In addition to the latest preservation and digitizing projects on my agenda, I still want to convert my own personal photographic slides. Without access to professional conversion hardware, my process is somewhat cobbled together. As mentioned in an earlier post, I alternate between direct digital scanning and photographing a projected image. The amount of contrast on the slide determines which of the two techniques are used.
The Kodak Carousel tray of slides for the year 1983 is the source of the images I want to share with you today. Today’s images were all taken with my trusty Canon AE-1 onto Ektachrome 200 transparency film. That film had become my default slide film because I had better luck with it than the fussier Kodachrome.
1983 started out with a heavy snow storm. After the clouds cleared away, I went for a walk with the camera. The mailboxes for our four-plex turned out to be one of my favorite winter pictures.
That year, Felix was still my roommate. He wanted a picture of us together to save for posterity. I set up the tripod and used the auto timer to shoot a few frames. This image shows Felix with the least amount of head movement. (He had trouble remaining calm that day.) Traditional self portraits take a lot more planning and effort than today’s selfies.
That spring, I experimented with time exposure and had mixed results with neon signs. My favorite one is the motel sign taken at night in Norfolk, Nebraska.
Some of my younger friends smile when I tell them that the neighboring town of Wayne used to have a place called the “Gay Theater”. The movie house was a fixture on Main Street for several decades. It had one of the area’s last neon marquees, too. A few years after this picture was taken, the old theater closed down. Recently, the building was renovated and restored. It was renamed “The Majestic”. Unfortunately, it does not have the wonderful marquee sign.
During a summer stroll through my neighborhood, I noticed a broken down piano placed near the curb. The old wreck was a good photographic subject.
Later that summer, Felix told me he had never set foot in our state’s capitol building. So one weekend we took a day trip to Lincoln to spend time in the city with the main destination, the award winning capitol building. The inscription on the west side of the building is a quote from Aristotle, “Political Society Exists for the Sake of Noble Living.”
The free standing AM radio tower for WJAG has been a landmark for as long as I can remember. One day, I accompanied our station engineer to the site. While he was busy tuning up the transmitter, I snapped a few images of the tower.
One amazing fact about the tower, is that it is perched on large glazed porcelain insulators. They are necessary because the tower, itself, is also the antenna and must be isolated from the ground. It still boggles the mind that this huge, heavy structure rests on four of these insulators. Also, there are no guy cables to hold the tower upright in strong winds.
The Blue Jay of Happiness agrees with the photographer Elliot Erwitt. “Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times. I just shoot at whatever interests me at the moment.”