Vacation #2: The Windsor Ruins, photographed with the Smena 8M

Okay yes, I’ve taken dozens of photos of these columns. But never with this particular camera! I just think they’re really pretty, and they’re really close to Natchez so whenever I go there it’s like, why wouldn’t I?

Alas, I had that boring, uniformly overcast, grayish-white sky AGAIN. Except for the first visit, it’s been overcast every time I go there, and never in an interesting way. Oh well, I shot some black and white too, maybe it will look less flat.

Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins

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Forgotten in a desk drawer film roll #1

There’s another one too, they’ve been sitting there since last spring. This one looks to have been shot during one of my trips along LA-82/TX-82 for what ultimately proved to be a futile attempt to photograph the Sabine Pass Light.

Grand Cheniere, LA

Grand Chenier, LA

Creole, LA

Creole, LA

Mouton Cove, LA

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Lomo LC-A+: Fort Pike & Fort Macomb






Supposed to be nice weather on Saturday, about 70 (I guess that polar vortex thing has stopped pumping out its freezing deathrays… for now) and no rain. I might drive up to Rayne, which is only about a half hour from Abbeville. They have a Catholic cemetery where the burials go in the wrong direction (north-south instead of east-west) and a couple other sites of interest.

I’m also working on an idea inspired by reading Judika Illes’ Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints, and Sages–I’m currently on the Rs. Most of the listings mention major places of veneration, and when there’s one in Louisiana I make a note. I thought it would be cool to photograph them as a series. A couple of them I have already, like the Saint Roch shrine in New Orleans. Apparently there’s a shrine for Santisima Muerte in New Orleans! But first I have to finish the book.

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Lomo LC-A+: Dauphin Island, Alabama

I also shot a roll of 120 in the Diana, I sent that to Dwayne’s Photo earlier this week (along with a roll of 35mm B&W that I have no idea what’s on it).




Catholic Cemetery

Catholic Cemetery

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Pink Slim Dress: LeBeau Plantation, Arabi, LA

(The Pink Slim Dress is the SuperHeadz knock-off of the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim; it has the camera’s exact body and 22mm lens, but not its annoying habit of an extremely easily broken film advance. It comes in a variety of colors.)

I take my color 35mm to… Walgreen’s. I know, I know. Their ignorance of photography actually works to the Lomographer’s advantage, because they don’t try to “correct” screwy film. They just develop it and slap it on a CD. But lately I’ve been having trouble with them. One roll came back with the colors all muddy, which almost certainly means they were using old chemicals. And 2 of them had weird spots, like water spots, all over the prints. They tried to tell me the film was damaged. 2 rolls seems doubtful, but they were from the same package, so… not impossible?

I decided the problem wasn’t so much with “Walgreen’s” as it was with “the Abbeville Walgreen’s”. This isn’t a very big town, and there isn’t a deep talent pool to draw from, which is probably why our local Chili’s can’t get a simple hamburger right. (Seriously, every 6 months there’s an “under new management” banner out front, every time my parents try it out, and every time they come home and are like “Yeah, no, it’s still terrible”.) I mean, the woman whose name tag says she is the “photography dept manager” once told me they couldn’t cross-process my slide film (which I had had done there like, 20 times at that point) because their machines couldn’t handle E-6 “size” film, only C-41. I patiently explained to her that E-6 and C-41 aren’t sizes, they’re chemical processes. The size of both films is 35mm.

So I took this roll (and the roll I shot in the Smena 8M) to the Walgreen’s in Lafayette. And even though this roll was from the same batch of film as the 2 that had spots on them, it’s spotless. So I think I’m going to take it there from now on.

487650-R1-24-1, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487650-R1-18-7, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487650-R1-19-6, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487650-R1-15-10, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487650-R1-13-12, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

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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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photo walk: breaux bridge

Hope and Amy (2 girls I know from my Lomography meetup group) and I did the Photo Walk in Breaux Bridge the first Sunday in October. On one hand, it was full of patronizing dickbags who sneered at me for shooting film instead of digital. This one asshole went around demanding to see everyone’s photos, and when he got to me I was like “I can’t show them to you. I shoot real film, remember?” He asked Amy why she shot a photo in B&W, and before she even finished answering he was like “No, that’s wrong”.

Okay, first of all, art is subjective and there is no single “correct” way of doing it. Second of all, her reason was that it was a photo of a tombstone, which has very little color to begin with and is more about texture and shape, and removing all color from the composition emphasizes those things. Which is a logical statement that I totally 100% agree with.

Amy’s reaction to this criticism was less nuanced but equally as valid: she flipped a bird with one hand and grabbed her crotch with the other and said “Take a photo of THAT in color!” Just like Ansel Adams used to.

On the other hand, Breaux Bridge is a cute town and the weather was nice and Hope and Amy and I went out for margaritas afterwards, so fuck those guys.

670415-R1-24-0A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670415-R1-12-12A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670415-R1-09-15A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670415-R1-07-17A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670415-R1-04-20A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670416-R1-25-0, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670415-R1-02-22A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670416-R1-15-10, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670416-R1-16-9, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

670416-R1-10-15, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

LC-A+: stranded boat


stranded boat 1, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

We had a cold front come in right after Lee. Now, a cold front in September, in south Louisiana, doesn’t actually make anything cold. It just makes it not so unbearably hot. Saturday was only about 80, so I got in the car and went looking for something interesting to photograph. I found this old boat in Coteau Holmes, a CDP in St. Martin parish. There’s something deeply unsettling about boats out of water.


stranded boat 9, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.


stranded boat 11, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.


stranded boat 16, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.


drawbridge light 4, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

TIME magazine promo camera

My mother went on a closet-cleaning bender a couple weeks ago, and she unearthed an old fixed-focus 35mm camera that someone apparently got as a free gift for subscribing to TIME back when Reagan was prez. Doubtful it was ever used. So of course she gave it to me, but I didn’t get around to using it until this past Labor Day weekend, in which I almost never left the house because there was a tropical storm. (We’re fine, by the way. It was very mild and we never even lost power.)


Tropical Storm Lee 4, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I got the photos back today and was like hmmm, what happened here? Damaged lens? (Note: This is never said in anger. The more flaws a camera has, the more I like it.)


But this photo I took of Hank begging in the kitchen looks fairly normal, albeit with a faded quality reminiscent of photos from the ’60s and ’70s. (The camera has a hot shoe and I used my Diana flash indoors.)

Then I realized that the lens just got fogged up outside. Gee, who knew that shooting outside during a tropical storm would be humid??

Anyway, this is a good illustration of why, when I first shoot with a new (old) camera, I always do it around the house or at fixed local locations, and I always use film I can buy in a drug store. You don’t want to put rare film in it or take it to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when you have no idea what it’s going to do.

LC-A+: grand isle, LA

Sunday the ‘rents and I drove to Grand Isle. It’s like Amity Island on the gulf, although presumably without all the great white shark attacks. I probably would have heard about that. By which I mean the population like, quintuples in the summer. Like most such beach towns, it’s kind of a honky-tonk and I think I would like it more in the off-season. There’s just something squalid about beaches when they’re packed with sunburned tourists eating junk food and toddlers with saggy diapers.

But if you’re ever there in the summer, get a dreamiscle flavor sno-ball (that’s what we call sno-cones in Louisiana, although it’s closer in texture to Hawaiian shave ice) at Megan’s Sno-Balls. TRUST ME.


Grand Isle 3, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Dudes be fishin’. This guy was from Guatemala and lives in Baton Rouge. (Mom started talking to him, so he was of course forced to tell his life story.)


Grand Isle 10, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.


Grand Isle 6, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.


Grand Isle 7, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.


Grand Isle 8, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I also shot a roll of slide, but I had to send that out to be developed at Dwayne’s.

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