I originally posted this over at the new toycamera.com forums, but then thought to cross-post it here for possible wider exposure.
My wife & I are planning a week long sojourn to Portland, OR later this fall as a kind of interview with the Rose City to see if it’ll fit as a possible relocation locale (the long heavy winters of upstate NY are getting to be a bit too much).
As such, we want to be as thorough as a week allows. Instead of hitting up touristy stuff, we want to try to see the city as a local would.
So any advice from native Portlanders or transplants (or anyone else familiar with the town, for that matter) on what to do, what to see, where to eat, et cetera?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I’m happy to report that a project that I’ve been proud to be a part of has finally come to fruition: TOYCAM is finally available on Blurb.
I haven’t had the chance to physically flip through the book yet myself, but having been a part of the process, I know the product is top notch.
You can purchase the hardcover here.
Or the soft cover here.
Thank you to all the photographers who submitted their photographs and to those who agreed to be interviewed: you made our jobs tougher & all the more enjoyable by giving us some outstanding source material to work with.
UPDATE: www.toycamerabook.com has a flash-based preview of the book available for your perusal.
FYI: This is post is decidedly unrelated to photography.
I’ve been feeling introspective lately. It’s funny how the passing of a loved one can do that to you. As my wife & I sorted through my father’s personal affects this past weekend in preparation of this weekend’s estate sale, it struck me just how much of my father’s life boiled down to stuff. He had a lot of stuff.
Yet, I hardly knew what his hopes & dreams were (he had to have had them, right?) and it’s now seemingly impossible to infer what they could’ve been from just his possessions.
One dream of his I know, as he constantly asked repeatedly, is also one that hits me the hardest, is that my Dad wanted grandchildren. He possessed a large collection of Disney DVDs in eager anticipation of the day some rug-rat would enamoredly watch cute cartoons with him, much as my grandmother did with us.
The funny thing is that was a hope & dream of mine as well. Christine & I, a couple years back, each made a list of 101 life goals, as an exercise in… well… I’m not sure. But it still felt like a worthy endeavor. Number 43 on my list was “for my father to watch cartoons with his grandchildren.”
Heart-wrenchingly, I just removed that one from the list.
But that got me pondering the rest of my list. How many things out of the original 101 had I actually checked off in the intervening years? Five. I bought a new car; I finished my degree; I cooked a lobster; I won a prize playing skee ball; and I did something with expiredfilm.com.
While, yes, many on my list were meant as perpetual behaviors, as compared to quantifiable achievements, it still seems as though I should be doing more. Life is short. So as a semi-public means of accountability, here’s my newly revised list.
101 Life Goals in no particular order (other than #1)
1. try to make Christine smile everyday
2. leave Upstate NY for parts unknown
3. preferably to live in Hawaii
4. find something to do that I enjoy that will afford us a reasonable income
5. lose the spare tire
6. not lose all my hair
7. let Christine know that I love her, as much as possible
9. think of something especially clever for #8
10. find something unique to share with the world
11. raise a loving family with Christine
12. to get a dog
13. preferably a Bloodhound
14. for my student loans to be nothing more than a bad memory
15. to go on adventures with Christine as often as feasibly possible
16. to still go on adventures with Christine even when it’s not feasible
17. never eat broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts ever again
18. to always be able to make Christine laugh
19. to be a better correspondent
20. to be a better friend
21. to be a better husband
22. to eat a grilled cheese sandwich everyday for a month
23. to make a scathing documentary of the grilled cheese industry
24. to snuggle with Christine as much as possible
25. to become a better photographer
26. to always greet Christine with a hug and a kiss
27. to find something worthwhile to say and to say it well
28. to buy Christine roses when she least expects it
29. to make sure I actually buy roses for her when she does expect it
30. to always win when playing “not it”
31. to have a hot dog whenever at Yankee Stadium
32. to have Christine take a bite of said Yankee Stadium hot dog
33. to own a house that Christine and I can make into a home
34. to have a vacation every year where Christine wears a bikini
35. to find new things that interest me
36. not to be this old this young
37. to celebrate holidays without feeling guilt
38. to never eat cottage cheese just because “it’s healthy”
39. to have the confidence to know whether I’m good at something or not
40. to watch a sunset and sunrise in the same night with Christine
41. to own art I appreciate
42. to see Mariano Rivera go into the Hall of Fame
44. always be able to find time to read a good book
45. remember to use deodorant most days
46. to be less slovenly around the house
47. to pick up my boxers whenever we are expecting guests
48. to dance with Christine whenever the opportunity presents itself
49. to not look utterly ridiculous doing so; unless on purpose
50. to be the most ‘whoamantic’ person I know
51. to never catch Ebola
52. or smallpox or The Plague or other bad bug
53. to let Christine squish a slug with her hands
54. but to be the voice of moral restraint when she endeavors to kick a pigeon
55. to improve my handwriting
56. to always be Christine’s best friend
57. never eat yellow snow
58. to accomplish something I can feel proud of
59. learn a cool yo-yo trick
60. to not break anything in the process
61. to spend Thanksgiving with our family at our house
62. to dress more “snazzily”
63. to carve a pumpkin for Halloween each year
64. to not schedule my life around television
65. to learn how to smile in front of a camera
66. especially when Christine is holding the camera
67. to win a whole boat-load of money in the lottery
68. to learn a cool new origami thing
69. to create a meal using veggies from our garden
70. to have a garden
71. to have a backyard barbecue with our friends
72. to have a backyard to barbecue in
73. to have a grill to barbecue on
74. to know how to make good mixed drinks
75. to eventually figure out Christine’s system of hiding my stuff
76. to eventually not need Christine to hide things on me in the first place
77. to never wear pink socks to a wedding
78. or pretty much never wear pink socks
79. to grow a thriving Chia pet
80. to always find things to shake a stick at
81. to never dress a pet in a holiday festive sweater
82. unless it’s really funny
83. I mean really funny, not just a self-deluded funny
84. to never fall victim of a pirate attack
85. to drink more water
86. to eat less pizza
87. but still eat pizza
88. to actually traverse the Oregon Trail
89. without dying of dysentery
90. take a train across the country
91. to spit into an active volcano
92. to learn how to surf
93. to complete my run of DC Sandman comics
94. to own a vintage Optimus Prime
95. to visit all 50 states
96. to drink a pint of Guinness in Ireland
97. learn to play the ukelele
98. to never be compelled to smell/taste sour milk against my wishes
99. to snorkel in Bora Bora
100. to finish reading
Moby Dick(done), War & Peace, Walden, Paradise Lost, and Ulysses
101. to find the means to overcome the resting inertia in my life
102. to be happy
So there it is. I’m impressed if you actually read through the entire thing. Just to be clear, it’s not a “bucket list.” It’s just a list. It may change, it may grow, it may shrink, but hopefully along the way I’ll be able to check some things off.
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I know, I know, I’m a bad friend leaving you hanging like that. Not a word or a peep or even just a heads up.
Suddenly, it’s June. I know May existed by the subtle carnage it left behind, but as to where it went, only future archaeologists may know….
So yeah. How are things?
Good, good (unless, of course, they aren’t; then you have my sympathies or other appropriate response).
Things have been hectic here. But you know how it is and how it goes and what-not.
Well it’s been nice chatting with you.
Hey! Let’s try to keep in touch.
Just a friendly neighborhood reminder that this Sunday! Sunday!! Sunday!!! is World Pinhole Photography Day.
In previous years, I’ve been well-intentioned, but still never quite actually participated.
This year however, I’ve built a custom pinhole camera from an Altoids tin (would that make it a ‘mint-hole’ camera, a ‘pintoid,’ ‘curiously lensless’???) from scratch. There are still some kinks (light leak, frame spacing/film winding) but, knock on wood, I should hopefully have them ironed out by Sunday (Sunday!! Sunday!!!).
For more info:
As I twittered (tweeted, twooted, twinkled, twunctated or twhat-have-you) yesterday, I’ve finally finished scanning all the 120 rolls from my December trip to O’ahu; now I face the Herculean task of processing the rough scans into pretty pictures. At first glance, there are several frames that have caught my eye that I can’t wait to return to later.
The fact I at least finished scanning two consecutive projects (HolgaHike & O’ahu 2009) is progress, in more than the immediate literal sense. I should try to explain.
I’ve been loosely following The Art of Waiting project. The concept, as best I understand it, is that several photographers go out & contemplate ‘waiting’ in their work; then, they themselves (and the audience), have to wait until next year to see the fruit of their labors. I said “loosely” following, mostly because their concept hit a little too close to home: part of what they’re doing as art, I’ve been doing for years out of sheer procrastination.
I have a backlog of twenty-some-odd rolls of 120, some dating back to 2007 and most before I started labeling my rolls with location/camera/date information. So I have a shoe-box’s worth of my mysterious past awaiting to be discovered. Perhaps, instead of feeling traces of guilt about neglecting the past, I should mentally justify my procrastination as ‘art.’
If my negligence was on purpose, then what I’m really doing is just ‘aging’ those rolls, like one would with a fine wine or cheese, to be appreciated at some later date with pinkies out.
So the fact that I’m close to completing a project or two, means I can start another with a clearer conscience, which is progress.
Anywho, here is some more recent Hawaiian ‘wine,’ fresh from the box (camera).
The wife & I were strolling along Waikiki beach (as one is wont to do in Waikiki) in the morning on the way back to the hotel from a sunrise breakfast at Duke’s (great view, good coffee, terrible eggs Benedict). The beach itself was still mostly abandoned due to the early hour, so it felt like we had the entire shore to ourselves, which, in & of itself, is a somewhat rare thing in Waikiki.
It was serene.
An amusing aside about Duke’s: our relatively youthful waiter noticed my BHF sitting on the table as he took our drink order; first he asked what it was and then inquired how many mega-pixels it had….
Gallery: fBHF – O’ahu 2009
Alas & alack, it just wasn’t meant to be…
C’est la vie.
The good news is Randy from HolgaMods assures me that he’ll be running another Holga Hike in the Fall. So hopefully I’ll have better luck with that one.
At the very least, I was able take my wife on a lovely nature walk around Beaver Lake, while enjoying the beautiful first day of Spring; that was more than enough of a reward in & of itself.
Oh, and I also ended up taking a couple of photographs as well (all images taken with a Holga on Ilford HP5+, developed in Diafine):
Diamond Head, the iconic Hawaiian volcano, is probably one of the most photographed mountains in the world and, as a good tourist on O’ahu, I tried my best to do my part.
From sea to summit, Diamond Head rises 762 feet; fortunately, the hiking trail inside the crater already spots you two-hundred feet of elevation for a modest 560 foot climb over a 3/4 mile to the top. I say ‘fortunately,’ because after the roughly 160 steps to the top and an odd little ladder scramble to the summit, my knees felt like they were made of molten iron, and not in a good ‘molten iron’ kind of way.
But the views from on top were worth it.
Today’s the day!!!
Both Spring & the Holga Hike are here. Shake off those Winter blues by getting outdoors with your Holga and capturing the pleasant pastels of Spring (or lovely black & whites, if you’re so inclined…).
Just remember to submit your image by April 5th.
I was already out & about with my trusty Holga during the first training run of the Mountain Goat Run at The Armory in downtown Syracuse (my wife was running, I just puttered around while waiting; I had a pretty good cup of coffee though).
I’m not sure if I’m completely happy with what I’ve shot already, so weather permitting, I’ll probably go out again later this afternoon to try to take some photographs that are a tad less urban and a bit more rustic.
Maybe Beaver Lake would be an idyllic destination.
Holga Hike logo © HolgaMods; used with permission.
Somewhere along the way, my vintage Diana F developed a dastardly light leak in the upper left-hand side of the frame (lower-right image).
As opposed to a beneficial or relatively benign light leak, I’d say this one ruined several rolls of film from Hawaii, except ‘ruined’ is such an ugly word.
How about I just say it ‘challenged’ the composition of several of my shots?
When dealing with crappy cameras, you learn to expect the unexpected. Sometimes the magic gives you unicorns riding motorcycles; other times it gives you toads.
Mind you, they’re still magical toads, so with some effort you still might be able to finagle it into a Princess; but then again, sometimes all you end up with are warts.
The above image is my attempt at saving a princess from an eternity of toad-dom. It’s definitely not the image I had conceived when I shot it, but I think it works. The mirrored symmetry of the new composition balances out the unevenness of the original.
So the good news is that it only took me the better part of fifteen minutes today to diagnose the leak in the Diana F (around where the viewfinder & the flash contacts meet) & plug it with ‘fun-tack’ (you know, that ubiquitous sticky putty adhering beer posters to walls in dorm rooms all across our nation’s colleges & universities).
The bad news is I still have a whole bunch of amphibians waiting for their turn to be kissed.