Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I went to the nearby botanical gardens this morning with a newly installed pinhole with a 0.150 mm aperture. That is a little small from my focal length of around 35 mm, but it seems a bit sharper to me than the recommended 0.220 mm aperture. I do need to blacken the back side of the pinhole disk as I got a narrow, arcing flare in a couple frames. The sunny scene exposure at 100 ISO with this f-stop is two seconds.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

morning flight

The world probably doesn't need more balloon photos, but it's hard to resist their appeal as they drift close by. This one touched down about 25 feet from my car just after I had parked for a walk near the river. The pilot was following another balloon that had made a perfect landing a few minutes earlier, coming down just yards from the chase truck. A fickle breeze pushed the second one a bit too close to a car-filled parking lot, and the pilot shot a jet of flame up into his envelope to lift up again and drift southward over the riverside bosque.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rio Grande Bosque

Friday, June 26, 2009

Public Transportation

Phoenix is a good place to indulge an interest in urban design. There is a lot of interesting late Twentieth-Century architecture downtown, and new buildings are always on the way up. I think the place is particularly appealing for me partly because downtown Albuquerque is such an architectural disaster area. Also, it is about as easy to get around in Phoenix as in Albuquerque, even though the Arizona city is much the larger.

Phoenicians probably thought the traffic jam on Central due to the light rail construction would never end. Now that it is operational, however, one of the most impressive aspects of the new system is the way it fits so seamlessly into the city grid. The trolleys have their own lane down the middle of the streets and the rate of travel is well-coordinated with the lights and traffic flow to interfere very minimally with the vehicular traffic. The sleek design of the trolley cars and the minimalist stations fits very nicely with the look of the city.

At present, the ticketing system is largely symbolic. The saguaro-enhanced tickets are dispensed from machines near the stops at a reasonable rate of $2.50 for all-day transportation. Nobody bothers to check if riders actually have tickets after boarding, but I suppose that will change once the ridership is firmly established.

Electronic parking meters and ticketing machines like those in Phoenix have recently become nearly as ubiquitous as the ATM. The previous generations of such devices, while based on mechanical designs, nevertheless incorporated many of the same concepts for managing service delivery currently in use. There is a very fine article on the development of ticket-dispensing to be found at the Design Observer blog.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cottonwood Bosque

The flowers are Evening Primrose beside the toy train track at Tingley Beach where I left the car. I grew some like these from seed this year, but haven't seen any flowers on them so far. Maybe next year.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Friday, June 12, 2009

back at the river

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The VUWS Phenomenon

 When people talk about the topics of "film vs digital" or the ever popular "death of film", due recognition is seldom given to the toy cameras and their users around the world. The Holga may still be the champ in the toy category, but the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim is breathing down its neck.

Another interesting aspect of these simple cameras is the price they are presently bringing. This is due in part to the fact that production of the Vivitar UW&S was discontinued about the time the camera got really popular. The prices shot through the roof, and haven't really abated even though the VUWS has been resurrected under a couple other names.

I paid $10 for my first VUWS and thought that a bit high. The next one, I found at a thrift store for 99 cents. Meanwhile, I've seen the camera selling as high as $50 on ebay, and routinely at the $20-$40 level. My guess would be that the east Asian factories churning out these cameras are doing so for a couple bucks each, at most.

Now, for my dilemma. I just picked up another Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim in unused condition for 99 cents. The wrist strap is still neatly folded and held in place by a rubber band. There is also a folded instruction sheet entitled, "35 mm Outdoor Camera". I'm not going to sell it for the outrageous price it would probably bring, but I'd like to see someone get it that would put it to good use. Suggestions will be welcomed.

(The vuws went to Norman.)

Monday, June 08, 2009

down by the river

I've been waiting all year for the blooming of the yerba mansa near the river. The patches more exposed to the sunlight are just starting to bloom, while those in the shade of the cottonwoods are still without flowers.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

steal this photo

Modern computer screens do a pretty nice job of displaying photo art. I've made a number of wallpaper images recently to put on my desktop, and I've decided to share some of them on a new page at my Photography web site. No need for expensive framing, or for pounding nails in the wall. Just download and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I couldn't pass up this ten-dollar bakelite beauty during a Sunday visit to the flea market. I first made some traditional b&w images on Acros. Then, I used the digital to shoot a few through the brilliant viewfinder of the Super Seventy-five.