A Saturday road trip to Niagara and Orleans counties

Golden Hill State Park Lighthouse

Golden Hill State Park Lighthouse


Today a client sent me to a town in Niagara County near Lake Ontario. The irony was, the night before the assignment came in, Billie said to me, “I’ve been thinking, we haven’t been up to Lake Ontario in a long time.” For a while I’ve been thinking, I would like to drive up to Lake Ontario to try and find some photo subjects.

So, after the assignment was done, Billie and I took a drive as much as possible long the lake toward the west and then swung down to Medina in search of a meal before heading home.

Here’s the photographic results of the day.

Barker Park, Barker

Barker Park, Barker

Billie at Barker

Billie at Barker

Garage at Lighthouse

Garage at Lighthouse

Through a window

Through a window

Lake Ontario through a window

Lake Ontario through a window

Shoe Trees, Foss and Lakeshore roads, Lyndonville

Shoe Trees, Foss and Lakeshore roads, Lyndonville

Shoe Trees, Foss and Lakeshore roads, Lyndonville

Shoe Trees, Foss and Lakeshore roads, Lyndonville

Shoe Trees, Foss and Lakeshore roads, Lyndonville

Shoe Trees, Foss and Lakeshore roads, Lyndonville

Shoe Trees, Foss and Lakeshore roads, Lyndonville

Shoe Trees, Foss and Lakeshore roads, Lyndonville

Shoe Trees, Foss and Lakeshore roads, Lyndonville

Shoe Trees, Foss and Lakeshore roads, Lyndonville

Sleds in Medina

Sleds in Medina

Medina Clock

Medina Clock

Photos: San Francisco

Seagull at Sunset, San Francisco Bay

Seagull at Sunset, San Francisco Bay

I suspect I could spend a lifetime in San Francisco and never exhaust the photographic possibilities. A million photographers couldn’t. It’s no wonder it’s a city that inspires so much art. Here are a collection of photos from my two photo-making sessions during my visit to the Golden City.

Balconies of the Hyatt Regency

Balconies of the Hyatt Regency

Ferry Building Clock Tower

Ferry Building Clock Tower

Fire truck and trolly stop, Embarcadero

Fire truck and trolly stop, Embarcadero

Sunflowers

Sunflowers (I’ve never seen this species of sunflower before).

Embarcadero Drummer

Embarcadero Drummer

Standing on the Pier, San Francisco Bay

Standing on the dock of the bay.

Alcatraz at Sunset

Alcatraz at Sunset

Moon over San Fransisco

Moon over San Fransisco

Seagull

Seagull

Coit Tower

Coit Tower

Fisherman's Wharf, Lobster

Fisherman’s Wharf, Lobster

On Saturday, Ed Summerfield gave me a bit of a tour of San Francisco, including lunch in the Haight and a walk through the district. I first met Ed in 1977 when he was in a band called Adjust-A-Boy. He was the coolest guy me and my friends knew. He became my guitar teacher and a friend. I hadn’t seen Ed in more than 25 years before Saturday. I’m ever so grateful that he took time on a Saturday to hang out with me for a few hours. It was a very groovy day.

The Murphy Windmill, built in 1905 and recently restored by the city. Saturday was the first day the windmill was allowed to spin.  Eventually, it will start pumping water again.

The Murphy Windmill, built in 1905 and recently restored by the city. Saturday was the first day the windmill was allowed to spin. Eventually, it will start pumping water again.

Murphy Windmill

Ed snaps a picture of the Murphy Windmill. Ed, a talented and avid photographer, has made the transition from SLR to iPhone.

Ben and the Windmill

Ben and the Windmill. Ben’s truck is in the middle of a transformation from red, white and blue to the colors of Brazil. Ben’s plan is to take a year off work and drive to Rio for the World Cup. Ben is from Holland originally. He said his truck has been painted and repainted many times.

Trees over the Pacific

Trees over the Pacific

The Streets of San Francisco

The Streets of San Francisco

Looking down Haight

Looking down Haight

Haight

Haight

Haight

Haight

Off Haight

Off Haight

Ashbury

Ashbury

Haight and Ashbury

Haight and Ashbury

Haight and Ashbury

Haight and Ashbury

Haight and Ashbury

Haight and Ashbury

Flowers on Haight

Roasted Chicken on Haight

Photo of Guitars

Ed taking pictures of, of course, guitars, and guitars we both covet.


Monster on Haight

Monster on Haight


Tile Wall

Tile Wall

Photo: A snowy night in my back yard

Snowy Night in My Back Yard

Snowy Night in My Back Yard

To me, a night like tonight is a perfect winter night. Such nights are rare enough in winters when much snow falls. They are rarer still on mild winters, such as the one we’ve had to endure so far in 2012.

The snow falling is thick and wet, but more importantly, there is no wind, so it falls gently.

It’s the kind of snow that sticks easily to tree branches and fence posts, but more importantly, tomorrow we are likely to see some nice snowmen around town.

We need more nights — and days — like this before spring arrives.

Twelve Photos from 2011

In the Pines

In the Pines, Genesee County Park, Bethany, NY (Nikon D7000)

These are what I consider my 12 best pictures from 2011.

Batavia Waste Water Treatment Plant

A gull at the Batavia Waste Water Treatment Plant, Batavia, NY (Nikon D7000)

Elba Barn Fire

Firefighter takes a break from fighting a barn fire in Elba, NY. (Nikon D90)

Hindu Wedding

A bride celebrates her marriage during at traditional Hindu wedding in Batavia, NY (Nikon D7000)

Marty Stuart

Marty Stuart tuning up back stage prior to a concert in Le Roy, NY. (Nikon D7000)

Mud Races

From the East Pembroke Volunteer Fire Department's annual mud races. (Nikon D7000)

Running Deer

A deer running past a pond in the City of Batavia park off Donahue Road. (Nikon D7000)

Starr Farm

Starr Farm, Pavilion, NY. (Nikon D7000)

History Museum Canon

History Museum Canon, at the Holland Land Office Museum, Batavia, NY. (Nikon F4, Kodak Ektar 100 Film)

Pachuco in our backyard

Pachuco in our backyard (Nikon F4, Kodak cn400BW film)

Fall Cemetery, Le Roy

Fall Cemetery, Le Roy, NY. (Nikon D7000)

Wintry Woods

Wintry Woods, Alexander, NY. (Nikon D7000 -- the first day I owned the camera).

My new Nikon F4

Nikon F4

Nikon F4

Some time ago, I decided I wanted a Nikon F and a Nikon F4.

The Nikon F is the seminal SLR camera.  It was the pro camera of much of the 1960s and 1970s.  And the lenses I use with my Nikkormat are 100 percent compatible, plus I already own a great Nikon F/Nikkormat manual.

The Nikon F4 was a huge step forward in 1989 or so in SLR technology and the camera all the pros had to get after it was introduced.

My idea was that I would use the Nikon F to shoot black and white and the F4 to shoot color.  This way, I would always have a camera loaded with black and white and one always loaded with color.

The problem was, though, how to pay for two old, used cameras.

Then I remembered I had a couple of old iPhones and a Droid phone to sell.

Those three phones brought in nearly $500.

That turned out to be just enough to buy an F and an F4.

The F4 arrived today and I quickly ran a roll of Kodak BW400cn through it to make sure it works.

And it works very well.

Below are three shots from today. There may or may not be more on VuFindr.com.

One cool thing about the F4: It’s compatible with my SB700 Speedlight, the newest strobe from Nikon, as the third picture below shows.

Pachuco in our backyard

Pachuco in our backyard

Garage Door

Garage Door

Fiona and Fergus

Fiona and Fergus

A roll of film through my Pentax Spotmatic

Used Car Flags

I’ve now shot two rolls of Kodak Ektar 100 film. I love this film. The warmth and saturation of the colors is just wonderful. It reminds me of the tone and texture of Kodachrome shots I see in my old National Geographic magazines, though probably not quite as saturated.

After the first roll, I bought three more online, but decided to run this through my Pentax (the auction-bought camera that started me on this film binge).

The meter in the Pentax doesn’t work, but a week or so ago I found an old Weston Exposure Meter in a local second-hand shop.  $7.50 later, I had myself a very serviceable light meter.

I decided to use the Pentax because I started having trouble with my Nikkormat.  After some shots, after I cocked the film advance lever, the shutter still wouldn’t fire, causing me to cock it again and wasting a frame of film.

Meanwhile, I sold two old iPhones and a used Droid phone and a couple of other items on Ebay, putting nearly $500 in my PayPal account. I spent that money on a Nikon F and Nikon F4.

The F4 arrived today and I’ll do another post shortly of some shots from the first roll I ran through that camera.

Form this Ektar roll in the Pentax, I have 10 shots worth of consideration for publication on VuFindr.  I present three here and more may or may not appear on VuFindr.

Leaf in Bark

Leaf in Bark

Austin Park Bench

Austin Park Bench

My first rangefinder: Zeiss Ikon Contessa LKE

Zeiss Contessa

Zeiss Contessa

If I were launching a new compact, straight-to-the-point, limited function, but quality camera, I might call it the Contessa.

It’s a sweet name for a well designed, small 35mm camera.

German camera and lens maker Zeiss introduced its Contessa in the early 1960s, and around that time, somebody in the Batavia area bought a unit of this nice tourist camera.

That camera, complete with a US customs sticker from some foreign travel on its leather case, went up for sale in auction at Bontrager’s on Wednesday and I was the fortunate soul who was the highest bidder.

After stopped the camera at Bontrager’s on Monday, I did a little research and figured it would be a bargain at $15, but anything over $90 would be too much. I put a stop-loss-limit on myself of $60.

I won the auction at $55.

Today, I ran through it a roll of generic color film from CVS and had it developed. The results can be viewed below.

While the Contessa was hardly the point-and-shoot of its day, it is as high-end as a good SLR.  The fixed-lens camera has a max shutter speed of 1/500, which makes it hard in many lighting conditions to shoot wide open at f2.8.

It may just be a product of age or something unique to my camera, but it’s not necessarily use to adjust shutter speed and aperture on the camera, and it’s certainly not easy to change the ISO setting.

As for the quality of the pictures, the Zeiss lens certainly is sharp.

Mostly, though, I was just happy my shots turned out.

Besides the cool retro design of the camera — this is going to look great on display — I wanted the camera because I’ve never even held a range finder before.  I was curious to give one a try.

While it’s no Leica, Zeiss has a grand reputation, especially in lenses, so I was happy to get it for that reason, as well.

I’m pleased with the photographic results of some quick-take pictures today on just so-so film.

Canon, Holland Land Office Museum

Canon, Holland Land Office Museum

Louis' Barber Shop

Louis' Barber Shop

Fall Tree Branches

Fall Tree Branches

Graveyard Cross

Graveyard Cross

Center Street Smokehouse sign

Center Street Smokehouse sign

Roll of Color Film 2

No Hunting Genesee Couny Park

No Hunting Genesee Couny Park

For the second time, I’ve run a roll of color film through my Nikkormat.

The film is generic color film from the local CVS drugstore, 400 ISO. The color is not as rich as the Kodak Ektar, but I still like the sharpness and lack of digital artifacts that I’m getting with film.

Most of the roll was shot at Genesee County Park. I think I got eight decent shots from the 24 exposures. I’m publishing two here. I will likely publish more in the coming couple of weeks on vufindr.com.

Birch Branches

Birch Branches

Payment made for photos used by the UK Daily Mail

In June 2010, when my photos of Suzanne Corona showed up on the UK Daily Mail’s web site, I tried calling editors at the Daily Mail to complain, but couldn’t get past voice mail.  I also tried e-mail.

James Straub

James Straub

I hadn’t given permission for use of the photos and hadn’t been compensated.

Frustrated, I let the matter drop.

Then, this summer I took a very tabloidly photo of a man who had been arrested after allegedly driving a golf cart while intoxicated.  What made the story was that the initial report was that a man in a clown suit had stolen the golf cart.

A couple of news outlets called and asked permission — and offered compensation — to use the photo.

But it wasn’t long before the photo appeared on the Daily Mail’s site.

Again, without a request for permission nor compensation.

I tweeted about it, posted messages on the Daily Mail’s Facebook Wall and tried sending e-mails to the Daily Mail. My tweet got picked up by Steve Myers on Romenesko+.

Then an item popped up Romenesko about Bradford Noble, the New York photo editor for the Daily Mail online.

I found Bradford’s profile on Facebook and sent him a message.

I got a phone call from him the next day.  He was very kind and apologetic.  He passed my information onto the photo editor in London, who called me a couple of days later and agreed to pay me twice the normal freelance rate for each of the three photos used.

After some issues working out the logistics of getting the money into my checking account, I received that money transfer on Friday.

I figured since I’d made a public stink about use of the photos, I should publicly acknowledge and thank the people at the Daily Mail for coming through with compensation for the photos.

It’s good to know that once I was actually able to make contact with a real, live person at the Daily Mail, they were quite conscientious about making payment for the photos.  And a special thank you to Bradford for taking the issue seriously and getting right on it once it was brought to his attention.

The photo has shown up other places without compensation, such as WTSP, MSN, CBS12, Hot97 and Barstool Sports.  I guess I need to send some letters to these publishers next.

First roll of color film

Pachuco on the Porch with Mums

Pachuco on the Porch with Mums

Once I started shooting film again with my 40+ year old Nikkormat camera I realized something — for all of the years I actively used the camera, I was only shooting black and white. I was shooting black and white because I was shooting for newspapers.

At some point, somewhere I read that one of the advantages of film is that film is inherently sharper (all things considered) than digital.

So a couple of weeks ago I purchased a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 film, 36 exposures, and whenever possible, made pictures with the Nikkormat.

Here are the results — 15 publishable photos.

I do think they are sharper than what I’ve been able to get with digital, though at the resolutions possible through a web browser, that may not be obvious.

I certainly love the tone and warmth of the colors.

From here, with winter coming on especially, I’ll probably be shooting black and white for a while.

My wish is that I could afford to buy another or two (or find at a really good price) Nikon film cameras, so I can load both black and white and color film (one in each camera) and use the appropriate option for the appropriate shot. Some day.

Yellow leaves at the base of a tree

Yellow leaves at the base of a tree

Fall Leaves on a Mossy Tree

Fall Leaves on a Mossy Tree

Fall Trees in Centenial Park, Batavia, NY

Fall Trees in Centenial Park, Batavia, NY

Fall Leaves, Blue Sky, Centennial Park, Batavia, NY

Fall Leaves, Blue Sky, Centennial Park, Batavia, NY

Tree Branch, Morning Sun

Tree Branch, Morning Sun

Frosted Berries

Frosted Berries

Frosted Green Leaves

Frosted Green Leaves

Frosted Red Leaves

Frosted Red Leaves

Milkweed

Milkweed

Metal Pink Flamingo

Metal Pink Flamingo

Metal Bird House

Metal Bird House

Mums in a Wheel Barrow

Mums in a Wheel Barrow

Pumpkin and Mums

Pumpkin and Mums

Pumpkin on the Porch

Pumpkin on the Porch