Saturday, January 30, 2010

Monochrome Weekend: State Theater

State Theater
State Theater, South Bend, Indiana. Shot with a Holga 120N on bulb setting, secured to my pickup truck with a Gorillapod.

Built in 1921 as the Blackstone Theater, this classical revival theater has fallen on hard times. It stands on the same block in South Bend, Indiana where the Dillinger gang pulled their last bank robbery in 1934. Allegedly, the State Theater still bears the scars of bullets from the shootout between the bank robbers and the police. It was purchased in 2006 by a local Christian organization which intended to turn it into a cultural center. As of last summer, it was supposed to go on the auction block again, though I don't know what happened with that.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Monochrome Weekend: Ice

Ice Festival

Last week was the annual ice carving festival at Niles, Michigan. This sculpture was captured with a Holga 120N with Holga flash attachment--the finest flash $15 can buy. The flash happened to work on this shot. Since then, I've taken a pair of pliers to the hot shoe to improve contact with the flash and have increased the incidence of firing from about 50% to 100%. I love the challenge of shooting with plastic cameras.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Monochrome Weekend: Fiddlehead

Fern in Great Smoky Moutain National Park, April 2009

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Sunset in the Smokies

Sunset in the Smoky Mountains, April 2009

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Monochrome Weekend: Swissotel Chicago

Captured with a Holga 120 and Kodak Tri-X 400. View upward from a spiral stairway behind the Swissotel, Chicago.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Thornbury Castle

The snow continues in northern Indiana, so I'm turning to the archives for this shot taken at Thornbury Castle on our trip to England in 2008.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Winky Dink and Homeland Security

Winky Dink. Dell comic book, 1955.

Happy young viewer bathed in radiation from the television as she draws with her magic crayons on her magic screen, 1953. Photo by Walter Sanders. From the Life Magazine archives.

The author has on numerous occasions expounded upon the significance of the cartoon character Winky Dink. Like the star inexplicably attached to his head, Winky Dink's influence shone brightly over the cultural landscape of 1950s America, sparking the creativity of hordes of rapt young viewers, while boosting the bottom line at CBS by selling millions of magic Winky Dink drawing kits at 50 cents a pop. The kits consisted of a box of crayons, a sheet of plastic, and a cloth. The cloth served two purposes. First, rubbing the sheet of plastic (AKA the magic screen) with the cloth generated a charge which would then cause the sheet to stick to the TV screen, similar to the way rubbing a balloon on your hair builds up static electricity that allows you to stick the balloon to the wall. Second, the cloth served as an eraser to clear the magic screen. To the chagrin of many parents, the cloth didn't erase crayon marks from the glass of the TV if Winky Dink's little fans forgot to attach the plastic sheet before drawing.

As the show unfolded, pictures would be displayed for Winky's viewers to complete. Missing elements included such items as Uncle Slim's bowtie, or a bridge or a ladder which would allow Winky to escape a bear attack or some other peril.

Sometimes, the missing piece of the picture was presented as a connect-the-dots puzzle.

Judging from the news coverage of the recent attempt to blow up an airliner with explosive underwear, what this country needs is someone who can connect the dots. The pundits and reporters on the cable news shows have seized upon the phrase "connect the dots" to explain what it is the intelligence agencies failed to do with the various pieces of evidence they had about the Nigerian terrorist who tried to blow up the plane. I believe I have heard the phrase "connect the dots" roughly 347 times over the past week. It may be used as frequently as twice in a single sentence. Usually, these sentences begin with the reporter lookly earnestly into the camera and saying "Look." Starting a sentence with the word "look" indicates the speaker without a doubt is speaking the truth, and you shouldn't even consider the possibility that he may be talking through his hat.

Even President Obama is getting in on the act. After meeting with his security team yesterday, he stated, "The bottom line is this, the U.S. government had sufficient information to have uncovered this plot and potentially disrupt the Christmas Day attack, but our intelligence community failed to connect those dots." The only way he could have made it better would have been to start out by saying, "Look, at the end of the day..."

Obviously, President Obama must be able to count on his trusted adviors to "connect the dots." We need change we can believe in! Heads must roll! High-ranking government officials must express a sudden desire to spend more time with their families and resign! I am hereby proposing that Janet Napolitano step down as Secretary of Homeland Security. As her replacement, my fellow Americans, I give you someone whose safety, whose security, whose very existence has depended on "connecting the dots" for over a half-century. I give you the one, the only--WINKY DINK! (Cue music: "Happy Days Are Here Again")

Monday, January 04, 2010


Last June, I posted this through-the-viewfinder picture of the gargoyle who is normally perched next to our backyard pond. For this photo, I moved him to the driveway to catch his shadow.

Here's a shot of him back by the pond last Saturday. I could take another picture now, but there wouldn't be much to see, as the continuing snowfall has completely covered him.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday: Self Portraits

Incessant snow, a day off, a remote shutter release, a flashlight, a dark basement, and Silver Efex Pro software equal this week's shadow shot entry. I recently learned of a technique of opening the shutter of the camera in a dark room and then "light painting" with a flashlight or other light source. Moving the subject while the light is off results in the look of multiple exposures. In reality, it's just one long exposure. I experimented with a flashlight and a small off camera flash which I could trigger manually. Honestly, I took so many pictures, I'm not sure which light source I used on any individual picture, although I think the first one was with the Holga mini slave flash and the rest were with the flashlight.

I wasn't getting nauseated here. I was trying to do a "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" pose, but I had to use one hand to work the light.

Even I find this one spooky. It's uncanny how much I look like my Grandpa Cory in the middle pose.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Sunrise in Colorado

Weld County Colorado, November 2009

Monochrome Weekend: Car Wash

Hi Speed Car Wash, South Bend, Indiana


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