day, Marjorie and I had walked around campus taking photos of the area around the Law Quadrangle. I think one of my best photos came from there.
some of the C3 gang

c4-10.jpg c4-14.jpg

More photos are here

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Argus Day!

The Giant and Me

Today is August 7, I mean, Argust 7. If you have an American-made Argus camera, shoot some photos with it today and remember that these classic cameras were made right here in Ann Arbor, MI. In fact, the Ann Arbor Area Crappy Camera Club is meeting for its monthly gathering at the ARGUS Building on 1st and William. I'll be giving a short talk on Argus cameras at 5:30 pm in the Argus Museum.

For more information on previous Argust days:

The Argus Collector's Group Homepage
Argus Still-life

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I'm working my way through the rolls of film that I shot on the New York State trip. All I have left are a few rolls of 35mm and a roll of TechPan (120) to develop. Once again, it may be the shots I took with the Holga and the YashicaMat A that become my favorites.
seneca mill

Throughout central NY, one can find old mills and factories that have long been shuttered. Some are along the old Erie Canal, some along railroads, and others at the edge of cities and serve as reminders of past eras of self-reliance and Yankee inventiveness. Others are probably grim reminders of the toll of the industrial age - both in human and environmental aspects.
This Seneca Knitting Mill sits in Seneca Falls, home of the women's suffrage movement in the finger lakes region of New York. I wonder what was knitted there.