Monday, September 26, 2011

Pieces of a Kodak Pony IV Camera

I took my Kodak Pony IV camera apart a few weeks ago.

With my back in such bad shape, I can only work on things a little bit at a time, and I happened to receive a Sigma macro lens from an eBay purchase while my Pony IV was still in pieces.

I couldn't resist a few closeup still life shots to try out the lens and see just how close this thing would focus and to start figuring out how to light macro shots.

These are a couple of shots of the pieces of the Kodak Pony IV I learned photography with.

The Kodak is now back together, cleaned inside and out, and working nicer than I've ever had it work for me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gold Rolex Oyster

My father worked on off-shore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in his career.

He was born in 1934, growing up during difficult times in America, and in a poor part of Louisiana.

He was of what I consider to be the last generation that a man or woman would work for one company most of their lives.

Working off-shore, seven days on the drilling rig, and then seven days off, he ended up missing a lot of holidays and birthdays. He was there for a lot of them, but not for a lot of others too.

There were times, like working for any company, when he had to swallow his pride and keep his mouth shut to keep his job when the company would try to take advantage of him or others.

Then, when he had twenty-something years with this company, they called all the twenty-plus-year employees to a big banquet in New Orleans.

The company presented to him and all the other long-timers, a gold Rolex watch.

I don't know if it still is, but for decades, the official United States time was determined by an atomic clock at the US Naval Observatory.

So after he was given this watch, and I'd talk to him on the phone (from Dallas or Atlanta or wherever we were living during those years) I'd ask if the Naval Observatory has called yet that day to get the official time from him and his Rolex.

It wasn't something he left in a box, he wore the watch daily up until he died in 1994.

I took a few photos this week with my new/used macro lens.

You can see a few nicks and marks here and there.

Those nicks and marks are from him wearing one of the only tangible representations of all the years of hard work he put in, as well as not being with his family on some important days.

Some people would think he was being pretentious wearing a Gold Rolex, and sometimes complete strangers would say something like, "I wish I could afford to buy and wear a gold Rolex!"

He would always tell them, "I didn't have the money to buy one either. This was given to me by the company I worked so hard for, for so many years. I wear it because I EARNED IT."

That never failed to shut them up.

I don't wear it as much as I'd like to, mainly because my wrist is way bigger than his was, and even at the last notch, the watch is too tight to wear for more than just a few minutes.

One day I'll go ahead and plunk down the money to have an extra gold link or two put on the watch so I can wear it more.

But I look at this watch a lot, and suffer wearing it on important days for me and my family.

It helps me remember that he's with me in spirit on those important days to me and my family.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New (to me) Lens! Sigma 50mm f/2.8 AF-D Macro lens, Nikon mount

In 1976, when I was 13, I found a camera box in a "catch-all" closet in our house.

I opened it up, and there was a Kodak Pony IV 35mm camera in it's leather case with accessories!

I had a Vivitar 110 pocket camera that I used, but this looked like a REAL camera.

I asked if I could use it, and my parents said yes, if I learned how myself. Because they hadn't used it in so many years that neither one could tell me how to work it.

Over the next few months I checked out library books from the junior high and high school as I finished 8th grade and entered the 9th grade.

I learned f-stops and shutter speeds and film ASA (now ISO) number.

I've enjoyed photography for 35 years now. Sometimes passionately and sometimes I let my cameras gather dust as my family responsibilities (and my kids) grew.

This week, I bought my first true macro lens.

I use a Nikon D90, and I bought a used Sigma 50mm f/2.8 AF-D Macro lens from a man on eBay.

It's an older model, but this thing gets to life size, 1:1, at it's closest focus point.

I've used screw on close up filter sets from time to time, but this lens opens up a whole new world for me.

It might be an older lens with older technology as compared to the latest aspherical lens, super-multi-coated, hypersonic motored lenses from Nikon, Canon and even Sigma and other 3rd party lenses, but I'm LOVING this thing so far.