First roll from the Smena 8M: slightly expired Fuji Superia 400

Saturday was my Lomographers meetup, in Jackson. It was kind of blah, the town looked more interesting on paper. Like, every other building was on the National Historic Register, even if it was built yesterday. And we couldn’t even find the abandoned building that (allegedly) used to be part of the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System. I think it’s on the grounds and whoever took the photo that I saw just didn’t want to admit they were visiting someone there.

But it’s still fun to get out of the house and see other people and take photos. Lunch was good, too–we went to a BBQ place and I had a bacon blue cheese hamburger. And afterward we stopped off at the Port Hudson National Cemetery, which is on the way back to Baton Rouge. It’s kind of humbling, all those thousands of identical tiny white headstones. But next month (or rather, later this month) I’m going to have it at Fort Jackson, a decommissioned early 19th century masonry fort in Plaquemines Parish. That can’t help but be interesting!

However, the main objective of the day, for me, was to test out the Smena 8M, and mission accomplished. It took me like a half hour to figure out how to load it; eventually I realized that the original take-up spool had gone missing and the seller had included the guts of a 35mm film canister to make up for it. Which means the film lead has to be trimmed on both sides, instead of the one side, as it comes. The ends of 35mm rolls–the end that fits into the canister, not the end that sticks out–are very narrow. I’m also pretty sure that the lens cap is not original to the camera, it has threads on it, like the seller pulled it off a bottle. It was very thoughtful of them to include it, and to stick a little hammer and sickle pin through it–that’s just fun!

I like the camera a lot, it reminds me of the LC-A+ in that when it’s focused on infinity, you get perfectly clear photos; but when focused closer, things can get interestingly fuzzy, because there’s no focus aid and you’re always just guestimating. (With the LC-A+ it’s because there are only 4 focus settings, so you’re never really perfectly focused.) I didn’t notice any camera shake blur, either that trait has been exaggerated or I just have uncommonly steady hands. Maybe all those years of needlework!

487649-R1-20-4A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

See what I mean about “interesting fuzziness”?

487649-R1-23-1A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Nice saturation of color, too. It really is a good lens for a cheap camera. I believe the Soviets always had good optics factories, so even their “proletariat” cameras had quality lenses.

487649-R1-09-15A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487649-R1-07-17A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487649-R1-00-24A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I finished up the roll around the house when I got home in the evening. This shot really captures that lovely, golden late afternoon light. (It’s slightly double-exposed because it was the last frame. I could crop it out, but I don’t really mind it.)

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Clinton, LA

PICT0834, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Clinton is the parish seat of East Feliciana Parish; parish seats aren’t necessarily the largest towns in their parish (although Abbeville is), and the population is only about 1,600–far less than nearby Jackson, where I’m having the next meetup. That was supposed to be tomorrow, but it looked like rain so I moved it. Plus it’s a holiday weekend, people might have plans.

It’s a pretty town, with gently rolling hills; lots of trees; and narrow, meandering streets.

PICT0800, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

St. Andrew Episcopal Church is a classic Carpenter Gothic structure built in 1871. Unfortunately it was locked so I couldn’t photograph the inside. Even though I’m an atheist, I’m still of the opinion that churches shouldn’t be locked during the daytime!

PICT0801, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

There’s something about Episcopal churches that really appeal to me. In rural Louisiana at least, they don’t go for “grand” and “soaring”, like Catholic churches. They seem to aim more for “cute”. Most of the churches I have photographed in south Louisiana have been Episcopal churches, even though it’s such a heavily Catholic area.

PICT0828, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

They have a pretty impressive courthouse. One day I’d like to photograph ALL the parish courthouses in Louisiana and make a postcard book.

PICT0830, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

PICT0812, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

The Confederate cemetery. The veneration of the idea of the Confederacy really chaps my hide, because THERE ARE STILL QUITE A FEW BLACK PEOPLE LIVING IN THE SOUTH, HELLO. (Also because if they’d actually won the Civil War, I’d now be living in a 3rd world country.) But Confederate soldiers as individuals were still people who deserved a decent burial, so the cemeteries don’t bother me.

PICT0818, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Obviously not everyone buried there was a soldier, there were quite a few children’s graves.

PICT0822, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This was something I found without looking for it. According to the sign out front, it’s The Marston House, which made me laugh because isn’t the name of the spooky house in ‘Salem’s Lot? Anyway, it was so big that I would have had to be standing in their across-the-street neighbor’s front door to have gotten the whole thing in the shot. I’ve got to start using my wide angle camera again.

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