Monday, July 16, 2018

The Burger Inn, Melbourne, Florida

Panorama, Fujifilm XT-10, Rokinon 10mm lens, f/5.6, 1/320sec., ISO 200
Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 18mm, f/5, 1/200sec., ISO 200
Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 29mm, f/8, 1/150sec., ISO 200
The Burger Inn is at 1819 N Harbor City Boulevard (aka, US1) in Melbourne, Florida.
As a wee lad, nothing, and I mean nothing, was as awesome a meal to me as a restaurant hamburger.  My parents were each fantastic cooks, and their burgers were top notch, but going out somewhere and ending the trip with a restaurant burger was all this boy could ask for.
Living in the small town of Vidalia, Louisiana, we would sometimes go as a family across the adjacent Mississippi River into Natchez, Mississippi for whatever my parents wanted in shopping. They had a Sears, Roebuck & Co. store!
Such trips often meant stopping at Burger Chef, a now-defunct restaurant chain.  They were near the top of the heap as far as my childhood mind could rate a hamburger.
In Vidalia itself, a tasty "store-bought" hamburger (i.e. not made at home by my parents) could be had near our house, in what was once a Dairy Queen.  That was an acceptable substitute for Burger Chef, and hey, it was practically down the street.
When we would go to central Louisiana, to LaSalle Parish, to visit grandparents or other relatives, there was a place down there in Olla, called the Burger Barn.
The Olla Burger Barn was also, somewhere in the dim mists of times past, a Dairy Queen as well.
As a kid, and even as an adult, a trip to LaSalle Parish meant a trip to the Burger Barn.  They're still cranking out burgers all these decades later, and they're still tasty.
I do suspect that the awesomeness of the burgers at the Olla Burger Barn are somewhat enhanced in my mind with the healthy sprinkling of nostalgia I tend to add to the burgers when eating there.
The only problem with going to the Burger Barn now is that they also sell some of the best fried catfish you've ever eaten, and as an adult I do looooove me some catfish.
Being a full-figure guy, I can handle an order of the catfish and fries AND a hamburger, for a feast without compare.
Now, to the Melbourne, Florida Burger Inn.
Man, oh, man, these folks will serve you an old-school burger completely worthy of all my childhood dreams and memories.
If you pull in in your car and leave your lights on for a minute, they'll come and take your order and serve you at the car.  I usually get out and sit at a table and face the restaurant instead of the highway, so I can take in the vintage, stainless steel ambience of the place. They also have a counter inside at which to eat, complete with spinning stainless steel stools.  Lots of vintage 50s style decor as well.
If you are a simple person who loves simple pleasures and simple foods, you can't do much better than taking a trip to the past and chowing down on the cheeseburgers and fries at the Burger Inn.
The Burger Inn's burgers have all the flavor that I could have asked for as a kid, but also as a rapidly aging adult.
Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 23mm, f/9, 1/170sec., ISO 200

The Palm Bay Couch

Fujifilm XT-10, Rokinon 10mm lens, f/5.6, 1/500sec., ISO 200
Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 18mm, f/16, 1/200sec., ISO 400
Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 135mm, f/8, 1/400sec., ISO 400
There's a couch (actually, a love seat) that appeared on Palm Bay Road on the sidewalk next to the west-bound turn lane into the Walmart shopping center.
The couch has been there a while, and many began to wonder just how long it was going to take the City of West Melbourne to pick up this dumped item.  (Technically, that area there with Walmart on Palm Bay Road belongs to West Melbourne, not Palm Bay.)
Well, someone got clever and placed a throw rug on the sidewalk in front of the couch, you know, to dress it up a little while waiting on the authorities.
This began a cascade of items appearing all around the love seat, curtains, end table, lamp, books, extra chair with guitar propped in it.
You get the idea.
I dropped by on Sunday afternoon to visit The Palm Bay Couch while out and about with my camera, with the idea to eventually head to Sebastian Inlet.
Now The Palm Bay Couch has its own Facebook page!
People are funny.
I love nutty stuff like this.
Now that The Palm Bay Couch is all fixed up with accoutrements (pronounced ah-coo-tre-MON, for those, like me who went to Louisiana public schools), it will probably be disposed of within days.
That's just the way the world works.
I even signed the visitor's list someone placed there.

UPDATE Monday, July, 16:  Sinister forces came and took all the items away.  Just as I predicted.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Looks Like a Horse to Me

Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 135mm, f/9, 1/250sec., ISO 200
I was out with some of my old film cameras this afternoon.  I was taking a few shots with each camera to develop and scan and show as example photos that the cameras work well when I sell them in the near future.
Afterward, there was some sunlight left, and I went to the Melbourne Harbor Marina and walked around until the sun went below the clouds, this afternoon's horizon.
This cloud formation took shape as I walked back toward my car and I thought it looked like a horse, whinnying.
Later, as I was driving home, this shape had stretched out to look like one of the lean, long, sharp-faced dragons in movies.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Color AND Black and White

Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 41.3mm, f/16, 1/125sec., ISO 200
Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 41.3mm, f/16, 1/125sec., ISO 200
My photographic background, learning, roots, or whatever, can pretty much be summed up in the phrase "Color AND Black and White."
My first camera, a Kodak Pony IV, was found, almost totally forgotten, in a closet at my parent's home when I was 13.
Having no instruction manual, I checked out library books from Robert E. Lee Junior High School, and later Neville High School, and learned f-stops, shutter speeds, ASA (now ISO), optic theory and all manner of things about operating a camera and also about how cameras operate.  (That last part, being just as interested in how things operate, would be a crucial part of my psyche in pushing me to become an engineer, but that's another story.)
I used that Pony IV to take snapshots of my friends and I until a couple of years later I when I had saved enough money from mowing lawns to buy a brand-spanking-new Canon AE-1.
With the AE-1 came learning to develop black and white film and black and white prints.
I had the joy and foundation of developing many rolls of TRI-X and thousands of black and white photos while on the yearbook staff in high school.
I took a couple of photography courses for fun while in college the first time and learned from a truly kind and patient and passionate instructor more about all aspects of photography.
By the end of my college photography classes, I was so very disillusioned with color 35mm prints.
You take a photo, and you get back prints produced by some machine, or if you spent the money, some other person's ideas of what you wanted your prints to look like.
I had begun dating Lovely Wife by this time and her father, my future Father in Law, was an amateur photographer who took 35mm slides.
I was in awe of the color and clarity of the slides and so bought my first roll of slide film, some Agfa slide film.
This led to decades of slide film use.
Even to this day, my grown daughters beg me to prepare slide shows when they come to town or are around on special occasions.
Digital photography, to me, is like putting on a favorite old flannel shirt.  The "expose for the highlights" ethos that dominated my decades of slide film use is back in play with a vengeance.
Now to the two photos above.
Based on my personal experience with black and white imagery AND with the foot-thick, saturated colors from Kodachrome and Velvia slide films, I often see an amazingly colored image through the viewfinder and know that the colors themselves make the photo worthwhile.
On the other hand, some looks through the viewfinder have me immediately planning a contrast-y black and white final image.
This photo of the bright yellow pedestrian crossing sign with the rows of palm trees in the background was one of those photos where the instant I looked through the viewfinder and saw my composition come together, I knew this would have to have to be processed in both ways.
I hope you like them both.  I do.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Tide Pool at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida

Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 36.6mm, f/5.6, 1/1000sec., ISO 200
Sebastian Inlet State Park is, as state parks go, a small but amazing state park.
I have been to the Atlantic Ocean beach here (behind my back while taking this pano) many times, yet have never actually even waded into this tide pool.
On a hot summer weekend day though, all the picnic tables around this pool will be occupied and the tide pool will be populated with many kids of all ages.
It's a really cool, and rather safe water feature for families near the Atlantic Ocean, the Inlet Water flow, and the Indian River Lagoon water. There's a floating barrier/net in the opening there on the left where water from the inlet can flow in and out of the tide pool.
To my back while taking this photo, where the fast moving waters of the Inlet are meeting the Atlantic Ocean waters, frankly, is almost always dotted with sharks. That's bound to happen in such fish-rich waters where two bodies of water meet.
But, this tide pool is pretty much a gentle, safe, place for the whole family to get nasty sunburns and otherwise have a great day on the water in a beautiful place in Florida.
(The panorama here was taken while out with my oldest daughter and our cameras, on Saturday, July  7, 2018.  We paid a dear price to watch the sunrise; we were seriously eaten up by no-see-ums."

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Sebastian Inlet Sunrise, Sat. July 7th, 2018

Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 18mm, f/20, 1/200sec., ISO 200
Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 135mm, f/20, 1/1000sec., ISO 200

Number One Daughter and I got up way before dawn (Saturday, July 7) and headed on a thirty five minute drive to Sebastian Inlet State Park. (That "way before dawn" part is not an easy task for two life-long night owls, believe me.)
We will both be in misery the next few days, having stood there knowingly being devoured by the legendary No-See-Ums, just in the hopes for some decent sunrise photos.
The sunrise was worth the effort though, don't you agree?
Sebastian Inlet State Park is a small park, but it's a gorgeous place.
Atlantic Ocean, stone jettys, the fast-flowing inlet, the Indian River Lagoon.  Many varied things to see and photograph.
And, if you like birds, most tropical migratory birds are here in abundance.  This is probably the best fishing location I have ever seen in my entire life. The birds are intelligent enough to know humans won't kill them here, and will let you get close, hoping have fish and that you'll have some nice fish guts to hand them.
Birds in most wildlife preserves are skittish around humans, but if you can find a place like this where lots of people fish, you can see all the desired exotic birds you want, and they'll let you get close enough for great photos .

Friday, July 6, 2018

Mellow Sunset on a Hot Day

Fujifilm XT-20, Fuji 18-135mm lens at 25mm, f/10, 1/50sec., ISO 200
Sunset of Thursday, July 5th, 2018, while at the appropriately named Sunset Park in Indialantic, Florida.
We have had so much rain in Palm Bay this year.
In the late 1990s, when we first moved here, almost daily afternoon thunderstorms had long been the norm. I do mean thunderstorms too, a plain ol' rain shower without thunder is a seldom sight.
Between roughly 2000 - 2015, summers here were in almost drought conditions. Lots of forest fires during those years.
But in 2018, we've gotten back to the old way of doing things, weather-wise.
We have all that comes with all the rain; beautiful, intensely colored greenery and flowers, but also suffocating heat and humidity and BUGS.
Nonetheless, us intrepid amateur photographers around Brevard County itch to get out an do some shooting when carrying that lightning rod we call a "tripod" hopefully won't get us killed.
Yesterday I had that itch to get out, even if the photos were mundane.
I found a little bitty park in Indialantic, Florida, about fifteen minutes from my home, that I had never been to.  I had no idea it was there until I simply found it.
This park is along the barrier island that is known locally as "beachside," and it faced west, toward the mainland with the potential to have dramatic sunsets across the Indian River Lagoon.  (our section of the east coast's Intracoastal Waterway).
The photo above is one of many I took, and is as good representation of the colorful sunsets we get when the conditions are right.
I was the only person in this park, and had an hour or so, and the three park benches there, all to myself.