Saturday, October 31, 2015

Notes From a Road Trip- Part 1.

I have not been posting much this past month -- I have been busy with many things, and for over a week, I was on the road in New York State. Although Michigan has been my home for the past 34 years, my first 24 were spent in NY.  Born in Watertown, grew up pretty much in Parishville (at the edge of the Adirondacks), and went to college in Syracuse.  My wife Adrienne is from Amenia, in Dutchess Co., about 2 hrs N of New York City.  So for me, anything below Syracuse is "down-state."
I intended this trip to be primarily a photo trip, visiting places where I lived many years ago, and to explore some new spots, too.  Some of it was visiting my in-laws in Amenia, and yes, it was a lot of driving.  We put 1,958 miles on during this trip, and my 4-cylinder 2009 Ford Escape carried us along quite well with a max Avg. MPG of 33 mpg and a low of about 29.
Equipment-wise, I packed relatively simply for a change.  Two bags.  Bag one had a Nikon FM2N, 24mm, 50mm and 105 mm lenses; Leica M2 w/35mm 1.4 lens; Yashica A TLR.  Bag 2 had my Nikon F100, 24-50mmm, 85mm 1.8, and 180mm 2.8 lenses, flash, various filters.  Also in the bag was my Olympus Trip 35, a Diana mini, and a Holga.  One digital camera -- my Fuji X100S was used as well to supplement the film shots.  The F100 was used for shooting slide film, and the FM2N was used with b&w.  Most of the B&W films were Ilford.  Over the course of 8 days I shot 15 rolls of film and a several hundred digi shots.
some film to be processed

end of the day on 10/21

We left Ann Arbor on 10/19, choosing to take Rt. 80 throgh Ohio and PA, and then drop down to 86 (17) once we were in NY.  That meant we were by-passing the NYS thruway through Buffalo and Rochester, and on smaller roads to see what was there, which is my preferred way to travel when I am not in a hurry.  We entered at State Line, NY (really that is the name of the place), and ended up in Westfield, NY.  Along the way we encountered mile after mile of vineyards, and Westfield is where C.E. Welch moved his company to in 1897.  An imposing brick building in Westfield was erected in 1910 by Welch.  We stopped there and I walked a bit around the town and shot with the Fuji.  A small diner caught my eye, but we were not yet ready for lunch.

Small towns are almost always interesting places to explore -- some have charm, and some lack it in abundance. Westfield has charm.  The downtown was pretty active for a Monday morning, and a smattering of small shops were open.
The town has a small "town square" that was quite pretty.

The town hall.
I don't know if Welch is still a big player in the town, but I suspect that many of the grapes grown nearby end up in their jams or juice.
The next part will have detail on the trip to northern NY from Syracuse.  Stay tuned.

Gotta love the old signs.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

What a Weekend! The FPP Comes to Ann Arbor.

Many months ago, Mike Raso of the Film Photography Project asked me if I thought Ann Arbor would be a good spot to hold a one-day photowalk, and if the Ann Arbor Area Crappy Camera Club would be interested in assisting/participating.  I immediately said "Yes!"  I knew that people would love photographing here, and the added attraction of the Argus Museum would be another plus.  So, we made the plans, Leslie Lazenby  and I got together and coordinated  the schedule, and hoped for the best.  Nearly 60 people pre-registered for the FPP Ann Arbor PhotoWalk, which was held on October 3.
On Friday, Oct. 2, Mike Raso met me downtown for lunch, and that evening, Leslie, Mike, and I stuffed the goody bags for the attendees and firmed up what we would be doing the next day.  Saturday dawned chilly, windy, and a possibility of rain.  Undaunted, photographers started showing up at our rendezvous point at CameraMall before 9:30 am.  Desmond, Craig, and Christy were there to greet us with hot coffee, doughnuts, water, apples, granola bars, and more.  People were thrilled to have a real camera store to shop at and come in from the cool weather, and the place really had a vibe going.

Eventually, we split into several smaller groups, led by A3C3 members, and headed around the campus area and downtown to show off our town and get people shooting away.  Film cameras were clicking, from Dianas to Hasselblads.  It was a fun group of people-- some coming from as far away as California, Vancouver, North Carolina, Tennessee, Ontario, Minnesota, and New Jersey.  The participants were in good spirits the entire day, and while the weather got us damp, nobody complained.
After we split up for lunch, we then reassembled at 2:30 at our second rendezvous, the Argus Museum.  It is the ONLY camera museum that is in the same building where the cameras were once made.  Cheryl Chidester and her volunteers had cider and doughnuts and other treats ready for the group.  There is a new exhibit in the gallery called "Alchemy" featuring a lot of cyanotype work which I highly recommend.  Everyone was eager for the group photo, followed by the FPP gear give-away.
Some great items were given away: (view the event here)
  • Nikkormat 35mm Outfit
  • 50mm / 28mm / 75-200mm lens
  • Maxxum 7000 35mm Outfit
  • 35 - 80mm / 70-300mm lens
  • Contax 137 35mm Outfit
  • 50mm f1.9 / 35-135mm / 80-210mm
  • Canon FTb 35mm Outfit
  • 50mm f1.4 / 24mm f2 / 100-300mm Zoom
  • Nikon EM 35mm Outfit
  • 30-80mm / 80-205mm lens
  • Argus C3 "The Brick" w/ orig booklet
  • Lomo LC-A
  • Argus A-Four
  • Zenit 122K w/ 50mm f2 lens
  • Zenit 412LS w/ 50mm f2 lens
  • Nikon FM10 w/ 35-105mm lens
  • Olympus 35SP Rangefinder Camera
  • Fed 4 35mm Camera
  • Fed 5 35mm Camera
  • Canon QL17
  • Praktika LTL3 w/ 50mm f1.8 lens
  • Seagull 4A 120 TLR
  • YashicaMat 120 TLR
  • Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash, Bantam, and Jiffy-620.
  • various photo books
  • big bag of film
  • Ensign 120 6x9 cm box camera

photo by Tom Nighswander

We hung around until 5, when the museum had to close.  We then met again at 8 pm, and I led another photowalk for night photography.  The wind had died down, so it actually was pretty good weather.  20 or so folks were on the night walk, and we meandered our way downtown, often being asked by people "is there someone famous nearby?"  I guess our tripods and cameras gave us the look of a bunch of paparazzi!  There is lots of neon downtown, and I think people really enjoyed seeing our town at night.  It was a lively Saturday evening, for sure. We ended up at The Old Town for beer and food, ending our evening.  It was a nice finish to an amazing day.

Sunday was the day when Matt, Mike, Leslie and I set up for recording FPP podcast episodes at my house.  We worked from 10 until 8, and I have no idea how many episodes or parts of episodes we did, but I know my brain was fried by the end of the day!  It was a lot of fun, though, and I look forward to hearing Mike's well-crafted edits later on.  

One thing I had reinforced by the FPP AAPW -- film shooters are a diverse and fun bunch.  We have an amazing community, and I think the FPP has facilitated and broadened the appeal of using film.  It was no surprise to me that everyone had fun, and I could tell by the conversations going on around me that people really enjoyed the cameraderie  (excuse the pun) that the FPP has created.

I thank Mike Raso and Leslie Lazenby for their hard work to make this event happen. Also, special thanks to:
Camera Mall
The Argus Museum
Ultrafine Online
The Darkroom
(Obviously, the FPP Store)
the A3C3 volunteers (Tom, Patti, Adrienne, Heather, Tim)