Heavy Jets and Grain Silos

I work at an unusually large airport in Wilmington, Ohio.

I say unusually large because most airports out in the country, like ours is, are small. One runway, maybe two, used for smaller airplanes.

Ours is large.

Like, Boeing 747 visiting us large.

The airpark has gone through some ups and downs over the last 15 years, but we always have jets coming and going, usually for maintenance.

It makes for a strange view. Combines and tractors finding themselves under the shadows of Boeing 717’s, 757’s and 767’s. Grain silos, water towers and vertical stabilizers (tail fins) creating the only “skyline” to be seen.

But it’s actually kind of nice. Where else will you see this?


That’s a fairly epic morning view.





Three Bikes

Dayton has a bike share program called Link. Many cities have them, though I think Dayton was the only city to go with electric green bikes… Not my first choice, but oh well.

I’ve been trying to take a shot of these bikes that I really like, but almost every time I’ve tried, I’ve messed up. Didn’t frame the shot straight, shook the camera, too much in focus, focus was off, and on and on it went.

Until this shot.

I saw three bikes parked in a rack in front of the Montgomery County Courthouse. I settled for a simple dead on shot, and my simplicity rewarded me.

threebikes (1 of 1).jpg

Sometimes you get lucky.




A Lone Man

I’m not a people photographer. Not really. I have taken pictures with people in them, but they usually end up being crappy, or personal family memories. So I have never shared them.

I was shooting in downtown Dayton and getting ready to head back to my car a couple of Saturdays ago when an older gentleman walked past me, towards the Stop-n-Save Food store a block away.

When he was past me, I realized I had an opportunity for a nice shot. So I took it.

Here’s what I got.



Nikon FE, Nikkor 35 mm f/2.8, Kodak Portra 400




Shooting Film is Timeless

Picking up a roll of developed film from my local shop, I was given a pleasant surprise.

There was a nice elderly lady that had come in to ask some questions about her camera. It was an old Nikon N2020 with a couple of very nice Nikkor zooms. She had been cleaning out her husband’s closet and found the camera, which he had been saying he wanted to find and use again.

Now my local shop has some great people working there. A solid combination of people who know film better than digital, both equally, and digital better than film. Build a relationship with the person who knows your interests the best, and they are a huge wealth of information and ideas.

The schedule had been unkind, though, and today was a digital day. The Nikon N2020, not being one of Nikon’s most well known models, was something of an enigma to most anyone who was looking at it.

Except me. But I’m a geek, and it’s kinda why I’m still single.

She wanted to know if it was a good camera. “Sure. There really isn’t anything it can’t do.”

She wanted to know if the lenses were good. “I have one of these lenses. It’s a constant companion.”

There was a problem, though. I couldn’t make the camera respond to any commands. No autofocus, no viewfinder functionality, no nothing. Opening the battery compartment led me to the reason why. Battery corrosion. Devastatingly huge amounts of battery corrosion. The AA batteries had popped some time ago, and now everything was covered in battery goo.

“Oh. That’s not good, is it?”

I shook my head. “No. I’m afraid not.”

“Can it be fixed?”

I thought about it. The N2020, while not well known, did sell a lot of units. Even if you couldn’t find new parts, it’s more than possible a shop could fix it up. “Sure. It can be fixed. But it won’t be cheap.” I had just paid a fair amount of money to have an older Nikon FE repaired. “It’ll probably be more than a hundred dollars to fix.”

She sighed. “Does anyone even use film anymore?”

I nodded. “A lot of people. Myself included. I love film.” I had my Nikon F4 with me, and I pulled it out of the bag and showed it to her.

“Why do you shoot film?

I thought about it. Why do I shoot film?

Heck, why do I even do photography? It certainly isn’t the cheapest hobby, and for a guy that’s trying to become a pilot and every penny counts, it doesn’t seem to make much sense.

I thought about it, and told her; “Film is timeless. I like the look, and I like the experience. Digital is nice too, I have a DSLR. I use it a lot, too. But film makes me happy. Film lets me… Cheat time, so to speak.”

And it’s true.

I don’t like the “Film v Digital” argument. Use what makes you happy and what delivers your artistic image. I use both mediums, but I like film more.

Film does allow us to cheat time a little bit. And little did I know, I had the proof in the roll I had just picked up.


2017? Or 1987?

There is nothing groundbreaking about the above photograph. It’s nice. A little boring, but nice. Colors are good, nothing’s over exposed. Two old houses in an old Ohio town, with a 1980’s Oldsmobile Cutlass sitting outside. Everything is nice.

And yet, it’s not that boring. Because at first glance, you have no idea how old this shot it. I mean, you do, because I’m telling you. If I didn’t tell you though, I could lie to you and say that my grandfather shot this in Northern California on July 16, 1988 with a Canon AE-1 and a roll of Kodak Ektachrome.

But I shot this. In Waynesville, Ohio. With a restored Nikon FE, a 35.. f/2.8 Nikkor, and roll of Portra 400.

This is why I love film. Film truly is timeless.

Even as film gets better. Films like Kodak Ektar 100 and Fuji Velvia 50; films with grain so fine it may as well not even be there, still deliver a slightly vintage tone. A warmth that digital misses.

Digital makes bold images. Even when you force it to look warm, it’s still bold. And that’s great sometimes. Bold, bright, vibrant. I like it.

But for myself, usually, I like softer. Warmer. Give me a vintage 80’s National Geographic look. That’s my favorite. That’s what I try to go for.

So use whatever you want. Use digital. Use film. But go out and shoot.

Oh. And the lady at my camera shop? Oddly enough, she decided to buy her husband a new camera.

Well, sort of.

A college student had come in and traded his first film camera for a different film camera. A Nikon F5 had come in and he wanted it.

His first camera?

A working Nikon N2020.





The Colony

I’ve photographed this theatre before, but this is different.

The Colony was the theatre in Downtown Hillsboro. Earlier this month, it was torn down. While it was being demolished, I snapped a few pictures. My camera malfunctioned and many of the shots were ruined, but I got this one.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Happy Accidents

“We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.”  – Bob Ross

I can be a real clutz sometimes.

Clutz is a technical term for Noob. Or nitwit. Or dummy.

I went to Glen Helen in Yellow Springs and shot a roll of Fomapan 200 black and white film. I really liked it, but Foma doesn’t put DX coding on their film canisters. No big deal, right? Just tell my F4 that I’m shooting a 200 ISO film. Happy Shooting! Right? Right.

Until you go to load the next roll of film.

I’ve never really done well with slide film. The demanding exposure latitudes of slide film have always found me either completely relying on A mode, of which there’s nothing wrong with, or have a roll of completely blown out or underexposed slides. Yay me.

Determined to become better at photography, I loaded a roll of Fuji Velvia 50 into my F4, and went to an old homestead to capture all the wildflowers and abandoned well that still remains. Only one problem.

I never reset my ISO dial. What’s worse, I shot the whole roll -1 step. Ugh.

As a result, there was very little worth noting on this roll of Velvia. Except for three shots.

One is a duplicate, the other I don’t really feel like sharing as I’m sort of “eh” about it.

The last is this one.

As Bob Ross said, a happy accident.




And double check your camera settings!

greenrain (1 of 1)

Nikon F4, Nikon Nikkor 28-105 f/3.5 – 4.5, Velvia 50 shot at 200 ISO. Oops.