Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day, 150/365

We went to the cemeteries in Mt. Carmel and Maple River today.  I wanted A&W for lunch, but they were closed for the holiday.  This is actually our flag, at home before we got on the road this morning.  And before the strong wind gusts bent the flagpole to a 90 degree angle...

Here is Matt and the Mathew he was named after.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Children's Museum, 149/365

We were in need of a little get-away today, and ended up taking the kids to the Children's Museum in Coralville.  We'd never been there before, and let's just say, we were very impressed.  The kids had a hay day and could have spent hours there.  I suspect that we will have to make return visits to this place.  It's certainly a nice change from the SCI and had great variety.  And to top it all off, by chance, they had free admission today.  What more could we ask for?  Well, other than free gas to drive over there.  :-)  Here is a picture of Claire in flight goggles.  Then Matt was ringing up groceries for a little girl in the grocery store play area.  And, finally, this one was before we left home this morning, but Claire had a Barbie dress on a stuffed snake.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Song bird, camping indoors, 147/365

I believe I commented on my blog a while back that the sparrows and blackbirds are eating all our birdseed, and an occasional song bird would be nice.  Well, it looks like I got my wish.  This bird showed up one day, and has been a regular around here ever since.  I've never had one of these before, I looked him up and found that he's a Rose Breasted Grosbeak.  I found some video and audio on the web and listened to their song.  They've been described as sounding like a Robin who took singing lessons.  It is a nice song.  This morning, I heard that song while I was getting ready for work.  I looked out the kitchen window, and there he was sitting on the power line sharing his beautiful song.

With the rain on and off, we decided to let the kids camp inside tonight.  So, the little tent is set up in the living room.  I hope we have the opportunity for some outdoor activities throughout the weekend though.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Japanese Garden, 146/365

I've been to the Japanese Garden in Des Moines earlier in the year, but wanted to wait to use a picture until the plants turn green.

Noelle had her first softball game of the year tonight.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Daisy (no, not our dog), 145/365

This is one of the first daisies to bloom in our landscaping.  She's just waiting for all her friends to open up...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Field trip day, 144/365

The kids all had things going on in school today.  Matt and Claire went on their field trip to the carousel and park in Story City.  Noelle went on a field trip to Little Wall Lake.  And Rachael went with the rest of the South Hamilton band and marched to the elementary to perform in front of school for the kids.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Noelle's recital, 143/365

Noelle did her violin recital in music class today.  There were three kids who got up and played for the class.  One girl played guitar, Emily played piano, and Noelle played Terra Nova on the violin.  I'm very proud of her, making such beautiful music on an elegant instrument.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Earlham, 142/365

We were in Earlham for Zach's graduation today.  We took the kids over to the park to burn off some energy and I saw this great truck behind a building on the way back to the community building.

Here is a shot of my dad, eating one of the many Crunch bars on all the tables at the reception.

This old fire house is right across the street from the community building.

And finally, Claire sitting on a big tractor tire at the playground.

I shot with only my garage sale Hexanon 50 1.7 lens today.  I know I had the lens wide open on the first shot, I'm not positive on the second one.  On the fire house shot, I had no choice but to stop down, because it was bright and sunny, too much light for such a wide aperture.  I like to use this lens wide open.  I'm going to have to get a neutral density filter to darken things up and let me use it with those big apertures outside in the bright sun.  Anyway, this version of the lens was introduced with the Autoreflex TC body in 1976.  Not bad for a 35 year old lens...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flowers, 141/365

Noelle wanted to get some flowers for Mrs. Petersen's grave.  These had such amazingly vivid colors that I had to take a picture.  She was a favorite kindergarten teacher of Rachael and Noelle.  So, this will brighten  up her grave, for a few days anyway.

Make sure you click on the picture to view it larger.  I shot this on a micro 4/3 digital camera, with an adapted old Konica 50mm f/1.7 lens (from a garage sale).  The aperture was wide open for this shot, giving it kind of a soft focus, dreamy look.  The funny thing is that when you stop down to f/2.8, it's as sharp as you could ask for.  It's like a whole different lens.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Insulator, drink like a fish, 139/365

I am starting to get tired of what I see downtown to photograph.  I needed a change, so I switched to black and white today.  I love black and white, because it forces me to get back to the basics.  Look for shapes and lines, contrast, tonal range.  It certainly gives me a new perspective on things when I get in a rut anyway.  So, first off, I liked this insulator with the wires used as leading lines drawing you through the image.  And, the shape of the insulator reminds me of a bell pepper.  Then, I walked by this empty, fish-shaped bottle on an old boarded-up windowsill.  I assume this is probably where they were at the time they emptied the bottle. But, why abandon such a cool bottle?!?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For the birds, 138/365

The blackbirds and sparrows make quick work of my bird seed in front of the house.  At least an occasional song bird would be appreciated.  This blackbird doesn't even look very happy with the menu selection.  I've got hummingbird food out now too.  I've seen a couple hummingbirds around the yard this spring, but I haven't seen them eating at the feeders yet.

Edit 5/19/11 - What was I thinking?!?  I should have titled this blog entry, "Angry Birds!"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cathedral reflection, 137/365

Anyone who has followed my work knows that I like reflections.  So, I couldn't resist this shot of the cathedral, as seen on the side of the Convention Center.

I'm not sure what the raccoon did to deserve this.  But, I went looking for my belt this morning, and this is how I found it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Medals, cookie, 136/365

I'm getting tired and was just thinking about going to bed.  Then I realized that I haven't done a picture today.  So, very quickly, Rachael got seven medals and four ribbons for track.  Not bad for her first year.  And, we got a big cookie for Claire's last time as treat helper in kindergarten, just like we did for Matt last week.  I asked Claire what she would like written on the cookie, and she said, "Happy Treat Helper Day!"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dandelion, 135/365

I worked most of the night, past 3:00 in the morning, so I had a lazy day of sleeping on and off.  I ran across the street to look for a picture, noticing some nice (as long as they are not in my lawn) dandelions going to seed.  So, I got down on the ground and took this shot lighting  it with the warm, late afternoon light.  I also tried to frame some bright yellow dandelions behind it, thrown out of focus, to add a few splotches of color, without cluttering the picture.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Garage sale day, 134/365

No, we did not have a garage sale today, and even if we had, I would never allow a good camera to be sold on it anyway.  :-)  Today was city wide garage sales in Jewell though.  It doesn't seem like there were that many sales, maybe the rain scared some people away from going through the trouble of setting one up and sitting outside on a lousy morning.  We didn't really have any great finds this morning, and then went to Ames to run a couple errands and to a graduation party over by Stanhope.

We had driven by a garage sale that was still open this afternoon on the way home, so I asked Rachael if she wanted to look for a couple more that we hadn't hit yet, if we could find any.  We walked up to one of these sales that hadn't been cleaned up and the guy said that everything was half price.  He obviously just wanted to get rid of as much as he could before he cleaned up and put it all away.  It was then that I saw a table with two old film SLR cameras, getting a little wet, even though they were under a tent.  One was a Konica AutoReflex TC with an off-brand, long zoom lens on it.  He said that the problem was that the shutter sticks on it, although I later found out that the viewfinder is very cloudy/dirty too.  The other camera was a Nikon EM with a Nikon E series 50mm f/1.8 lens on it.  I've been wanting an AutoReflex TC for years, as my dad shot with one when I was a kid.  I assume he probably still has it sitting on a shelf somewhere.  I was just a little disappointed that this one didn't have the legendary Konica Hexanon 40 1.8. Since it only had a long zoom, I thought maybe he had something else to go on that camera.  So, I asked if he had any more lenses for them.  He said yes, and went in the house and brought out a bag, which contained the real find of the day.  There were two Hexanon prime lenses, the 50 1.7 and 28 3.5.  He threw them in without changing the price, so technically, I got the best stuff for free.

I've cleaned everything up to assess the find.  The Nikon seems to work fine and even has a good battery in it.  It's only a lowly EM body (aperture priority only), but in good operating condition.  I did not expect miracles from the Konica, given he told me it had problems.  I found a bent piece of metal interfering with the mirror, probably caused by improper mounting of a lens.  So, I bent it out of the way and it is working fine now, mechanically, at all shutter speeds.  The shutter was fine all along, it was the mirror that was sticking, preventing the shutter from operating.  The downside is that the viewfinder is cloudy when you look through it.  I have no doubt I can fix it up like new, but I'll have to take the top of the camera apart and get into the prism.  It'll take a little time, so it's probably going to sit like this for a while.

I don't have time to shoot film much anymore.  But, my plan is to get the appropriate adapters, and shoot that wonderful Hexanon glass on my modern digital cameras.  Konica's Hexanon lenses have a great reputation.  Some have even said that they were ok on the film cameras they were built for back in the 70's, but they work great with digital.  I'll be the judge of that, but am looking forward to finding out.

The past 10 years have been a great time to collect great quality film camera equipment.  Thanks to digital, value of the film equipment has plummeted.  Actually, just recently, some of these "legacy" lenses, like the Hexanons, are making a comeback as people discover how well they work with digital. But, there are certainly bargains to be found. I almost felt guilty about buying his cameras on that garage sale today for such a low price.  I've found deals before.  But, I think I'll be looking long and hard before I beat this one.

Here is Matt helping me fix up the Nikon.  I always put him in charge of exercising the shutter.  Basically, he had to shoot and shoot and shoot at all the different shutter speeds over and over to loosen up the shutter.  And he does an excellent job with it.  :-)

Update 5/17/11 - The cloudyness in the Konica viewfinder was simply from the humidity sitting outside on a rainy day.  It has dried out and completely cleared up.  I have not put a new battery in it yet to try out the light meter, but the camera appears to work fine.

They certainly don't build them like they used to.  Get a digital camera that wet, and you'd be shopping for a new camera.  They used to build these things to last.  Now, modern cameras are just a disposable item, like so many things these days.  I think that is part of the appeal of old, manual cameras.  They symbolize quality and reliability, from a time when you could buy a camera, and it would still be a good camera decades down the road.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Glasses, 133/365

Just think, if you purchase these glasses, you could look like this...

Jewell COOP, 132/365

This is yesterday's picture, now that Blogger is working again.  We had some wonderful steams of light shining through the clouds.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Willis Welp Relays, 131/365

Noelle, Matt and Claire participated in the Willis Welp Relays at school today.  Noelle left her opponents in the dust for an easy win in the 50 meter dash.  Matt and Claire also ran the 50, as well as doing the softball and football throw.

It's not raining too hard yet, but I did catch a little lightening tonight...