Prepare to enter a world of both shadow and substance

Take a journey of body, mind and spirit where you'll encounter things you won't find anywhere else.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


Here's a post that is somewhat nostalgic for me.  Back in 1978, when I was 17 years old, I joined my high school's yearbook staff during the latter half of my junior year as photographer.  They used a huge Polaroid Land Camera and a Konica Autoreflex TC 35mm SLR for their picture-taking needs.  I ended up getting to use both of those cameras, but the one I remember most fondly, was the Konica 35mm.  Here's an image of it in the hands of the guy who was the yearbook photographer just before me, his name was Randy.  This was taken from my junior yearbook:

And here's that same camera in my hands from my senior yearbook.  Both images were cropped:

I learned a lot using that camera and here are some pictures I took using that camera.  The first three were for the yearbook, and the last three were some I took for myself:

I liked that camera so much that I ended up buying one of my own many years later.  When eBay came along and became huge, I realized that you could find practically anything there.  Remembering how much I liked the school's old Konica Autoreflex TC, I searched and found one on eBay - and bought it!  Here's a picture of it:

It didn't come with a lens, so I got me a second one from eBay that had a lens on it.  The second one didn't work, but was pretty cheap and it had the advantage of having the lens I needed.  That one looked like this:

The first one did work when I first got it, but it jammed up soon and I haven't had a chance to fix it or use it yet.  But I did manage to fix the second one I got that didn't work and here's a picture I took with it.  It shows some of the buttons in my late Mother's collection:

At first, however, I now had two of these Konicas and neither one of them worked.  So, I went back to eBay and found a third one that worked, but it, too, didn't have a lens on it.  Not to worry, though, because I had a lens.  Here's what that third one looked like:

And here's a couple pictures taken with that third Autoreflex TC:

Fast forward to 2019.  I was again searching on eBay and found an auction that had nine great old single lens reflex camera bodies, and two of them were Konica Autoreflex TCs!  I ended up getting those cameras and paid less than $10 for both of the Konicas together.  Here's what the first one looks like and a picture taken with it:

And here is the second one, now the fifth total Konica Autoreflex TC cameras in my collection, along with a picture taken just last night with that camera, more buttons in my late Mother's collection:

So, that's the tale, (so far....) of the Konica Autoreflex TC.  Who knows how it will end up?  But every time I use one, I'm transported back in time to when I was teenager and blissfully taking pictures that captured a special memory each time I clicked the shutter button.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Film Box Pinhole Camera

This post goes back in history.  The year was 2010, but it hearkened back to my college years and my first photography class in late 1979.  In an attempt to teach us the concepts of photography, we built our own pinhole cameras out of cardboard and a soda can for the pinhole.  These cameras produced 4"x5" negatives because we used 8"x10" photo paper and cut it down into four equal sizes, which gave us four "negatives" per sheet.  This type of early photography, from the 1820s, was called Calotype photography.  As an example, here is one of those shots I took back in 1979:

It shows the parking lot of Southeastern Illinois College, which is the college I went to.  I chose that subject because you could only load and take one picture at a time and to load and unload the camera, it had to be done in the darkroom - and I used the college's darkroom.  Plus, the original shot was a "negative" image and had to be contact printed to get a positive print.  Fast forward to 2010.
Remembering those early, (for me), pinhole camera days, I thought I'd revisit them and make my own pinhole camera again.  I had read where people were using all sorts of containers to use for their camera bodies and then adapting photographic paper or different sizes of film for their negatives.  Some of the smallest cameras I saw being made were out of matchboxes.  This inspired me to use an empty box of film for my camera body.  When it was finished, this is what it looked like:

But to use it, I had to cut down a piece of 35mm Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film to shoot in it and then tape up the box so it wouldn't have any light leaks.  For my "shutter," I simply used a piece of tape over the pinhole "lens."  It didn't look so polished, but it did keep the film from the light:

It took me several attempts of shooting before I was able to get a decent image, but one of the earlier images that didn't turn out so good looked like this:

Finally, I was able to get a fairly good image, and it was taken at the Fairfield, Illinois fairground during their Fall Fun Fest days of 2010:

I don't know what that curved group of light blobs were or what caused them, but they were present in all my shots, even when I used a different pinhole piece of aluminum in my final iteration of the camera.  The above shot looked like this taken with another camera, which employed about a 28mm focal length, so I guess my film box pinhole camera had a pinhole about the equivalent of a 28mm lens:

Since I eventually got my pinhole camera to take a picture you could somewhat recognize, I considered it a success.  Now, I'm wanting to build another pinhole camera that uses photographic paper and get back into taking some calotypes.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Twelfth Annual Ten Commandments Post

For my birthday in February, my sister got me a dvd with a movie double feature.  I've never really seen anything like it because the two movies were from different studios - Warner Brothers and Paramount.  Of course, you've probably realized since this is my annual Ten Commandments post that one of the movies on this 4-disc set was The Ten Commandments.  Yes, and the compilation disc says it was released in 2013.  It also gives the running time of The Ten Commandments, on the label as "220 minutes."  But the discs say it's 231 minutes.  These translate to 3 hours, 40 minutes and 3 hours and 51 minutes respectively.  I'll have to watch it and see which of the several versions it might be and it's true length.

Every Easter, my family would always have ham for the holiday.  So, this year, I'm going to have ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese and some rolls while I watch the movie later tonight.  It promises to be another great viewing experience of my favorite movie.

You'll notice that the cover shows the "bulked-up" Moses.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Woe To Wo Fat

My long-time passion for the television show "Hawaii Five-O" led me to write several poems about the show many years ago.  This is one such piece of poetry, a haiku, no less.

McGarrett And Wo Fat

McGarret and Fat
mortal enemies in life;
eternal neighbors.

And this one, another haiku, based upon the episode "The Finishing Touch," first aired on November 20th, 1973.

Phase Three

Phase Three was coming.
They said it was a grabber,
and I believe them.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Malls And Online Shopping

The new issue of Time magazine ran an article about Malls and listed the shocking numbers of mall closures and that another quarter of those still existing could go out of buisness in the next five years. That’s not just stores that are inside the mall, that’s the entire mall complex! One figure it listed was that between 2010-2013, mall visits declined 50% due to online shopping. Now, I buy stuff online, but it’s only because the local stores no longer carry the items I’m buying. They used to carry everything I needed, but not any longer. I think this is one of the reasons why people are turning to online shopping. But, what the article and everybody else doesn’t seem to be taking into consideration is this: When I shop online, practically everything is mailed to me through the United States Postal Service - the post office. As we have seen in this day and age, no business is guaranteed to last forever and many fine businesses have closed in the last 10 years or so - Circuit City, Borders, Waldenbooks, Sir Beef, Hughes Electronics, New York Life Insurance & Trust Company, Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts, Western Auto, Service Merchandise, Kinney Shoes, Thom McAn Store, Revco, Rexall Drugs, On Cue, Woolworth’s, Heilig-Meyers, A.J. Bayless grocery strores, Builder’s Square, Coast to Coast Hardware, Blockbuster Music, Sam Goody, Tower Records and literally hundreds of more businesses! I was so shocked to find out about some of these that I just had to stop looking. Many of those stores are ones I used to shop at and now they’re gone! Where will all this lead us as a collective?

The point I started to make above was that the U.S. Post Office is just another business and as we have seen, nothing is guaranteed to last forever. I have predicted for several years now that the government seems intent on destroying the post office. Why else would they give up the multimillion dollar market of stamp collecting and switch to only stick-on stamps? As stamp collectors know, stick-on stamps don’t last. After a few years, the glue seeps through the front of the stamp, making them un-collectable. And just a couple years back, the government got out of the market big-time of mailing people’s Social Security checks, Army disability checks, etcetera, and went to direct deposit. It’s like they are morphing into an entity that no longer requires the post office. Why would they be setting themselves up to be post office-free? Could it be, that like me, they know the post office can’t and won’t last forever?

What are you going to do when you can’t buy what you want at a local store and you have to resort to buying it online, only to find that it can’t be mailed to you? Where are you going to get the things you need to live on then? That’s why I say support your local stores now before it’s too late.

The picture is of the University Mall, located at Carbondale, Illinois. I took it on September 3rd, 2016, with my Minolta X-370s and Kodak Portra 160 film.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Eleventh Annual Ten Commandments Post

     For my annual post this year, I thought I'd speak about the sources used for where the story of The Ten Commandments actually derives.  It is an exciting tale, full of drama and conflict, and spans the entire life of Moses.  I'd be willing to bet that the first time a lot of us heard about the story of Moses was most likely in Sunday School.  In the credits of The Ten Commandments, it does mention the "Holy Scriptures."  But, to fill in parts of Moses' life that aren't mentioned in The Bible, the script writers studied several other modern and ancient texts for this information.
     The final shooting script was written by Aeneas MacKenzie, Jesse L. Lasky, Jr., Jack Gariss and Fredric M. Frank.  To put the story together, information was also used from the books Prince Of Egypt, by Dorothy Clarke Wilson; Pillar Of Fire, by Joseph Holt Ingraham and On Eagle's Wings, by Arthur Eustace Southon.  The book Prince Of Egypt, published in 1949 not too long before Cecil B. DeMille's movie,  was also used for an animated movie about Moses, but only the title of the book was employed, and it was released to theaters back in 1998 under the title The Prince Of EgyptPillar Of Fire was published in 1859, while On Eagle's Wings was first printed in 1939.
     The film's researcher, Henry Noerdlinger, also consulted such ancient texts as the Midrash Rabbah, Life Of Moses by Philo and various writings of Josephus and Eusebius.  Philo lived during the time Jesus walked the earth, from approximately 25 B.C. to 50 A.D., so he may have had texts to work with that are no longer extant.  Cecil B. DeMille mentions this during the prologue to The Ten Commandments.  Josephus lived from 37 A.D. to circa 100 A.D., while Eusebius was around during a later period of approximately 260 - 340 A.D.
     So the story of The Ten Commandments comes from many and varied sources, but it was all brought together for the big screen under the directorship of Cecil B. DeMille.  The Ten Commandments was the highest grossing film of 1956, and allowing for inflation, as of 2017, is the 7th highest grossing film of all time.  The film has been broadcast on television since 1973 by the ABC network, and that is where in earlier years I got to see it every year at Easter.  But my first viewing of it was at the theater on a big, silver screen located in Safford, Arizona back in 1966, when it was given a 10-year re-release.  Having seen this film probably at least 50 times, I highly recommend it!  Be sure to catch it on it's annual showing on television!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tenth Annual Ten Commandments Post

As you probably know, The Ten Commandments is my favorite movie and I watch it every Easter.  For my tenth annual blog post about it this year, I thought I'd do something special.  Here are some humorous cartoons about Moses and The Ten Commandments.  Enjoy them!