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Archive for the ‘Analog’ Category

Once I decided to bring film on our most recent Texas trip because of our Franklin Barbecue/Austin, Texas excursion, I determined to find something else to photograph so I could make the most out of bringing my Pentax 6×7.

So, on a sweltering Saturday afternoon before our Astros game, Jeff, my younger brother Geoff and our friend Hannah agreed to indulge me by going to the Sugar & Cloth color wall.

It’s basically one long warehouse wall painted in eight different colors, with each paint color extending out onto the pavement below by six feet. This makes it extremely Instagram-friendly; in fact, I’ve seen on Instagram numerous photos of engaged or married couples and of seniors against the backdrop of the wall. Because my parents live just on the outskirts of Houston, we don’t often go “into Houston,” so it was a treat, albeit a sweaty one, to spend an hour at the color wall.

© 2016. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Ektar +2.

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It’s now tradition/a mandate that whenever Jeff and I visit Texas, we go to a local-ish barbecue joint.

Previous outings have included Gatlin’s BBQ in Houston, Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano, Roegels Barbecue Co in Houston and The Salt Lick in Driftwood. Separately, I’ve been to Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, and Jeff has eaten at Pecan Lodge in Dallas.

So we were long overdue to eat at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, which is perhaps best known for the line that forms 4-6 hours before it opens at 11 a.m.

With my younger brother Geoff, we left Houston at 5 a.m. one hot Friday morning and arrived at Franklin at 7:40 — just in time to snag the last spot in line with almost full shade cast by the building.

Here are some frames, courtesy of my Pentax 6×7, that I took of our long-awaited pilgrimage to Franklin, and of our walking tour of Austin afterwards.

© 2016. This is part of the line after we’d already eaten. The line was so long that Franklin staff had to tell some relative late-comers not to expect to get anything. Portra 400.

© 2016. This is before Jeff moved into the shade. Franklin staff later brought out umbrellas for those in line to protect themselves against the sun. Portra 400.

© 2016. Boots. Portra 400.

© 2016. No boots. Portra 400.

© 2016. The fuel. Portra 400.

© 2016. Fin. Portra 400.

© 2016. This is after we took a free tour of the Texas State Capitol. The flag was at half-mast after five Dallas police officers were shot and killed the previous day. Portra 400.

© 2016. Portra 400.

© 2016. There might be more five-pointed stars on the Texas State Capitol grounds than there are in any other state. Portra 400.

© 2016. Portra 400.

© 2016. Geoff! Portra 400.

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Jeff and I are suckers for national parks, so almost immediately after we booked our flights to California, he reserved a campground site in Yosemite National Park. We budgeted only two days and a night for the park, but, accompanied by my brother Matt, we definitely made the most of those 30 hours.

As we drove into the park, the sunshiney day turned to spitting rain, and we barely got our tents up in time. We then immediately started heading toward Glacier Point Road, with a few stops along the way. Pentax 6×7 the entire time, of course — I left my 5DII at Matt and Emily’s house in Fremont:

© 2016. I stood in the rain for almost 10 minutes to wait for the sun to break through the clouds and hit those trees. We didn’t see the sun again that day until sunset. Cathedral Rocks and Spires. Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 160+1.

Then onward and upwards:

© 2016. El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall and Cathedral Rocks and Spires, from Tunnel View. Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 160+1.

© 2016. Bridalveil Fall, from Tunnel View. Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 160+1.

As we continued on Glacier Point Road and gained elevation, the temperature dropped precipitously. While we’d enjoyed low 70s in Yosemite Valley, we suddenly faced upper 20s and snow:

© 2016. Matt and me, off of Glacier Point Road. Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 160+1.

When we arrived at Glacier Point, we found Half Dome and much of the rest of the view obscured by clouds. So we decided to hike the Panorama Trail to Illilouette Falls Bridge, in hopes that the sun would eventually overcome the clouds by the time we returned to Glacier Point.

© 2016. Jeff, Matt and Half Dome, from the Panorama Trail. Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 400.

© 2016. View from the Illilouette Falls Bridge. Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 400.

We spent maybe five minutes on the bridge, and then went right back up the Panorama Trail to return to Glacier Point.

© 2016. Moss on the Panorama Trail. Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 400.

As we made our way up the Panorama Trail’s gradual incline, the clouds slowly began giving way, and the quality of light changed before our eyes. Unsure if we’d reach Glacier Point by sunset, we stopped to grab photos of Half Dome as it was bathed in a beautiful glow.

© 2016. Half Dome from the Panorama Trail. Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 400.

Then we hiked for maybe 10 more minutes and realized we were basically back at Glacier Point. So we hurried to the overlook and waited for the sun to finally come out. This frame — my only one of Half Dome lit by the sun — was the last on my roll for the day:

© 2016. Half Dome from Glacier Point. Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 400.

The next morning, over breakfast burritos, we decided to hike the Yosemite Falls Trail.

© 2016. Yosemite Falls, as seen from Yosemite Valley. Monday, May 2, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 400.

This trail is notoriously steep, with an elevation gain of 2,700 feet over 3 miles, and it was definitely a challenge for me. Worst of all, by the time Jeff and I got to the top of Yosemite Falls, we found it difficult to enjoy the vista simply because of the time of day — it was just past noon, and half the valley was cast in dark blue haze.

So here’s one more photo of the upper falls, taken on the trail’s downhill section after Columbia Rock:

© 2016. Yosemite Falls, as seen from the Yosemite Falls Trail. Monday, May 2, 2016, in Yosemite National Park. Portra 400.

The next day, Jeff and I flew out of San Jose, marking the end of our trip. Despite my occasional misuse, it was an excellent test run for my Sekonic L-508, and I’m excited to use it for future outings!

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Of course, our Bay Area visit last month wouldn’t have been complete if we hadn’t made a Golden Gate Bridge expedition.

© 2016. Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Ektar +2.

It was at this point in our trip that Jeff actually complained about our having blue skies every day. I knew he wanted that iconic San Francisco fog for photos, but the picture-perfect day combined with Ektar was all I needed to make me happy.

© 2016. Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Ektar +2.

© 2016. View from the bridge. Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Ektar +2.

We’d walked most of the length of the bridge with Matt, Emily and the kids when Emily decided to take the kids back towards San Francisco. Matt, Jeff and I continued on to Battery Spencer for probably the most popular overlook of the bridge:

© 2016. View from Battery Spencer. Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Ektar +2.

On our way back across the bridge, we saw two couples of gray whales breaching beneath the bridge. While I didn’t attempt to take any photos on film, seeing whales in the bay was definitely a highlight of the day, as you can tell from my tweets.

We reunited with Emily, who provided much-needed pastries, and went on to Baker Beach, but only after Jeff and I paused in a sandy woodland area for quick portraits:

© 2016. Baker Beach. Saturday, April 30, 2016, in San Francisco. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Baker Beach. Saturday, April 30, 2016, in San Francisco. Ektar +2.

Then onward to the beach:

© 2016. Baker Beach. Saturday, April 30, 2016, in San Francisco. Ektar +2.

Anyone who knows me knows I strongly dislike beaches. I’m not a fan of hot sand or dirty ocean water or greasy sunscreen or salty, humid breezes. It turns out, however, that I’ve just been on the wrong coast this entire time. Baker Beach, at least when we were there, was delightfully cool and crisp, and even the wet sand didn’t cling to my feet.

Plus, Atlantic beaches don’t get the sunset, nor this view:

© 2016. The Golden Gate Bridge, as seen from Baker Beach. Saturday, April 30, 2016, in San Francisco. Ektar +2.

Coming up next: YOSEMITE!

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I hauled both digital and film cameras on our trip to California last month — digital for my very active niece and nephew, and film for everything else. I did manage to capture the kids on film, though — in Livermore.

Matt and Emily live in Fremont, so Jeff and I never considered going to Napa Valley when Livermore is practically in their backyard. Accompanied by them, as well as their friends who have Livermore wine connections, we went to BoaVentura de Caires Winery, McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Page Mill Winery and Wente Vineyards. Here’s some Ektar from BoaVentura, which featured two very friendly dogs and a (fenced) yard of chickens clucking near the wine-tasting room:

© 2016. Henry in the bocce court at BoaVentura. Friday, April 29, 2016, in Livermore. Ektar +1.

Especially in Fremont and Livermore, I noticed beautiful, soaring rosebushes everywhere. Emily said roses are grown in vineyards because the flowers are susceptible to the same diseases as the grapes. While each vineyard we visited featured rosebushes, BoaVentura boasted a wider array of flowers, which I loved.

© 2016. BoaVentura. Friday, April 29, 2016, in Livermore. Ektar +1.

© 2016. Layla at BoaVentura. Friday, April 29, 2016, in Livermore. Ektar +1.

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A number of friends have moved to California (SF, LA and everywhere in-between) over the past few years, which means I’ve heard “west is best” more than once.

I admit, after visiting the Bay Area for the first time last month, I might have to agree.

After my sister-in-law, Jeff, the kids and I visited Muir Woods National Monument, we took the very winding drive up into Mount Tamalpais State Park and then the very winding drive on the Pacific Coast Highway. I’m embarrassed to say the wildly curvy roads gave me an uncomfortable case of motion sickness, which lessened my enjoyment of the scenery, but here are a few frames out of the Pentax 6×7:

© 2016. Mount Tamalpais State Park. Thursday, April 28, 2016, on the Pacific Coast in California. Ektar +2.

© 2016. Mount Tamalpais State Park. Thursday, April 28, 2016, on the Pacific Coast in California. Ektar +2.

Plus, the hazy day didn’t lend itself well to photos of the far-off vistas of San Francisco or the coastline, except when we came to this spot off the Pacific Coast Highway:

© 2016. Pacific Coast Highway. Thursday, April 28, 2016, in California. Ektar +2.

Gotta love Ektar for those ocean blues. We’ll see more Ektar blues in a future blog post, but next up is a wine break in Livermore.

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The first day we walked around San Francisco, I fell in love with the trees. All the trees.

I love what trees do for a place, and for photos. When my parents had to have one of their three large oaks removed because the roots were threatening the house’s foundation, I was pretty upset. Jeff and I got married in an orchard of 100-year-old pecan trees. The first thing I want to do when we get a house, if the yard will allow for it, is plant a tree.

As much as I loved the trees in San Francisco itself, I somehow didn’t take any photos of them. But here are some fabulous trees further out in the Bay Area, all captured on my Pentax 6×7:

© 2016. Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Muir Woods National Monument. Portra 400+1.

© 2016. Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Muir Woods National Monument. Portra 400+1.

© 2016. Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Muir Woods National Monument. Portra 400+1.

© 2016. Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Muir Woods National Monument. Portra 400+1.

Yes, Muir Woods is where the forest moon of Endor was filmed in Return of the Jedi. No, we didn’t see any Ewoks.

Later that evening, we met our friend Esten (with whom we roadtripped into the American West in 2009) in Oakland. I had two frames of Ektar in my camera that I wanted to kill, so when Jeff and I emerged from the Jack London Square parking garage and I saw a stand of trees against the fading twilight, I immediately took out my meter and camera.

When Jeff texted Esten to let him know why we were running late, Esten responded back in astonishment that I was still shooting film when a digital exposure at that hour would call for something upwards of ISO 6400.

Well, this is Ektar rated at/pushed to 400, at f/4 and probably 1/8 or 1/4:

© 2016. Thursday, April 28, 2016, at Jack London Square in Oakland. Ektar +2.

Coming next on the blog: The coast.

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Jeff and I visited my brother and his family in the Bay Area last month, marking my first entry to California since I was 11 months old. We spent a full week gallivanting, wining, dining and adventuring with various combinations of my brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew and old friends. And, of course, we brought cameras.

I took my 5DII strictly for the kids — Layla is a very active toddler, while Henry is a very active crawler/soon-to-be walker — and my Pentax 6×7 for everything else. Along with 18 rolls of film (12 of which I used), I brought a new-to-me toy: A Sekonic L-508 meter, which I happened to misuse for the entire trip. (One day, I accidentally kept the meter set for spot when I wanted incident, and I looked through the wrong lens/side for spot-metering the entire trip. The good news: Now I know better, and all my mistakes only meant I was overexposing the film, which is not a terrible thing.)

I’ll break up the film blog posts by topic, and will soon share the digital photos of the kids. First off, the city of San Francisco:

© 2016. Grant Avenue in Chinatown. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Portra 160+1.

© 2016. Grant Avenue in Chinatown. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Portra 160+1.

© 2016. Grant Avenue in Chinatown. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Portra 160+1.

© 2016. Looking west down Filbert Street from Telegraph Hill. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Portra 160+1.

© 2016. The Mission District. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Portra 160+1.

© 2016. Mission Dolores Park. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Portra 160+1.

© 2016. Mission Dolores Park. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Portra 160+1.

© 2016. The Painted Ladies from Alamo Square. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Portra 160+1.

Check back for more blog posts over the next few days!

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Late last summer and early fall, we took a number of short trips: New York City, Rochester, Niagara, Corning, Rehoboth Beach, Bethlehem. Wherever I went, so did a few rolls of Portra 400 and either the Mamiya or Pentax. I’ve been sitting on these scans from Film Box Lab (which is now closed) for far too long now. Enjoy.

© 2015. Jeff (and a bird) outside the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Mamiya C220.

© 2015. Catherine and me, at the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Mamiya C220.

© 2015. Foliage on the High Line in New York City. Mamiya C220.

© 2015. View from the High Line in New York City. Mamiya C220.

© 2015. Jeff, and Dewey Beach. Mamiya C220.

© 2015. Jeff and his beloved Thrasher’s French Fries, at Dewey Beach. Mamiya C220.

© 2015. Corning Museum of Glass. Pentax 6×7.

© 2015. Corning Museum of Glass. Photo by Jeff. Pentax 6×7.

© 2015. George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y. Pentax 6×7.

© 2015. Niagara Falls, N.Y. Pentax 6×7.

© 2015. Flora. Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pentax 6×7.

© 2015. Mom ran a 5k, 10k and half-marathon in two days for a “hat trick” in the Runner’s Half Marathon and Festival in Bethlehem. Mamiya C220.

© 2015. Mom and me with farm-fresh vegetables from Goldfinch Farm’s CSA. Mamiya C220.

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Philadelphia has become my favorite city, tied with Houston (which has the hometown advantage). It’s walkable and has plenty of restaurants, which is great since Jeff and I tend to plan our trips around where we want to eat. We’ve established a tradition of visiting the City of Brotherly Love every mid-December since 2012, but we usually end up trekking over at least three times a year.

Easter weekend brought a much-needed three-day weekend in Philadelphia, after several long months of projects that culminated in two insanely busy weeks. I also got to try a new camera bag for my Pentax 6×7 and lenses, ahead of several upcoming trips.

All the below photos were shot on Portra 400, rated at 800 and pushed +1 in development by the FIND Lab.

© 2016. Outside the Barnes Foundation.

© 2016. Eastern State Penitentiary.

© 2016. Eastern State Penitentiary.

© 2016. Eastern State Penitentiary.

© 2016. Eastern State Penitentiary.

© 2016. Philadelphia Chinatown.

© 2016. Philadelphia Chinatown.

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Recently, I took a dive back into some older film scans and found a few frames from our Colorado trip that I hadn’t blogged. Coincidentally, their composition and subjects are pretty similar. Here we go:

© 2014. Looking westward from Ute Pass Road off of Highway 9 near Arapaho National Forest, Co. Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.

© 2014. Tundra Communities Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.

© 2014. Tundra Communities Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.

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© 2015. Jeff and Vera, after a quick breakfast from Russ & Daughters on East Houston Street in New York City.

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Analog: Birthday crabs

At some point in the past year, I put my film cameras down and, more or less, forgot about them. I could blame our move in January or our wedding in May or a general lack of inspiration since I’d last used film (in Colorado). Whatever/regardless of the reason, my film cameras sat in the closet and stayed there.

Then my friend Zach got a Mamiya C220, like mine. And he and his wife had a beautiful baby girl. And he began taking exquisite frames of their everyday life and sharing them, and inspiring me to pick up my damn cameras again.

So, here’s some film from my mother-in-law’s birthday lunch of steamed crabs in Essex, Md. — and there’ll be more film to come.

And thank you, Zach for getting me out of my rut.

© 2015.

© 2015.

© 2015.

© 2015.

© 2015.

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Analog: Colorado

Jeff and I went to Colorado for a friend’s wedding in Snowmass Village, where it was autumn and the aspen leaves were in their golden prime. Then we spent the next day and a half at Rocky Mountain National Park, where it was winter and the snow crunched under our boots.

When you go to a big, epic place like Colorado, you need to take a big, epic camera. So I brought my Pentax 6×7 and all three lenses, plus a few rolls of Portra 400. Enjoy!

© 2014. Looking westward from Ute Pass Road off of Highway 9 near Arapaho National Forest, Colo. Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.

© 2014. Aspens at Maroon Bells near Aspen, Colo., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.

© 2014. Wildflowers along the road to Snowmass Village, Colo., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.

© 2014. Maroon Bells near Aspen, Colo., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.

© 2014. Maroon Bells near Aspen, Colo. Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.

© 2014. Wildflowers along the road to Snowmass Village, Colo. Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.

© 2014. View north from Falls Road near West Horseshoe Park in Rocky Mountain National Park. Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.

© 2014. View east from Rainbow Curve in Rocky Mountain National Park. Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.

© 2014. Tundra Communities Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.

© 2014. Tundra Communities Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.

© 2014. Tundra Communities Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.

© 2014. View from Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.

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When I went to Houston in May for my grandfather’s funeral, I brought not just my digital camera, but also my Mamiya C220. I shot an entire roll of just family time in the backyard, but this one’s my favorite.

© 2014. Emily with Layla, then almost 20 months old, in Houston.

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If you took Yoda (non-combative, original trilogy version), Obi-Wan (mostly Alec Guinness’s version) and Gandalf the Grey (pre-White) and mashed them together, you’d get Grant Kalivoda.

Grant wasn’t an awards-amassing ivory tower type, nor was he a lofty-minded artist, nor was he a Jedi (I think). But he was a whiz at camera, darkroom and printing technology who dreamed of organizing Segway tours of his beloved Santa Fe and who had a hearty appetite for New Mexican food and good conversation. He was the “New Mexico hippie [who] put a medium-format film SLR camera into my hands and told me to have fun” who is mentioned in my biography on this blog.

Grant passed away earlier this week.

Grant Kalivoda, 67, sits for a portrait in his Santa Fe front porch with Gnorm the Gnome on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.

© 2013. Grant Kalivoda, 67, sits for a portrait in his Santa Fe front porch with Gnorm the Gnome on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.

I’ve mentioned Grant before on this blog, but only once, apparently. Which is absurd now that I think about the extraordinary impact Grant had on my life. So, I now belatedly attempt to correct this oversight.

Rewind to 2006. I had applied for several different summer jobs at Philmont Scout Ranch in northeastern New Mexico and, on a whim, included a CD of pretty craptastic photos I’d taken on my first digital camera, a Canon point-and-shoot. For whatever reason, Philmont offered me a job as a photographer. I accepted, even though I knew nothing about photography and was terrified of learning how to use real cameras and the darkroom.

Enter Grant. Grant, a photo and printing specialist out of Santa Fe, had for years been training Philmont photographers how to use the gigantic Pentax 6×7 cameras, how to develop C-41 film with the Jobo processor, how to use the enlargers and the Kreonite print processor for individual prints and how to use the Noritsu print processors for prints en masse. As the only photographer on staff who’d never manually exposed or developed her own film before, I was at a distinct disadvantage, but Grant treated me just as if I were any of the other photographers. All I needed was a bit more mentorship, which he provided.

Under Grant’s instruction, I didn’t botch up my first-ever roll of film (which I still have), nor any roll of film I shot that summer. I fell in love with film, hard. Being in complete control over every step of the process never ceased to awe me, and I was hooked. I happily lugged the heavy Pentax gear up and down mountains, relished the thudding sound of the heavy shutter and voluntarily spent many late nights developing film and printing.

This said, I was still an awful photographer. I’m not sure that the ranch was able to use most of the pictures I produced for marketing purchases that first summer. But I sure did have fun.

In fact, I had so much fun that when I went to Mizzou that fall, I slammed the brakes on my aspirations of becoming a reporter, and instead worked my tail off to become a photojournalist.

And now here I am.

A photojournalist.

© 2013. This is a control panel from one of two Noritsu printers that was saved and mounted amid the 2007 digital conversion at Philmont News & Photo.

© 2013. These prints, dating from the early 1990s, were ones that Grant Kalivoda used to demonstrate color compensation for the Noritsu printers we used at Philmont News & Service before the 2007 digital conversion.

I came back to Philmont for two more summers: In 2007, I was one of the only returning photographers from 2006 to help transition the department from film to digital, and in 2008, I headed the ranch’s weekly staff newsletter. Grant provided training during both those summers, albeit at a diminished frequency compared to 2006. Still, I loved seeing my old friend whenever he made the drive from Santa Fe, and was greatly reassured that he was only a phone call away.

When Jeff and I made Santa Fe our destination for our 2010 spring break road trip, I made sure we saw Grant. It only made sense to introduce two of the most important people in my life to each other, and of course it was great to see Grant again. We met up for green chile burgers at the now-defunct Bobcat Bite and ended the night at Grant’s house, where we ate ice cream and played dominoes.

© 2010. Santa Fe from afar, coming up north on I-25, on March 31, 2010. Kodak Portra, 35mm, not sure which ASA.

After that trip, my contact with Grant was limited to a few emails here and there. I’d occasionally catch a recurring mountain fever, but finances and time kept me from making another trip to my beloved Sangre de Cristo mountains. Then, last spring, a friend contacted me with news that Grant had Parkinson’s and arthritis and wasn’t doing too well.

That changed everything.

Three months after I emailed Grant to check up on him and one month after he replied, I was on a plane to New Mexico. I stayed three days in the Land of Enchantment; the only times I wasn’t with Grant and his girlfriend Charlotte were when I took a quick driving tour of Santa Fe and made a half-day trip up to Philmont. But we spent two days eating lots of good food, taking driving tours, sharing old memories and puttering around their home on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Usually when I make trips, I produce lists of things to do and eat, and every day is planned out to the max. But this trip, I had no agenda except to be with Grant and Charlotte. I don’t think Grant ever believed me on that — several times, he tried to guess why I really came from Pennsylvania to New Mexico — but my earlier revelation that Grant might not be immortal made me realize I wanted to share more time with him.

Earlier this month, I got mountain fever again and started babbling to Jeff about booking another trip to Santa Fe. This trip, I’d want to make a few hikes, but seeing Grant and Charlotte was definitely at the top of my list, too. Unfortunately, a few hours after I got off a 12-hour overnight shift today, I received word that Grant wasn’t immortal after all.

© 2013. Grant Kalivoda and Charlotte Schaaf stand in their Santa Fe, N.M., backyard, “American Gothic”-style in late June 2013.

Lessons I learned from Grant Kalivoda, many of which he may not have known he taught me:

  • Slow down. (Still learning this one.)
  • Knowing more than others doesn’t necessarily make you better, and often it just makes you lazy.
  • Never stop tinkering. Never stop learning. Never stop wondering. And have fun in the meantime.
  • You’ll enjoy things a lot more if you slow down and appreciate them. Unless it’s ice cream we’re talking about.
  • It ain’t broke until fixing it just makes it worse.
  • Anything can be repurposed.
  • Taking the time to enjoy a meal (slowly) with friends, sans phones and other distractions, is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

The thing is, I’m just one of countless people who learned from Grant and became a better person for it. I have no clue how many summers he helped train Philmont’s photo department, and he also had a sizable presence in the Santa Fe community. The man’s influence was and is far-reaching. He helped me realize where I wanted to take my career, and I’m positive I’m not the only one who so benefited from his instruction, patience and kindness.

The Philmont and Santa Fe communities owe much to Grant Kalivoda, whether or not they realize it. For myself, I’m learning that there’s never enough time in the world to spend with those who matter most to you, but I’m no less grateful for the time that we did share.

Rest in peace, Grant. You are dearly missed.

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Thanks to warehouses and shipping and other forces beyond my control, I won’t get to send Christmas presents to my brother, sister-in-law and niece in time for Christmas. So, Matt, Emily and Layla, here are some analog photos from Italy (and a bonus frame) as an early Christmas present to make up for the belatedness of your package!

© 2013. Layla rides a turtle? dinosaur? something? in a playscape near the Pozzuoli harbor.

© 2013. Emily and Layla along the river Tiber in Rome. This frame looks like I applied an Instagram filter, but this is real film, y’all.

© 2013. You can sit on ancient pillars inside il Colosseo. I think my mom might’ve had something over the lens, on the righthand side of the frame.

© 2013. Family photo in Montepulciano.

© 2013. Along the Pozzuoli harbor.

© 2013. At this point, I was trying to use up the rest of the roll of film, and Emily and Layla happily obliged.

Aaand now for a bonus frame — the last frame on the roll, which I took during one of three snowfalls we had in a week back in York:

© 2013. We bought this bottle at the Maker’s distillery back in May, and I got to dip it in the wax. Jeff finally opened it to make bourbon balls, but before he did, I insisted on making this frame. Check that dynamic range!

And thus concludes my blog posts of photos I made while in Italy.

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So, I guess I like rubber duckies, because this happened in July:

© 2013. At the 25th annual Rubber Duckie Race in Lancaster County Central Park in July 2013. Kodak Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

…And this happened in October:

© 2013. My best attempt at “duck lips.” Rubber Duck art installation in Pittsburgh’s Point State Park. Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2013. Jeff’s best attempt at “duck lips.”

It was our first trip to Pittsburgh, and honestly, we went for the duck. We did do other Pittsburgh things, though. We toured the Strip District, dined in an old-person Italian restaurant in Bloomberg, saw Andrew Carnegie’s dinosaur skeletons, nixed a few sketchy hotels in sketchy areas and rode an incline:

© 2013. View of Rubber Duck art installation in Pittsburgh’s Point State Park from the Duquesne Incline. Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

But let’s be real: It was mostly about the duck.

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Last week, Jeff, his brother Mike and I found a T-rex skull at the National Zoo. Much to the joy of a nearby 17-year-old girl whose mother insisted she was too old to pose with the skull, I insisted that Jeff take this photo of Mike and me:

© 2013. Um, yeah, I’m 25. And a half. Pentax 6×7, Kodak Portra 400.

Today, while on assignment at a 30-attraction fun park in southern York County, I discovered that owner Hugh is a kindred spirit when I asked him to hop on top of an incomplete tire-saurus for a picture and he immediately struck a dinosaur pose without my prompting him:

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Maize Quest Fun Park owner Hugh McPherson stands atop a “tire-saurus” whose head has yet to be mounted on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. The tire-saurus and a nearby sea serpent — also made of tires — are the latest additions to the 30 attractions at the park, and need to be completed within the next two days before opening day. McPherson opened the park with the original corn maze 17 years ago, and has added another attraction or two every year. DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS – CHRIS DUNN

KINDRED SPIRITS, I’M TELLING YOU.

(Read more about the Maize Quest Fun Park here.)

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Jeff was burrowing around last week and found three rolls of undeveloped 35mm film in a cookie tin. (There were several unexposed rolls in there as well.) So I took them to get developed. One is a Fuji roll he shot during our 2010 spring break trip to the Santa Fe region of New Mexico; another Fuji roll is from his Dec. 2009 visit to Houston.

The Ilford XP2 Super roll is from our Feb. 2012 trip to New York City — a trip whose digital pictures I never blogged, and whose film frames I never saw ’til now.

Along the lines of an earlier post about how I had a bad habit of wasting film, I was pretty disenchanted with the frames on that black-and-white roll: Too many frames where I shot something just for the sake of depressing that shutter button and advancing the film. Like I wrote before, I’m working now to make pictures, with film, that mean something to me, which typically means they need to be of people I care about. That roll from New York City is a good reminder of what I as a photographer should never do again.

But here’re two frames that I do like from that roll. Obviously, I shot one and Jeff shot the other. Can you tell who shot which?

© 2012. This was shot on 400 ASA Ilford XP2 Super, so you can imagine what the shutter speed was.

© 2012.

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