On the Way to Morgantown

On the Way to MorgantownTechnical information:
Camera: Wanderlust camera with Caltar-W 90mm lens
Film: Ilford FP4+ EI400

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Henneman Avenue

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Occasionally tours are offered at the old A. Hoen & Co. Lithographers building in Baltimore, which has been abandoned since 1981, and at some point I may offer some of the images taken there a month ago. Before the tour I did some wandering in the area, testing my Travelwide camera (noted in the previous blog entry).

This particular image is of Henneman Avenue, which offered more activity than a number of the other streets I walked along. What struck me was the mixture of nicely kept homes with those that were completely abandoned.

This is the last entry within that misfortune known as the year 2016. I have decided to try something not done in the past decade/500+ posts of this blog, which is to just display the image with little or no comment.

The Braddock Equivalents series gave me a chance to show images that were not about the object photographed, but more about the feelings I had at the time I photographed the object. At least for the subsequent year I will post images that may or may not conform to this idea (I am currently working on some images in both categories). I may post relevant technical information, as there are some who ask for this, but I do not want this to be considered to be a technical blog.

So let’s see what 2017 brings – certainly something a bit better than 2016.

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Stability

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Stability is the search for something reliable, something that will be there when we get back. So we nail it down, square it off, and expect it to be predictable. But everything tends toward entropy, so perhaps it’s best not to get too complacent.

This image was printed on Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper with homemade AZO silver gelatin emulsion, and is part of the Braddock Equivalents project.

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Alfalfa

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I am in the process of getting rid of most of my cameras – selling some, giving away others (anyone want an Argus C-3?). I find it too much of a distraction to have shelves of cameras I no longer use, and feel that someone else might be able to enjoy them instead.

I sold one on eBay a while back for more than expected, and attributed that to having included images from the camera.  When I decided to sell the Travelwide I got on Kickstarter a few years ago (using my 90mm lens) I took it out into the field to photograph.

This is a handheld 4×5″ camera and I was using a reducing back so that I could test it out with some 120 film.  The only 120 I had available at the time was ISO50 speed, so hand holding was tough (full open the lens is f8) but showed the proof of concept. I was in East Baltimore and photographed this guy who was selling alfalfa.  We spoke for a while and I do not really remember much about exactly what he had, but he certainly was interesting and passionate about his product.

The problem came when I used the camera with 4×5″ Tri-X – it was so much fun to use that now I am rethinking selling the camera. I’ll post some of those images soon but for the time being I think I’ll hold onto the thing (and perhaps get more Tri-X).

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The Things That Connect Us

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We just do not think about that which lies between buildings, at least, most people do not. I have photographed an inordinate number of scenes where a building has been removed to display what was. The result is often a shadow, a remnant that remains despite its absence.

In this particular case it appears that a lifeline was sent out, and rejected, resulting in a connection to nothing, dividing itself.

This image was printed on Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper with homemade AZO silver gelatin emulsion, and is part of the Braddock Equivalents project.

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The Path In

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There are numerous paths of entry – window, vent, black hole, shadow. There is symmetry, there is not symmetry. Mystery text attempts to give a hint as to what is going on, but it is indecipherable, letting us know that there is meaning but we are not privy to that meaning. So we stand outside, wondering.

This image was printed on cheap watercolor paper with homemade AZO silver gelatin emulsion, and is part of the Braddock Equivalents project.

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The Guardian

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We rely on so many things in our life and the assumption is that they will protect us without fail for as long as we wish. Of course, we all know that this is far from the truth and that all things, at some point, will not rise to expectations. So these diametrically opposed presumptions dictate our comfort level, which is not at all comforting.

This image was printed on Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper with homemade AZO silver gelatin emulsion, and is part of the Braddock Equivalents project.

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200

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In Braddock, a number spray painted on a building indicates that it is to be taken down.

Last year while in Braddock I watched a WTAE crew of two interviewed a man for a documentary they were working on.  He had lived in Braddock for many years but moved away, so I believe that they were getting some history from him.

As the two walked away to discuss something I approached and spoke with him.  During our conversation I noted the flowered panels placed in some of the windows of the house in back of us and wondered who owned the house.  He told me that that was in house in which he had grown up.

I have visited Fanwood, NJ, where I spent the first dozen years of my life, and the neighborhood incredibly looks very similar to how I remembered it from fifty year ago (of course, everything appeared larger when I was there).  It is not possible for me to imagine living in a house and returning many years later to see it abandoned, ready to be taken down.

This image was printed on Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper with homemade AZO silver gelatin emulsion, and is part of the Braddock Equivalents project.

P.S.  I would like to know what happened to that documentary – I do not live near Pittsburgh so I never had an opportunity to see it.  The crew interviewed me because I have been working on my Braddock Project for years and I would like to know if any of that was used or if it just fell on the cutting room floor.

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They Come Out At Night

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At times the images pile up like slices of bread, some put on a plate to consume now, some stuck in a bag for later, and some crammed in the freezer to be either eaten later or forgot about until the freezer is finally cleaned out.

As a Music Theory and Composition major for part of my college years it has always irked me that writing music was something that had to sit on the sideline during my working career. It is all about choices and one of them was to devote a fair amount of my energies to photography. Not a particularly fast writer, I knew that if I did try to compose music it would be sub-par due to a lack of time. I am finding that my retirement has given me additional time, but there are still only 24 hours in a day. Funny how that works.

But music has always been of high importance to me and I have been working on a few things. This is why I listened with great interest to many of the submissions in the weekly challenge at Disquiet.com. I realized that participating in this would be one way to ease back into composition.

As I was putting together my submission for Junto Project 0246, images started to come into my head and the most prevalent was of a zone plate image that I had created called They Come Out At Night. This piece even got a mention in the Baltimore Sun a couple of years ago but for some reason I had never gotten around to adding it to the blog. I can now consider it added.

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To Climb Or To Fly

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When I think about the numerous mistakes I’ve made I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had made a different choice. Looking back and figuring out what the mistakes were is a simple matter, but changing the consequences does not always mean that a more beneficial outcome would have resulted.

While playing with my granddaughter in the town center in Rockville yesterday I got into a conversation with someone who showed a bit of wonder at the fact that I was able to quit smoking. Smoking jumps out as one of the stupidest things I ever did (I smoked for eight and a half years, through high school, college, and a bit thereafter).

I had tried to quit several times without success but when the price of cigarettes jumped to 60 cents a pack affordability became a real problem. At the time I was only able to find a 20 hour a week job making minimum wage, which was $1.65 per hour at the time, so doing the math shows that I was really having problems making ends meet.

Quitting was the hardest thing I ever did and after I had not smoked for two weeks I knew that I finally had the habit licked, as I continually told myself that if I ever smoked another cigarette then the previous two weeks would have been for naught.

Obviously, never having started would have been the smart thing and if I were to go back then that would be the case. However, knowing at the time that I had done something that so many others had tried and failed gave me a real sense of accomplishment, and I felt that if I could do that then I could do many other things, a feeling that I had never experienced to that extent in the past.

This print is part of the Braddock Equivalents project and was made on Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper with handmade silver gelatin emulsion (AZO formula).

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