Quiet musings.

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004_20 007_17 010_14 018_6 022_2Finally got some more film developed! A few posts coming, hopefully. These were taken on my Olympus OM-20 SLR which has become monopolized by photo class. Julia finally got a picture of me that appropriately demonstrates the ridiculousness that is my hair. Part of it straight, part curly. It can’t make up its mind.

I once again fell into devoting frames to hands, but this time they were my own. Manually focusing and not moving was difficult. I have always found my hands odd looking- my fingers are slightly crooked, my hands are not dainty things, but they are beautifully weird because they are my own.

I also photographed random things around my room. The mink and red nail lacquer screamed some sort of noir film.

Wandering in den Wäldern

Black and white and some photography, finally. Julia and I found ourselves in the trees, around the autumnal woods. Perfect temperatures and a variety of shadows made me feel creative again. An image of myself that I dearly enjoy even came out! We sat on the ground, walked in streams, and waxed about anything and everything.

Photographing Julia is easy- she takes direction, comes up with her own awesome ideas, and we both know that every frame will not turn out.  I don’t pretend to be professional, and she doesn’t either. We improvise with what we have and see what turns out!

I have missed taking photographs I enjoy. I have quite a few more to post soon!

In the last week or so

These pictures are evidence that A) I have friends and B) I do things, even though many a time I feel as though I don’t do a lot.

Last weekend Kristin and I drove up to Lincoln to find huckleberries, and came back with NOTHING- minus some huckleberry milkshakes from a local diner. Wednesday was lunch with Claire and Chelsea- Claire just got back from two months in Guatemala and had stories to tell for what could have been hours (my lunch break was vastly shorter than the time needed).  Thursday evening consisted of hiking and eating ice cream on a porch. Mild chaos ensued at the beginning when a baby garter snake darted in front of me- I have a strange infatuation with all reptiles and amphibians. After attempting to locate it, we continued on a lovely loop that consisted of skinny trees, evening shadows, and the usual talk that ensues among people you’ve known for a long time.  Friday was Moonrise Kingdom for the 4th time with somebody I was hanging out with for the 1st time. The rest of Friday included pushing a bike up a hill, drinking lots of wine, taking some blurry photographs of our Gothic cathedral, and general revelry that was quite marvelous.

My Minolta has a dirty lens that I haven’t cleaned but it’s giving me a nice blur that I’m enjoying.

A Fair Day, You Might Say!

Chelsea and I parked 400 meters from the fair, walked down to the crowded parking lot, and into the most chaotic and entertaining venue here in Montana: the county fair.

Now, if you live somewhere rural, you know the fair: it’s a rodeo combined with a bunch of outdated, unsafe, and really awesome amusement rides. Lots of cranky adults, smoking carnival employees, and dirty children wait in line for food, rides, and games that cheat you out of money swirl around you while you wonder whether to buy 10 or 20 tickets. Roaming groups of teenagers stalk the area, with hungry looks in their eyes, while the best characters in town seemingly come out of the cracks- it’s a literal human zoo.

After Chelsea and I pooled our limited (read: pathetic) amount of cash, we had enough for 10 tickets each. After quickly doing some elementary arithmetic, we devised our plan: Go on the Yo-yo, a dilapidated swing ride, for 3 tickets, then the Typhoon, the terrifying and somewhat shaky ride for 4, and end with the classic Ferris Wheel. BOOM MATH!

In between, we ate the always healthy funnel cakes and caramel apples, went into the farm buildings and petted lambs, laughed at very fluffy chickens, ooed and aahed at the lop eared rabbits and stared at the alien looking earless goats that I definitely want to put as props in a sci-fi film if I ever decide to make a film.

The last ride, the Ferris Wheel, had the longest wait. Just as we were about to get on, a little boy who didn’t have anybody to ride with joined us- a precocious 7 year old named Ashton who had a remarkable vocabulary and told us that if the Ferris Wheel broke down he was a good climber and would save us. His cranky grandmother smoked a cigarette and held a blow-up hammer that he’d won while he waved at her with Chelsea and I.

After the Ferris Wheel we went home, with our stomachs full of junk and our eyes full of neon, the wind blowing in our hair and the cops at the exit, telling us where to cross the street.

I used my crappy Minolta Talk-O-Matic the entire time- it can take a beating. The pictures turned out better than I thought they would! Enjoy!

Refrigerator Canyon hike

Kristin and I decided that a hike was much needed in our blood, and decided upon one of the most interesting hikes in our area. After an 85 minute drive, some hairy switchback turns, and getting sunscreen on, we began the hike.

The canyon funnels all the wind into it, so it actually is about 5 to 10 degrees cooler for the first 1/2 mile or so of the hike- the canyon reaches up to 200 feet tall in some places. Kristin and I scrambled over rocks, around trees, jumped over the meandering stream running through the canyon, and made our way through the breezy nature-made wind tunnel.

Montana hikes are often not the greenest. We’ve got fierce heat, not a lot of moisture that hangs out, and wind that takes off top soil like nobody’s business. Refrigerator Canyon’s hike is almost the exact opposite- the humidity is high, every surface is lush and fertile, and greenery takes over. We hiked for about 6 miles through the trail, and admired Western Tanagers, scouted elk prints, and found the leg of a deer. We ate a quick snack at the overlook, where you can see the surrounding hills, and continued on our way.

Overall, the hike was easy, and we went at a good pace. It was a perfect hike for a couple of hours of fun in a gorgeous setting. I need to  hike more around my area, seriously!

I hope you all had an awesome weekend! Now I’m making Cocoa Pebbles marshmallow treats and cleaning my house. Tschüß!

γνῶθι σεαυτόν (Know thyself)

Alright, so I haven’t posted in quite awhile. My access to a computer and sanity has been limited at best- my job has taken a turn for the hectic, and my schedule is now devoted to working, running, and sleeping. There is not a lot of time for other things, besides occasionally being social (rarity) and perhaps procrastinating by blogging.

I think that as somebody who takes thousands of photographs, I find myself often missing pictures of myself. I either don’t ask others to take pictures of me or they never offer. Of the thousands of photographs I post, I am in hardly any. Unfortunatly, I fear that later in life I will be able to see my world but not be able to see me. How am I aging? How am I transforming? I want to know both the world around me through my images but I also in a strange way desperately want to be able to capture something in photographs of myself that I haven’t quite gotten.

The point of the title is that in Greek it translates to meaning “know thyself” but within that it means “pay no attention to the opinion of the multitude” (source here). Although I probably looked ridiculous pointing the lens to myself, or I possibly looked self centered, it is vital that I know not just the world I photograph with such voracity but also myself and how I am in this world.

Summer gets busy, blah blah blah.

Life is back in a solid schedule.

I’m working at the Forest Service again, only this time as a front desk person! I get to answer phone calls, answer the public’s questions, work on time sheets, and all sorts of miscellaneous tasks. Honestly, I’m stoked to work there- my co-workers are awesome, there are some new people I already find interesting and hope to get to know, and I get to gather a whole new skill set! WOO!

The last week has been a mix of night runs, small gatherings of friends, and general meandering. My life has settled into a routine. I’m really excited because I’m already getting out a lot more than I did last summer. I hang out with Kristin a lot, and she’s really into hiking, biking, and being outside with SPF, which is perfect. Julia is graduating very soon and then jetting off to Deutschland to hang with her mysterious Tanten (aunts),  which I’m quite jealous of.

I’m trying to teach myself German, and the grammar is already destroying my mind. What I’m doing is trying to focus on learning present tense and building myself more of a conversational vocabulary rather than trying to get too deep into grammar, as I know it’s very difficult once you really commit to it.

Anyway, enjoy these images! I’ll try to post more regularly. I got a new computer as the other one finally died yesterday, too, so maybe this’ll be more efficient!

Tschüß, dear readers!

Primavera in several forms.

The last few days have been busy with mostly unimportant things like reading about World War II, sun bathing, eating food food, and enjoying being 21, which hasn’t been super exciting but is freeing at the same time.

My photographs will be improving soon, though, as a result of the f/1.4 50mm lens my parents got me for my birthday! I opened it this morning at my favorite breakfast place in Bozeman, the Nova, and am SO excited to shoot with it and experience the gorgeous focus and diffusion! WOO!

Anyway, here are some photographs from my 50mm 1.8 lens of yesterday and some of the days before.

Camera Repair: 1954 Brownie Bull’s-Eye

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours doing not-very-orthodox Thanksgiving things, like trying to fix the lenses on my little Bull’s-Eye.

I picked it up along with a Kodak Instamatic 50 and an Argus Argoflex Seventy-Five for $15 at a local garage sale- only to find that somehow, along it’s looonnnggg life span, the Bull’s-Eye got submerged or was in a very humid place- there was white fungus in the lenses and around them.

My grandfather loaned me two screw drivers and some lens cleaner, and I set out disassembling the small camera. It came apart easily, and I quickly discovered how cool the inside of the camera looked. I took of the face plate, the back, and several layers of metal- only removing about six screws. We popped off the rubber lens-holder (terminology is not really great, sorry!) and got the two lenses apart. After cleaning them carefully with q-tips and lens cleaner, we put everything back together, all without a hitch!

Now the Bull’s-Eye is actually usuable! It even came with the Midget flash, and some unused Sylvania M-3 flash bulbs, so I am all set to begin using it!

P.S.: I don’t use 620 film- mostly because it’s rare and WAY too expensive when you can find it. What I do instead is grind down a regular 120 mm spool with a metal file and clip it on the edges with a nail clipper until it fits just like a regular 620 spool- it’s effortless and super easy to do. You can definitely do it yourself- don’t buy the $10.99 re-spooled film you find on eBay, you can do it yourself so easily it’s not worth it.

Pin Hole Photography

This summer I helped out with a beginning photography class, and we all built and used our own pin hole cameras. Mine was an old oatmeal can, which was so much fun to use! I tried to scan in some photographs yesterday…I hope they’re  not too terrible quality, the scanner was picky.

I find pin hole photography to be one of my favorite kinds of photography. Sorry these aren’t much bigger, I wish they had scanned at a higher JPEG resolution!

Montana State University Campus: A brief, biased tour.

I finally got a Costco card (a bloodless coup was involved; I had to take my father’s. Subsequently, as some sort of punishment from the universe, the photo ID looks more gremlin than human)…ahem, back on track. Thusly, the Costco card gives me the cheapest film processing in town, and the gents I usually go to do a fine job!

So, here in glorious black and white, is Montana State University in all it’s honor and prestige.

Thus far going to school here has been more culture shock than anything! My courses are exhausting- I have about 250 pages of reading per week total, and that’s on average- sometimes it will come to about400. Spanish is kicking my Italian-minded brain into the dust, and my pronunciation is horrendous. A class focusing on Dutch Baroque art seems to be promising- the teacher has a dry sort of humor that is morbid and yet hilarious. History of the Gilded Age is male dominated, and my female voice hasn’t been heard much over the din of an especially Viking-esque appearing genius with an impeccable vocabulary and succinct summaries of the course material. Damn him.  My Museum Studies course might be the favorite this semester; the teacher holds a high standing in the museum community, is lively with conversation, and has connections all over the place. We get to evaluate exhibits and research, and find out how museums work; the politics portion is especially interesting. How does one keep the wealthy patrons/sponsors of museums happy while still pushing the envelope?

Other than that, I’ve been spending my time reading The Shining by Stephen King, one of my all time favorite books, while eating bland dining hall food (Mmmm! Weak gumbo!) and bowls of raw spinach, which I’ve recently acquired a taste for. My roommate, although I have no pictures of her, is lively and outdoorsy, a Photography major with a wicked sense of humor, and oddly shares my glasses prescription! Whodathunkit?

This week will definitely be more intense. However, Julia’s father recently gave me five professional grade Olympus compatible  Tamron/Vivitar/Zuiko lenses for my 35mm SLR OM-20, which I’m so excited to try! There is a “shift” lens, which is quite fun, along with a wide angle lens- already having a blast experimenting! I shall do my best to spend some time playing around with them and show you all the results!

Vorrei qualcosa di bere?

This morning Chelsea and I met at the Bagel Company and snatched a rarely available newspaper off the table.

The goal?

Garage sale hunting.

In short, Chelsea and I had the goal to beat all the early bird old timers at picking out the gems in the (scarce) garage sale-ing market here in our small town. We wrote some addresses on a napkin (classy, I know) and after drinking black coffee and bagels (toasted, of course) we hopped into the Golden Chariot and were off on an adventure in cheap purchases.

The first two places we stopped by had nothing of value; baby clothing or clothing in sixes 2X- we were right in the middle, and therefore drove on, eventually to an odd garage sale happening behind an enormous engineering firm. I purchased a teal blue glass cup for 35 cents (deal!) , and a box made to look like an old book with a red felt interior to hold jewelry (tacky/kistchy goodness!). Chelsea, on the hunt for vintage tea cups, did not make any purchases (and never did- the tea cups were never found).

We eventually found ourselves on Cherry Avenue, where the greatest bargain laid in a pleather brown camera bag.

Not one, not two but three cameras ranging from the 50’s and 60’s lay  in a bag, nestled together, complete with flash cubes and instruction manuals. The price? A mere $15. Who wouldn’t lunge at that?

An Argus Argoflex 75

Kodak Instamatic 150

Kodak Brownie Bull’s-Eye

I’ve had my fingers viciously pounding the keyboard for the last two hours trying to figure out A) how to get 620 film (deemed impossible unless I was wealthy) and then B) how to modify 120 film into 620 film (thank you, Internet and Flickr people!). I think it is possible, and I’m currently toying with the idea of ordering about 10 packs of 120 film from this weird, small and cheap Croatian film company to mess around with. You have to grind down the film and trip the edges to make it compatible for the Argus and the Kodak Brownie bodies, but I think it might be possible!

As for the Kodak Instamatic…well, 126 film is even more difficult to come across, and just as tricky. Some people say you can wind 35 mm (standard) film into a 126 film canister, but my not-to-nimble fingers make me doubtful of my power to A) even get a roll of 126 and B) to correctly use the canister again with 35mm film inside.

This concludes my all-too-enthusiastic post about my new cameras. In the next few weeks who knows, perhaps I will have gotten up the guts (and the dough/cash/moolah/ka-ching/currency) to invest in some 120 film and see if I can get either the Kodak Brownie or the Argues functioning!

Also, the title of this post has nothing to do with the actual content. It translates to, Would you like something to drink? in Italian.