Sunday, April 24, 2022

Zoom at the Zoo

I have made pictures I like at the zoo with quite a variety of old film cameras.  In terms of productivity, the champ is my Pentax SP with the Yashica Auto Yashinon Zoom 1:4.5 f=75mm~230mm.  I've used the big old zoom for little else, but at the zoo where the subject distance is largely under control of the animals the zoom gets me the tight compositions that I am looking for.   The maximum 4.5 aperture provides a slightly dim image in the viewfinder; that, along with the limited depth of field at 230mm, makes focusing on moving targets challenging.  However, with proper focus and an adequate shutter speed the resolution of the lens leaves little to complain about.

Savannah Dreams

Matilda will be a year old on July 20th.

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The Wikipedia page on the Hippo is worth a look:

... After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third-largest land mammal and is the heaviest extant land artiodactyl. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, the closest living relatives of the Hippopotamidae are cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises, etc.), from which they diverged about 55 million years ago ...

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Miles gone by

 I revisited the southernmost section of the Petroglyph National Monument.  It has been quite a while -- five years? ten? -- I'm not sure.  Memories of the place were sparked by a recent discovery of the photographic work of David Grant Noble who spent about forty years documenting ancient ruins and rock art of the Southwest. I'm not sure how I missed seeing Noble's excellent pictures sooner; I only became aware of them because the Maxwell Museum has scheduled an exhibit and artist talk in May. I was pleased to find a couple copies of Noble's book, In the Places of the Spirits, in the Albuquerque Library.

I was also delighted to find that Craig Childs has published several books since I read House of Rain twelve years ago. I decided to start catching up with Childs by reading Tracing Time; Seasons of Rock Art on the Colorado Plateau. Childs' approach to thinking about the ancient cultures of the Southwest is informed by familiarity with the academic research, but it is fundamentally the product of a unique personal immersion in the region's arid environment.

One of the topics Childs deals with in Tracing Time is the destruction of the ancient petroglyphs and pictographs.  In previous books he made the case for leaving any traces of past cultures completely undisturbed.  In this later work he suggests that those who deface and destroy ancient rock art are motivated by assertions of power and ownership which likely were behind similar destruction in ancient times.  It is not uncommon to find rock art panels with many layers of pecked or painted designs laid down over centuries.  The difference, of course, is that the destructive process has been greatly speeded up by exponential population growth along with greatly more efficient tools of destruction including firearms, spray paint and off-road vehicles.

Over the years I have maintained this blog I have at regular intervals acknowledged the idea that my photographic efforts would be enhanced by a more focused and deliberate approach, as opposed to just walking for miles and recording interesting sights I came across.  My journey back to Mesa Prieta yesterday was a concrete expression of that strategic option, brought about now by necessity.  I just can no longer wander for miles at a time to indulge an urge to record serendipitous discoveries.  I'll likely get back to National Petroglyph Monument again soon, and also hope to visit some of the many other rock art sites within a day's drive from Albuquerque.

I am also thinking I will try to narrow my choice of cameras to a few which are likely to produce reliable results to match my current photographic ambitions.  I exposed my recent roll of slightly expired Tri-X in my Mamiya C330, first on a walk beside the river, and then during my visit to the rock art site.  What I found in the process was that it would have been wise to quickly review the camera's manual before setting out as I encountered some problems with lens swapping which I was not prepared for. The C330 is the most versatile tlr available, but the controls are decidedly unintuitive.

Saturday, April 09, 2022

Nikon Lightweight

I carried around my Nikon EM for a week loaded with Kentmere 400.  I usually shoot the camera with the Series E 50mm lens as it makes a nice lightweight kit, but this time I mounted the 50/1.8.  I processed the film with some Ilford Ilfotec DD-X which produced ok results in subdued light, but too much grain and contrast in full sun. 

Mad Cat

Cattle Drive

Casamero Pueblo

Fairlane 500