Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My other love...

I have made a conscious effort over the last few years to pay specific attention to what really makes me happy. What do I love to do? What makes my heart sing? What do I identify with? What do I feel good doing?
One of the things that makes me smile with glee is riding my bike. As a kid I loved riding the forest trails in my small hometown. But riding took on a whole new meaning in the "big city". Almost all the forest bike trails seem to be made for extreme mountain cyclists (much too challenging for the leisurely rides I was looking for). Also, I hated riding my mountain bike around the city because it felt like I should be speeding down the main streets dressed in lycra (so not me!).
When I started dating Jeffrey, he bought me a vintage Eatons Glider (which were made by Raleigh for Eatons Canada in the 60's & 70's) from a friend who frequented police auctions. Jeffrey has a sweet old Raleigh Tracker (which looks a like a bmx, but is pre-bmx). We spent those first summer weekends of our "courtship" casually cruising around town to yard sales, sunny patios, and local parks (me in my summer dresses, Jeffrey in his vintage cowboy shirts). Although my bike could use a little tender loving care (and possibly some gears!!)... I still love it; I think partially because of the memories that are attached to it. Those memories are actually so symbolic of us, that we are hoping to use our bikes in our wedding next summer.
It seems only natural that Glenda (the name I gave my bike; Jeffrey's is named Ray) would become the subject of some of my photos. The problem is, she is so photogenic that I couldn't decide which picture to use. So I decided to use them all! 

Glenda my Eatons Glider on the sunny seawall

Glenda & Friend

All photos taken with my Olympus Pen F. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Creative Maladjustment

Out on a photo/bike exploration with my trendy-cycling friend Mandy, we came across these giant "Cool Globes" outside of Science World... they just begged to be photographed. Around the same time I was in the midst of spending my days immersed in inspirational discussions around teaching and learning. One of my new favourite terms that came up in these discussions was "Creative Maladjustment" which was originally introduced in Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech (1958). This is what Mr. King had to say about being maladjusted:
"Modem psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word. It is the word "maladjusted." Now we all should seek to live a well‑adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities. But there are some things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon you to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and dis­crimination. I never intend to adjust myself to mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things."

Educational guru, Herbert Kohl writes:
"When it is impossible to remain in harmony with one's envi­ronment without giving up deeply held moral values, creative maladjustment becomes a sane alternative to giving up altogether. Creative maladjustment consists of breaking social patterns that are morally reprehensible, taking conscious control of one's place in the environment, and readjusting the world one lives in based on personal integrity and honesty—that is, it consists of learning to survive with minimal moral and personal compromise in a thoroughly compromised world [...] It means small everyday acts of maladjustment as well as occasional major reconstruction, and it requires will, determi­nation, faith that people can be wonderful, conscious planning, and an unshakable sense of humor.
Creative maladjustment is reflective. It implies adapting your own particular maladjustment to the nature of the social systems that you find repressive. It also implies learning how other people are affected by those systems, how personal discontent can be appropriately turned into moral and political action, and how to speak out about the violence that thoughtless adjustment can cause or perpetuate."

May this entry inspire you to find your way to creatively maladjust!

*Melanie steps off soapbox*

Friday, August 6, 2010

Portland Oregon & a sloe gin fizz

Several months ago, Jeffrey and I took the train down to Portland for a small get away. It was a fun and relaxing break filled with lots of great food, interesting sights, and lots of photos. A discussion yesterday about Portland has made me nostalgic about the trip and started both of us plotting for when we can get back.
All photos taken with Pentax K1000 (on this trip I really got comfortable with my Pentax, more to come on that later)

Portland Train station

Helser's - The best breakfast I have ever had!

Kennedy School Hotel -
The very cool school turned hotel where we stayed

The famous Portland Sign

"Well Portland Oregon and sloe gin fizz
If that ain't love then tell me what is
Well I lost my heart it didn't take no time
But that ain't all. I lost my mind in Oregon"
~ Loretta Lynn 
(duet with Jack White)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tit for Tat

So my earlier post comparing my two babies (My Olympus Pen F & My Pentax K1000) came about because I wanted to better understand the differences between the two. This exploration began back in February when I set a challenge out for myself to help me learn more about my newly acquired Pentax (I was a little discouraged after a poor turn out  from a roll taken over Christmas time and so I kept falling back on using only my Olympus).
One Saturday afternoon when Jeffrey and I were heading out for one of our photo adventures, I couldn't decide which camera to bring with me... so, like any good woman would do when faced with indecision, I brought both! I decided to take each picture - frame for frame, setting for setting - with both of my cameras. It was a very interesting experiment and a great learning experience. However, I have been putting off writing this post because the pictures taken with my Olympus came back looking far inferior to those taken with my Pentax (It kind of broke my heart a little cause I love that little guy so much). But, since then I have had several other rolls of film developed (taken with both cameras) and have come to appreciate the uniqueness of each; also how to photograph differently with each and how to determine which is better suited to different situations.
So please don't judge my Olympus by these photos, he was simply serving as a sort of "visual-sounding board" for me to learn about my Pentax.
Church - Pentax
Church - Olympus
The shutter speed setting for the Olympus was too low, but came out beautifully on the Pentax.
Generally because of the lens and aperture I use on the Olympus, I set shutter speed higher.

Rail yard - Pentax
Rail yard - Olympus
This is a great example of how my eye is (was?) so accustomed to the half-frame, portrait style that I am able to frame these types of photos more easily. I prefer the Olympus shot in this case because of that.

Life persists - Olympus
Life persists - Pentax
Thank goodness for a zoom lens! It comes in so handy when you want to photograph things in other people's yards and you don't want to go trampling in there. I actually never would have taken this photo with my Olympus because it was just too far away (though it is such a good shot that I may just have trespassed, but shh, don't tell!)

So, in summary:
Olympus - Amazing detail on close-up shots, great depth and detail because of low aperture settings, small and portable, can be limited due to lens
Pentax - Yay for zoom! Allows for greater diversity of shots, gives great texture (now that I have figured that out - more to come on that later), Not so portable due to size and weight.
All in all, between these two babies I think I have a pretty good start to my camera family. Afterall, diversity is the spice of life right?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Since I acquired my Pentax K1000 I have been pushed to learn even more about film photography than I had when I bought my Olympus Pen F, namely because they are such different cameras. I didn't actually realize just how different they were until I sat down and read-up on both of them... and of course in true teacher fashion, created a chart to compare and contrast (just be happy I stopped short of actually making a Venn Diagram). So here is what I learned today (seriously, my brain is full!)

Olympus Pen FV

Pentax K1000

The Olympus Pen FV produced by Olympus of Japan between 1967-1970.
The Half frame format meant that the camera used a 18×24 mm vertical (portrait) format, producing twice the pictures on a roll of 135 film as the regular 36×24 mm format. The smaller image format also allowed for a smaller camera and lenses, making the Pen F system one of the smallest SLR systems ever made
Manufactured by Asahi Optical Co., Ltd. from 1976 to 1997, originally in Japan. 
The K1000's extraordinary longevity makes it a historically significant camera, despite its very ordinary design. The K1000 inexpensive simplicity was a great virtue and earned it an unrivaled popularity as a basic but sturdy workhorse, particularly suited to educating inexperienced photographers. The Pentax K1000 eventually sold over three million units.
Film Size


A single-lens reflex (SLR) camera is a camera that typically uses a semi-automatic moving mirror system that permits the photographer to see exactly what will be captured by the film or digital imaging system (after a very small delay), as opposed to pre-SLR cameras where the view through the viewfinder could be significantly different from what was captured on film.
Shutter Type

Rotary disc shutter
Focal-plane shutter
While the vast majority of rotary shutters are naturally used on motion-picture cameras (as well as projectors), there were some still cameras that employed this type of shutter, notably the Univex Mercury and the Olympus Pen F SLR.
Rotary discs are semicircular mirrors which rotate in front of the film gate, and thus expose the film.
The rotary shutter proved to be very simple to construct, accurate and reliable in these cameras.

* Since Rotary Disc Shutters aren’t very common in still cameras, I had a hard time finding advantages or disadvantages of this type of shutter. If anyone has anymore information, please feel free to share.
The traditional type of focal-plane shutter in 35 mm cameras, uses two shutter curtains, made of opaque rubberized fabric, that run horizontally across the film plane.
One of the advantages of focal-plane shutters is that the shutter can be built into the body of a camera which accepts interchangeable lenses, eliminating the need for each lens to have a central shutter built into it.
Another advantage of the focal-plane shutter is that their fastest speeds are quite high.
The main disadvantage of the focal-plane shutter is that a durable and reliable one is a complex (and often expensive) device.
In addition, the typical focal-plane shutter has flash synchronization speeds that are slower. In other words, the very narrow slits of fast speeds will not be properly flash exposed.
Focal-plane shutters may also produce image distortion of very fast moving objects or when panned rapidly.

1:2,8 –  38mm
Fixed Focal Length (or Prime)
1:4 – 125mm
Zoom Lens
A prime lens of a given focal length is less versatile than a zoom whose range includes that focal length, but is often of superior optical quality, lighter weight, smaller bulk and lower cost.
Prime lenses usually have a larger maximum aperture than zoom lenses. This allows photography in lower light and a shallower depth of field.
A true zoom lens, also called a parfocal lens, is one that maintains focus when its focal length changes.
Zoom lenses are often described by the ratio of their longest to shortest focal lengths. For example, a zoom lens with focal lengths ranging from 100 mm to 400 mm may be described as a 4:1 or "4×" zoom. 

*All information taken from Wikipedia (you know that place on the internet that I keep telling my students not to use for research cause it isn't credible? Yeah, that place)
P.S. Sorry about the formating, I am done fighting with it for today