May 11, 2017 – Père Lachaise Cemetery

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This is an image that I have always loved, and it was a happy accident. After traveling through Europe, I came home with a giant pile of film that needed to be developed. I was still in my early days with photography and most of what I brought home was absolute garbage – but I shot enough film that I ‘lucked’ my way into a few decent images.

While I was in the darkroom, drawing my first prints from the Paris Cemetery rolls, somebody came in and flipped the lights on, not knowing that I was there. When this happens while a print is being lifted, it can create an effect known as ‘solarization,’ where the light short-circuits the developing process because the printing-out paper is still light sensitive. That’s why the highlight areas of this image are a neutral gray with what appear to be glowing edges.

I can’t even recall whose tomb this is; I just remember that the carving grabbed my attention and I took a photograph of it. Maybe somebody out there knows – let me know in the comments.

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Murder Of Crows At The Cemetery

Murder of Crows postThe wind came from the southwest yesterday afternoon, bringing with it the threat of colder days. Flags whipped their heavy canvas sounds into the air, popping in the sky, rattling the halyards. A cluster of dry, cotton candy clouds slid across the darkening landscape.

I took a walk out to Lenexa Cemetery, a small patch of land we used to drive past on our way to church every Sunday morning. I know a few people buried there, but I’d never walked the grounds – only driven past. It strikes me as odd, these cemeteries, tucked in, flanked on either side by apartment buildings, within eyesight of the Hy-Vee Supermarket, FedEx Office, the McDonald’s. I’ve grown used to cemeteries always being on the outskirts, but that model doesn’t work in cities like this, which continue to expand their circumference, slowly devouring the pastures that I remember from my childhood.

A murder of crows were perched on the mausoleum in the center of the yard. One would occasionally pop into the air, circle around fighting the wind, only to settle back down onto it’s original perch. As I approached, their rhythmic cawing rose. Their heads would shoot left, shoot right, cock to the side, as if considering whether or not to fly away from me and into the unforgiving wind.

Save for the sound of their cawing, the wind in my ears, everything seemed still, despite the tide-pool of traffic that circled around the cemetery. Life in the city continued to pulse forward – just not here, in the crunching yellow grass, amid the blackbirds and the headstones.

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February 02 – Tucson Streetside

02-02 DoubleFrame post

Monday saw the start of Film February – only film photographs for this month during the 2016 ‘Photo A Day’ project. I began with an image taken using one of my favorite vintage cameras from the 1960’s. I realized that my explanation about how the Fujica Half works might not be entirely coherent to those of you who aren’t as absurdly gear-headed as I am.

For more detailed specs, read about the Fujica Half here.

Today’s image is intended to illustrate a little more clearly what the Fujica Half accomplishes. Instead of one horizontal picture, like what you would get using a regular old 35mm film camera, the Fujica half makes a series of small vertical exposures – two exposures fit in the same space that one standard 35mm picture would go. It takes some getting used to; when you look through the viewfinder, the image plane is vertical. I can’t think of any other camera out there that operates like this.

These two images were taken a few years ago. I used to carry the Fujica Half everywhere I went because it was such a compact camera. In my free time, I would go on bike rides all over Tucson, looking for interesting things to photograph. If memory serves correctly, the palm tree is from the center median along Swan Road, just north of the Rillito River wash. The statue on the right is from Evergreen Cemetery, located near Oracle Road & Miracle Mile.

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