|Former Cities Services station, 3700 5th Street, Meridian, Mississippi|
Monday, May 29, 2017
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
|Overgrown drive welcomes paranormal investigators but no residents.|
|This was a handsome house originally, with symmetry and an imposing entry colonnade.|
|The original millwork came in kit form from Sears, Roebuck & Company.|
Photographs taken with a tripod-mounted Fuji GW690II rangefinder camera; light measured with a Luna-Pro SBC hand-held light meter.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Eastman Kodak Company introduced Panatomic-X in 1933 and discontinued it in 1987. The film had been reformulated during its five-decade existence, so my late production was likely different than the original. It was designed to be an extremely fine grain film, which meant it could be enlarged for large prints and still retain details. This was of value to architectural, fine-art, and aerial photographers. The version I have was rated at ISO 32, but I shot it at 20 or 25 and developed it in Rodinal at 1:50 dilution. Agfa's Rodinal is a developer that retains the grain structure and therefore looks "sharp" (i.e., it does not have solvent action to partly dissolve the edges of the grain clumps). Used with good lenses and careful technique (that means a tripod), the detail in a Panatomic-X negative is astonishing, even in this age of 36-megapixel digital cameras.
|My most recent 1959-vintage Rolleiflex 3.5E with the 5-element 75mm f/3.5 Schneider Xenotar lens.|
|Former residence room in the Junius Ward YMCA on Clay Street in Vicksburg, early 1990.|
|Shotgun houses in Grayson Court, Jackson, 2004.|
|The Junius Ward YMCA on Clay Street, Vicksburg, 2004. The Old Courthouse Museum is in the distance.|
|Two shotgun houses on Bowmar Avenue, Vicksburg, 2005. Both have been town down.|
|The New21 Club on Hwy 61, Valley Park, Mississippi 2016.|
|Blue Front Cafe, Bentonia, Mississippi 2010.|
- Even by the 1980s, most photographers wanted faster film so that they would not need to use a tripod.
- Newer T-grain or tabular films like Kodak T-Max or Ilford Delta 100 offered almost as fine grain but with faster speed.
- A friend from Rochester who has worked with Kodak said there was a toxic chemical used in the Panatomic-X production. I have read the same pertaining to Agfapan 25, so maybe slow fine grain films required some chemical technology that manufacturers cannot use today.
|Unused Teen Center, 407 West Green Street, Tallulah, Louisiana, December 2016. Fuji photograph.|
|Unused church in Hermanville, Mississippi, January 2017. Rolleiflex photograph.|
|Little Bayou Pierre, Port Gibson, February 2017. Port Gibson is the town that General Ulysses Grant did not burn during the U.S. Civil War because he admired the architecture so much.|
|Crushing mill, Rte 3, Redwood, Mississippi, 2017. Rolleiflex photograph.|
Readers know I like film. One reason is I used film for 50 years and am comfortable with it. Another reason is it has a familiar look that we saw in prints, magazines, exhibits, and movies for decades, and it works well for recording urban decay. Techno-dweebs on forums like Dpreview despise film because they think they are so superior with their new super digital capture devices. To each his own. Still, if you have aspirations to be a photographer, you owe it to yourself to use the traditional medium, learn how to calculate exposure manually, and contemplate each picture carefully. You need to think with film; no spray and pray that you might achieve a meaningful picture. Used film cameras are cheap - just go do it.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, an terrain of rock pinnacles, cones, and narrow canyons. President Bill Clinton established the Monument in January, 2001. It is operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and if you have a National Parks pass, you can access the rocks without additional fee. According to Wikipedia, "Kasha-Katuwe means "white cliffs" in the Pueblo language."
There are a number of hiking trails. They are not too rugged: you can do them with sturdy running shoes. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and take water. The Slot Canyon trail makes for a nice 3 or 4 hour outing.
The only other place I know of with similar cones and spires of volcanic tuff and ash is in Cappadocia, in central Anatolia, Turkey. The Goreme area of Cappadocia was settled by early Christians, who carved homes, churches, and entire towns into the soft rock. First visit Kasha-Katuwe, then go to Cappadocia. Both are astonishing scenic and cultural wonders.
|The pines cling to the rocks with roots reaching down into cracks.|
|Yes, the Slot Canyon trail goes through this slot.|
|Uchisar, Cappadocia, Turkey|
Dear Readers, this is the last of my 2016 Route 66 posts. Thank you for riding along.
Monday, May 15, 2017
|Photo taken on 4 ×5" Fujichrome 50 film, 75mm f/8 Super-Angulon lens.|
|View east across Fairground Street Bridge, 1990, 75mm f/8 Super-Angulon lens.|
|View west along Fairground Street, 2017. A light leak in the Hasselblad film back caused the flare on the left.|
|Levee Street view north, 1993, 4×5" camera, Fujichrome 50 film.|
|April 2017 view of the bridge from the south. Kodak Tri-X professional 320 film, Zeiss Planar 80mm lens.|
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Dear readers, it is time to complete the story of my 2016 west-to-east excursion on the Mother Road.
Albuquerque, New Mexico, was always a major stopping point for travelers on Route 66. It was the "big city," with motels, movies, entertainment, groceries, and repair services. Coming in from the west from the Pecos River crossing, Route 66 merged with or became Central Avenue, a major east-west corridor through town. The western outskirts were lined with motels to serve the weary 66 traveler.
Entering town on Central Avenue, the El Vado was ready to welcome visitors with a comfortable room and a place to park their car. Open since 1936, it had recently closed when I drove by in April of 2016. Had millions really stayed there as per the sign? Regardless, the units looked to be in good condition, so I do not know why they closed. Many of these Route 66 motels were built in Mission Style with tile roofs, protruding timbers, and white painted stucco walls. They were clearly meant to evoke the the "old west" as well as emulate the popular Alamo Plazas, which were America's first motel chain, founded by a Waco, Texas hotelier, Mr. Edgar Lee Torrance. The Mission Revival Style was an architectural movement which was inspired by the late 18th and early 19th century Spanish missions in California.
Other lodgings, like this 21 Motel at 2411 Central Avenue, were still in business, but had a distinctly dive ambience (I passed).
Route 66 continued east into downtown, In my short stopover, it looked like much of the inner core of the city is pretty dumpy, but Central Avenue has been partly revived and gentrified. The merchants were certainly capitalizing on the Route 66 theme.
Some of the stores have spectacular examples of western art (OK, western kitsch) in their architecture.
Dear Readers, we will have one more article, and then that will be it for my 2016 trip on the Mother Road. Thank you for reading along. Next road trip: the Mother Road in the Great Plains. And next time, I will use black and white film.
Sunday, May 7, 2017
|Oops, a Morris. A rare example of old English iron instead.|
|A Chrysler 300. I hope it retained its original engine. The blue headlights are a bit odd.|
Dear Readers, we have finished our tour of western Cuba and Havana. If any of you are interested in visiting, do it soon, before the commercial interests start building vacation condominiums, erecting nasty fast food restaurants, and pillaging the environment. Maybe the Cuban government can balance development with retention of the best aspects of their nature and culture - I truly hope so. And what if the embargo ends? As Joe Klein wrote in Time Magazine, Dec. 1, 2016:
"The Castros needed the American Satan and its embargo as an excuse for their socialism-induced poverty and martial law. They would never be able to withstand the tide of freedom--and commerce--that would wash over the island."Well, that tide may be about to overwhelm.
As of 2017, the Cuban people are gracious and welcoming, travel is easy, food is OK, accommodations variable, and toilets terrible. Don't let any of that scare you, just go and have fun.
These photographs were taken with a Fuji X-E1 digital camera.