Friday, May 12, 2017

Sometimes Pancakes, but mostly brownies

It occurred to me today that I had not shared a recipe in a while.

Today I fix that!

I love a good brownie.  Actually, I adore a good brownie and the best recipe for Brownies is one I make from scratch.

Box mixes are kind of gross to me, plus they have added things in the ingredient list that serve as preservatives...

If you make a batch of brownies, they should be good enough to eat in two days and not have leftovers for forever and eternity.

The following recipe is one I've used for about 20 years...seriously, 20! 

It uses Ghiradelli sweet ground chocolate and cocoa as a base.  This is a little on the pricey side when you first get it, but the up side is you can make multiple batches of brownies with a tin of it, and trust me, you won't be sorry after you have them the first time!

Besides, how can you go wrong with Ghiradelli!!!

Get some ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy!

Ghiradelli Award Winning Brownies

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bassett Quarry

Another just up the road kind of photo...

Also, for the past few days I have been unable to comment on your comments because of a Firefox glitch.  I think I'm good again now.  I do appreciate your visits.

Holga with Tri-x

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

more of the same until I change...

 bad storms start here...

This road goes to Los Angeles                           Looks like a light leak on the right

 a couple of minutes later looking the opposite direction, toward Chicago



It thundered here too...

all made with a Holga 120S and good ol Tri-x

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The slow road home...

I've mentioned before that Hwy 60 in New Mexico is my favorite road.

Route 66 gets all the attention, but 60 is where my heart is.

This is just north of where the Very Large Array of radio telescopes know, the dishes...

The exempt tracks are for transporting the big antennae to their different spots.

 the dishes in the distance...right now they are close together...but not for long...


the view driving home on the slow road....

all photos made with my "good" Holga and Tri-x

Friday, May 5, 2017

Pie Town

It's getting harder and harder to find old pay phones....

Found this one in Pie Town...


Holga with Tri x

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Thunder Tree

Ansco pix panorama camera with the aperture altered to make it f/8...or something like that

Ilford SFX 200 film

Saturday, April 29, 2017

enough snow already

We had a little snowstorm blow through last night and early this morning.  Twelve inches fell and made it look like winter of the deep in my yard.

Here's a3D pinhole photo from the back yard.


I love my back yard when it looks like this because it reminds me of the story of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and I think Aslan could just pop out at any time.

Tomorrow is World Wide Pinhole Day!

I'm not sure what pinhole camera i'm going to use except the 3D one for certain ( it's so much fun) and then another one just to play around with.  Maybe an Altoids pinhole or a paint can, or an old coffee can I converted.

I like the idea of a rustic, rough kind of camera for pinhole day. 

I'm going to Belen for the day, just to walk the streets and check out some old signs.  There's an old Harvey House there that is always a good place to poke around.

 Wherever you go or whatever you do, have a great day of fun.

Friday, April 28, 2017

3D printed Stereo pinhole camera

This is so cool!

I had the pleasure of testing this jewel of a camera this past month and it is a lot of fun!

It's 3D printed, easy to load, use, and is robust. The coolest part is you can make stereo photos with it without doing a lot of work.

Just load and go!  

Here's the link to the camera and where to order it.

pinholeprinted flyer6x6-stereo camera

And here are a few samples from it.

You can view this as stereo by relaxing and looking at the photo, but kind of focusing your eyes at a place past your monitor.  Once the two images divide into three, concentrate on the middle image and you should be able to see it as a 3D photo. Crossing your eyes will give you an effect, but it will not be correct.  Try viewing straight on, and just relax.

Once you learn the trick to "free viewing" it's hard not to see them as 3D.

Here's another one to try.

The camera has a tripod fitting so you can easily use it with a tripod, but the bottom of the camera is really flat, so setting it on any firm surface works too!

Most of these were made using 3-5 seconds exposures in bright sun. The black and white is Fuji Acros 100.

Another one, this time in color.

This one was a bit funky since I used some color Lomo film, but the effect is still great! The backing paper on the Lomo film is notorious for being a bit weak and causing some weird effects.

  Another one in color.

 As you can see, it's a lot of fun to have and use. The ideas are limitless!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cat Napper

another odd street scene, this one in Durango, Colorado....

Diana vintage camera with Tri-x

Sunday, April 23, 2017

my heart beats with the tide

I think this could be my tiny house for summer...

Ansco pix panorama camera with the mask removed


Saturday, April 22, 2017

the pier to the end of the world

It's Earth Day.

Let's hope it doesn't come to an end like this pier....

homemade pinhole on paper

Friday, April 21, 2017

it's not a dead end road, but it doesn't go anywhere

and that's fine with me.

Being a claustrophobic type, my preference is to be outside with no people, no internet and no traffic.

This place is about 20 miles from my house and I visit it often.

Another out in the middle of nowhere kind of place.  With a few cows, a windmill and open  land as far as you can see.

The stars meet the horizon here and when they fall they make the Earth shake.

Holga with Tri-x

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

some things just seem a bit odd to me....

Sometimes I'm at a loss for a descriptor for things I see along the road....this might be one of those times.....

Spotmatic camera...I can at least tell you that.

seen in Moriarty, New Mexico along old Route 66

Sunday, April 16, 2017

there may be more trees here

more trees,

Wherever I look there seems to be trees. These happened to pose nicely for me during my trip to The Bosque del Apache recently.

This is one of those photos I'd like to walk into...I guess I sorta did.

Vivitar Wide and slim with Tri-x

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

rambling about nothing but maybe something...

Have you ever made a photo that you really liked, but when you shared it, not many others shared your zeal for it?

This is such a photo.

For some reason I like it, a lot, probably more than I should judging by the reaction I've received elsewhere about it.

Here it is:

I made it two years ago during a little road trip to Tucson with the Vivitar Wide and Slim and some old Kodak Gold 200.

It's kind of Stephen least in my eyes. Mr. Shore would most likely think "no way".

But there it is.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Vertical is the new black..

I read that Vertical is the New Black a few days ago and am wondering if shooting vertical, or in portrait mode will really overtake landscape?

I kind of doubt it, but since the cell phone photographers have bombarded the airwaves with selfies and snaps, it just might happen.

In the meantime, I'm sharing a photo I made a couple of years ago of a donkey that lives up the road from me.

I have used  it as a "model" before, but the darn thing always wants to eat whatever it is I have in my hands, which is almost always a camera!

Photo made with a self assembled Gakkenflex that came in a kit from a Japanese magazine. 

As I recall it took about an hour of intently figuring out the assembly by photos as the instructions were in Japanese.

It's all plastic goodness with the exception of a few metal internal springs for the shutter.

I shot it in vertical mode since the Gakkenflex is a pseudo TLR style camera where you look down into the viewfinder.

Here's the donkey smiling and wishing I had an apple instead of the camera.

There are clone versions of the Gakkenflex camera kit made by Recesky.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

a little bit of art...well mostly a doodle

Sometimes I like to sit with a black pen and just doodle. It's always been a way to relax and just let my mind clear itself.

I've read that doodling helps with memory and retaining whatever it is you're listening to while making marks on paper.

This one is from this morning.  I didn't want to dust and sweep the house as I normally do on Saturday mornings, so got out my box of pens and pre cut watercolor paper, put on some nice Classical music and just started making marks...

I used a uni-ball AIR. which makes a nice solid black line.  It didn't run out of ink and the pen didn't skip a single time.  It dries fairly quick, but when you are basically washing the paper with ink, it can smear a bit if you are not careful.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 7, 2017

and then there was a dinosaur

a Sinclair dinosaur.

I'm always happy to come across these old Sinclair signs.

This one is in Menard, Texas.  

Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim camera with Tri-X.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

and it's April!

April arrived with snow, and a little Hummingbird showed up the last week of March!

They usually don't show up until April 15th....must be global warming...?

These are just a few random shots from the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim.  I really enjoy using this camera. It fits in my pocket and clicks happily at things I point it at. Some of the things I point it at I don't that big deer head in a pasture I saw while driving down an old farm road in Texas.

Here's a gratuitous shot out the window while driving down Hwy 60 in New Mexico. There's miles and miles of nothing man made to look at...I like it a lot.

Back lit trees. I'm a sucker for trees with the sun at their back. Makes me want to take a nap though...

Some more trees back lit....Bosque Del Apache trees.  You might get tired of looking at trees, but I never do.

All photos made with the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim and Tri-x....the backlit trees were made with a clone Olive San camera.  Same thing as the VUWS, except it's purple!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

New photos and a new leak....

As you know, I've been using a Spotmatic F  lately and really liking it.

Well it has developed a light leak...except I think it developed the light leak when I sent it in to have it cleaned and adjusted and to get the seals replaced- it didn't leak prior to the repair.

Anyway, I've got a seal kit coming in the mail from Jon Goodman in Dallas, who I've bought from before and will do the seals myself after they arrive. I'm kind of bummed about the seals not being properly done before, but stuff happens.

Onward to some photos!

This first one is of a little dog I met last week in Buffalo Gap, Texas.

Her name is Rosalinda, and she was somehow aware of the light leak.  Dogs can see spirits and things amiss in the world, so it's good to see she knew which way to look.

Rosalinda belongs to Lola, of Lola's Mexican Cafe in Buffalo Gap.

Lola is quite the celebrity in this small Texas town and makes some pretty mean tacos!

Next we have a photo from the same light leaky Spotmatic, except this frame escaped the intrusion of light somehow.

I was trying to get some sunlit cobwebs that were all over the ground but just couldn't pull it off..instead, I got this little back lit weed, and a tick.

Yes, a tick. You have to accept bugs on the ground getting on you when you are literally in their turf.

This is Fuji Natura 1600 film.

It works well in shade and late afternoon Sun but doesn't deter ticks one little bit!

Friday, March 17, 2017

that little hill in the distance behind the gate

Is a mountain.

Well, more likely a big hill since the area is called Pedernal Hills.

Pedernal Mountain is up north in Georgia O'Keeffe country and this isn't up north.

This little fellow is a landmark I see everyday no matter which way I drive.

It's not far from the house so it got snapped up by the spotmatic.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Blame it on the weeds growing in an old parking lot...

I’ll try to keep this organized and not a firehose stream of consciousness piece that wants to gush out of my head-but no promises.

Earlier this week I stopped by a large overgrown parking lot to take some pictures of the grass and weeds growing out of cracks in the pavement.
I’ve had my eye on this place for a while and finally just stopped by since the light was right and figured since the lot next to it had been taken over by a used car dealership, this old lot might not have much uncivilized life left and I wanted it as a record, and as a reminder that no matter how in control we think we humans are, we are not in control when our backs are turned on nature.

Nature takes its course, has its own way and does well what it pleases. We can mow, snip, trim, weed, burn, shovel, dig, cut and saw and pave our stinkin lives away trying to get control but as soon as we stop to breathe or take a break, the weeds, grass, trees, bugs, birds and little critters in the dirt keep on keeping on.  And Hallelujah for that!

Where is this going? Let’s go back to the photo taking part.

With me, was my recently acquired Pentax Spotmatic F that came with a 55mm 1.8 lens. This is a good setup. It’s all manual and just works.

I have a big soft place in my heart for Pentaxes. A Pentax was my first real camera way back when I started freelancing for newspapers in the 80’s, so when a Spotmatic F and lens showed up for cheap, I plunged off into the deep...

The problem is when I was walking around the parking lot, looking at tufts and clumps of grass growing out of the cracks, I had to keep backing up to get more in the frame. I wanted to get as much in as possible to show how big and out of control the place had become.

No matter how far I stepped back, I wanted more. 

More weeds, more grass more chaos.

Stepping back is not really a problem, but all of my photo making days have been spent with a wide lens shooting wide scenes. 

Wide open spaces wide. That’s me right there in the wide open space standing in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere shooting from here to Kansas. Like outer space wide too! You’ve seen my work.

At least 35mm often 28mm, and 22mm. Even wider with pinhole, so instead of stepping back, I’m more used to stepping forward.

Moving back to get more is a new thing. I didn’t think I would like the pictures. I thought I’d return on another day with a wide lens and redo them. And step forward like I’m accustomed and more comfortable doing.

I’m claustrophobic too. I don’t do tight, or pinned or confinement or street photography. It’s too busy and bound up for me to do and live to tell about it.

It’s why I don’t like zoos, or things locked up in pens….but that’s another story. 

Back to the weeds and grass and stepping back.

The 55mm lens was not really doing it for me, but it’s what I had with me and I wasn’t going to leave the light and the weeds alone until I shot the whole roll.

I developed the film and realized I was happy with the photos. Surprised even!

Not about backing up to get more in, but to see and feel the grass and the texture and the crispy dryness of the blades rustling in the breeze. The scratchiness of the pebbles in the pavement, the bug crawling under the discarded coffee cup. The 55 mm lens did this for me and I didn’t realize what it had done until the next day while driving. An epiphany!

It was the realization that sometimes to get the bigger picture; you need to get closer to it.

Not necessarily macro close, I’m not ready for that and may never be, but instead of assuming I need to shoot everything wide to get the scale across, a little bit tighter is fine.

Maybe it’s the realization that refinement is good. A different take on the story is there too. It’s just not my usual wide story, but a story of scale no less. A narrower path for a change.
Where to go from here?

I’m going to use the 55mm lens exclusively for a while and get to know my favorite places in a different perspective. Just writing this kind of makes me anxious, but it’s going to be good. Not like using a vacuum cleaner instead of a broom good, but good enough that the end result is clean.


Here are a few sample shots from the outing. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring is in the air...and a star party

The trees are budding out, it's getting warmer, the days are longer and I painted my kitchen!

Yes, it's time to Spring clean and spiffy up.

It was also time to go to a UNM star party last Friday night and help out some students do their astronomy "labs" or homework.

I took my Spotmatic SPF with me and shot a few night photos at the UNM observatory.

Black and white, Arista EDU 100 speed film

f/4 and 5 minutes does it on a 55mmTakumar 1.8  lens.

I like this combo. The camera has the right amount of heft to it and feels nice in hand.

I used a tripod for the 5 minute shots and you can see some of the students left ghost images during the exposures.

The UNM Observatory is open to the public along with students during regular school weeks.  This week is Spring Break, so no star party will be held on Friday.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Happy Pancake Day!

Yes, there's a day for pancakes and today is the day!

Go have a stack!!!

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Busy Mind

Sometimes my brain just won't shut down. it thinks too much, especially at night when I'm laying in bed trying to go to sleep. My mind churns.

I have tried various things to quiet my mind, like meditating, counting backwards from 100, getting up and eating a teaspoonful of peanut name it and I have probably tired it.

* If you are wondering about the peanut butter, it's because I read that if you go to sleep with a little bit of protein in your tummy, you will sleep better. I don't have any trouble sleeping, it's the falling asleep that is the problem.

One thing that has helped, is keeping a pencil and paper at the bedside to write down thoughts or things I don't want to forget to do the following day. It seems part of the mind churning has been going over and over lists of things to do, that I didn't want to forget, so keeping a little list has helped ease the anxiety of forgetting and has let me fall asleep easier.

But why even worry about such things? That's a big question I have. Why worry? I'm retired and don't have to do anything important, so why does my brain insist on churning thoughts.

I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on this and remedies if you have some.

In the meantime, here's an accidental double exposure which is kind of what the inside of my brain might look like when I'm thinking too much before falling asleep.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

and now for some art....

Every year for the past ten, I have been drawing on the envelope for my younger sisters birthday card.

Sometimes there's no card inside, just a drawing on an envelope.  It's just a thing I started doing for her some time ago. 

We don't exchange gifts, not even for Christmas, but we do send each other random things throughout the year.

Anyway, I drew this one last night. It just came to me to do it. 

Maybe it was because I found this uber cool box of 25% cotton white linen envelopes for two dollars at the thrift store yesterday. 

I left room for a bird postage stamp and lots of room for here address.

At any rate, this is for her and her birthdays' not until May, but maybe she'll get it early!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Spotmatic love

Have I ever mentioned my love for Pentax cameras?

Not to go overboard with the backstory, my first camera as a working adult was a Pentax K1000 that I bought new in 1985 for $100.  

It came from a Kmart that was going out of business, and I needed a camera to do some freelance newspaper work.  I still have the camera and it still works like a champ.

Fast forward to a week ago.

While perusing the online auctions, I found a near mint Spotmatic F with a Takumar 55mm f/1.8 lens for sale.  I've lusted for one of these for quite a while and as you have probably guessed I pushed the "buy it now" button and the camera is mine!

In my excitement, I totally tanked the first test roll through the camera.  I mis-fed the film in the tank and most all of the photos were unevenly developed.

Here's one that was salvageable of some flowers.

You can see a blemish on the right side of the frame where the film kind of got mashed in the developing reel. The background going to nothing is nice though.

This next one is a mystery shot from that same roll.

I'll just let your imagination make it into whatever you want to see....I kinda like it.

After seeing this disaster of sorts, I reloaded the Spotmatic and took it out for another test roll.

Apparently still excited, I forgot to change the ISO from 400 (the first roll) to 100 for the second roll.


Anyway, these are a bit better although more punchy than my taste prefers.

The focus of the lens is buttery smooth and I really like the heft of this camera.

There's just something about using an all manual camera with manual focus that makes me happy.

This lens also makes decent close ups. Closeups really aren't my thing, but it's nice to have a lens that handles them easily.

The Spotmatic F will be my goto camera this Spring. The days are getting longer and the weather is shaping up to be a nice one. There may be some astrophotograhy in the future as well.

In the mean time, I sent the camera off for a cleaning and adjustment  to Eric Hendrickson  

In about a week the camera will be back here and making photos just in time for some Spring color! 

I can't wait!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Bosque Trail

I joined the Friends of the Bosque group over the I'll probably be showing/sharing more bosque shots in the weeks to come. 

The old cottonwood trees along the Rio Grande are stately sentinels of the area and are just as beautiful without leaves as they are covered in them.

This trail is shared by all sorts of wildlife and if you look closely you can see some horseshoe prints in the trail.

A great horned owl hooted out a hello while I was walking, but I never saw it....I'm sure it saw me.


The trail is just shy of being a mile long, but if you take a different route, it stretches out to about 2 miles.  It does the soul good to walk among big old trees and see birds scratching in the leaf litter for bugs and seeds. 

This is near the area where I heard the owl. I really wanted to see it, but he had other plans and stayed incognito.

Olympus Infinity 3.5 with some old Tri-x

A life is good combo!

Sometimes Pancakes, but mostly brownies

It occurred to me today that I had not shared a recipe in a while. Today I fix that! I love a good brownie.  Actually, I adore a good b...