Photo Equipment Nirvana

The promise of cheap film equipment has been illusory at best.  I think it was true maybe 5-10 years ago when people were dumping their film equipment on the market.  Then as the used film market started to mature things have sky-rocketed.  Certain models more so than others based on what the hipsters are doing.  Case in point is the Leica M6.  Several years ago I purchased a pristine example for $1500.  I chided myself for spending this amount when there were other ones for $1200.  Like a fool I sold it some time later.  Now if I wanted that same camera I’d have to pay $2500.  An increase in $1000 in just 4 or 5 years!!  A similar M7 goes for about the same and it’s a better camera in my opinion.

Well I finally purchased the Nirvana camera pictured above.  Canon EOS 55QD for $48 from Used Photo Pro. They have a bunch just sitting there to be purchased.  Yes they’re made of hardened plastic but they have about every bell and whistle there is.  I bought one along with a 40/2.8 pancake lens all for about $110.  So instead of pining for a used M6 that you can’t afford, go for something that’s a real bargain. 

PhotoVOX 2/2020

CPAC is the Colorado Photographic Arts Center located in downtown Denver.  It’s a gallery space, wet and digital darkroom all in one location.  They offer classes and once a month they host PhotoVox which is talks, discussion and display members works.  Last nite was a very nice, informal show your work nite for 6 fearless photographers.

New old Stock…….

or is it Old new stock?  What it means is that the product has never been opened but it’s from a previous era.  The Konica Centuria 80e is not available anymore.  Are there ANY film point and shoots of any ability still for sale?  Not really.  But Safelight Berlin advertised them for less than 100euros so I was in.  I shot the film that was included which was out of date 2006.  Color film does not age well like wine so there were color shifts that had to be dealt with.  

Hell to da Naw Naw Naw


Mmm (C’mon, Bishop)

Mmm-mm-mmm, yeah (Yeah)

Mmm-mm-mmm (Listen)

(Let it go, let it go)

[Verse 1]

My name Bishop Bullwinkle

I got the First Church of Nothing but the Truth (What you say?)

Deacon Kyle, Deacon George, Deacon Clay

Open up the door and try to move

First I want to thank God

For the blood running warm in my veins (Yeah)

I thank God for my life, health and strength

I got a sound mind, I’m not insane (Come on)

I ain’t gonna preach too long

Ain’t gonna take this service too far

My sermon’s in the morning

Hell to the naw, naw, naw

Come on, come on


Hell naw, to the naw, naw, naw (Hell to the naw)

Hell to the naw, to the naw, naw, naw (Listen)

[Verse 2]

Sister Ella, Sister Ruth, make sure that everybody get a seat

(C’mon, y’all)

Sister Lilly may go back in the kitchen

‘Cause she when it get through, I need to eat (I mustn’t)

Fix me collard greens and cornbread and rice

Chicken breast, ox tails on the side

(That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout)

Deacon Underwood, get my Bentley ready

‘Cause when it get through, I need a ride

Doctor West, count the money, count the money

Come back and tell us what ya raised

(Well, had to find another, did you?)

I got the people, they looking for some blessings

First God gotta get the praise (C’mon, y’all)

See, there’s an old saying

When the praises go up, you get the blessing coming down

I got some peoples in the church

God almighty look at ‘em, they messing around


Hell naw, to the naw, naw, naw (Hell to the naw)

Hell to the naw, to the naw, naw, naw (Listen)

[Verse 3]

I got peoples in the church smokin’ weed, drinkin’ whiskey

They drinkin’ a lot of gin (What you say?)

I got the preacher with the night prayer leading

Talking about, “Can I get a amen?” (C’mon)

Early Sunday morning

‘Bout a quarter and a half past the ten (Yeah)

I got some people, they comin’ off the street

God almighty look at ‘em, they strollin’ in (They need help)

They layin’ at the altar

They confessin’ their sins, yeah (Come my way)

Time you see ‘em Monday morning

Doing the same thing again (Hypocrite, hypocrite)


Hell naw, to the naw, naw, naw (Hell to the naw)

Hell to the naw, to the naw, naw, naw (Listen)

[Verse 4]

Got kids dropping out of school

Talking about they don’t want to learn

Yet they’re standing on the corner rolling blunts

Talking about, come on let’s burn

(Y’all better get back to school)

I got kids walking up and down the street

Pants hanging down around their knees

(Pull them pants up)

Talking about that they’re looking for a job

When I see ‘em jitter bug, I say please

See all they ever talk about, brag about

Who got the biggest and the baddest gun

Time they see the copper with the bubble top

They drop the gun, they want to run (Put them guns down)

And now the sheriff got ‘em locked up, hah

They sitting in the county jail (It’s a shame)

I heard their mama, she was crying all night

She can’t get no money for the bail

And now they’re mad with the home boys

‘Cause they didn’t put no money in the commissary

(Free to go, naw)

Be glad you’re in the jail, brother man

You were sure headed for the cemetery (C’mon, wait)

There’s an old saying

That a hard head make a soft behind (Yeah)

Well, since you did the crime, go on and do the time

Stop the baby crying, come on, come on


Hell naw, to the naw, naw, naw (Hell to the naw)

Hell to the naw, to the naw, naw, naw (Listen)

[Verse 5]

When people talk about ya

All you gotta do is let ‘em talk much as they please

(That what they gon’ do, y’all)

‘Cause all you gotta do is get down on your knees

(Tell the Lord about it)

You tell God about it and I guarantee

He will never leave you alone (Yeah)

All you gotta do is tell the Devil

“Hell naw, won’t you leave me ‘lone?” (Devil, leave)


Hell naw (Come on, wait)

To the naw, naw, naw (Come on, come on)

Hell to the naw, to the naw, naw, naw

Hell naw-naw, to the naw-naw, to the naw-naw, naw-naw

To the naw-naw, to the naw-naw, hell to the naw-naw, hah

To the naw-naw, naw, naw, hell to the naw

Naw, naw, naw, naw, hell to the naw-naw

Ralph Bull Photographer of Central NY

You know how some photographers are immediately identified with a city or region.  Like  W. Euegene Smith is with Pittsburgh well I seemed to have stumbled upon the Central NY equivalent in Ralph Bull.  Having lived in this area for many years the images all ring true.  The photo above shows a sunny day but in the winter this is a rarity so I had to use it.  While we’re at it here are some other examples:

Ralph Eugene Meatyard for Lexington , Kentucky

Milton Rogovin for Buffalo, NY

Richard Nickels - Golden Era Architecture of Chicago

The Bomb

A very interesting and scary look into how nuclear arms post WWII were handled by the armed forces and the government.  Battling between the armed services ended up giving control of all nucs to SAC ( Strategic Air Command) based in Omaha and run by General Curtis LeMay.  His idea that there is no ‘little’ war and that we should be all in with EVERY nuc we have at the same time.  Well the problem was that there were little wars such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Berlin Crisis neither of which really required armed confrontation thanks to the strong wits of JFK.

Atomic Stupidity 1950’s America

What the hell were we thinking.  Glorifying the atomic bomb!  

I have no idea what these half naked women are doing.  The second one, Duck and Cover was the best that the US government could come up with to protect it’s citizens in case of a nuclear attack.  “Kiss your Ass Goodbye” would be a more appropriate title.  The rest  are just stupid.

A Picture of No Consequence

This picture is worth a lot to me but it’s a picture of no consequence.  The first picture was taken in the late 60’s - Al was still at home and the picture is hanging in our basement of the Marilyn Rd. house.  The next picture is from our spare bedroom .  Was just now able to find that this is a Lithography by  Tucson artist, Ray Strang (1893-1957) and that it sold at auction in the mid-2000’s for $800 - who knew.  But I also saw that another copy sold for as little as $20.  It was also used with modifications by Texas country singer Robert Earl Keen on his “Bigger Piece of Sky” album cover.  It is officially called “Slow Poke”

Back to Ray Strang:Ray C. Strang (1893 in Sandoval, Illinois, United States – 1957) was an American Western artist and illustrator. He was educated in Centralia, Illinois, and attended the Art Institute of Chicago, Art Students League of New York and New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. Strang’s education was interrupted by The Great War, in which he was wounded in the Forest of Argonne. During World War II, he took part in the Consair art colony at the Tucson division of the Consolidated Aircraft corporation. For 17 years Strang was a successful illustrator in New York for such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, The American Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, Country Home Country Gentleman and Harper’s. He created covers for Dodd, Mead and Company and other publishers. He then went West to become a well-known painter who specialized in nostalgic depictions of the Wild West and the prairie life. His paintings hung in many galleries, including Grand Central palace in New York, Bender Gallery in Kansas City, Alden Gallery in St. Louis, the Chicago Art Institute and the New York Art Center. His most famous painting was a work called “Slow Poke”, of
which there were many reproductions printed. Strang was an active member of the Fine Arts Association, Palette and Brush club and belonged to the Salmagundi Club of New York City. He had a ranch near Safford Peak in the Picture Rocks section of the Tucson Mountains, where he died in 1957. Ray Strang did many paintings including “Playmates” which is a canvas painting of two foals.
He married and had a son.

Komiyama Book Store, Tokyo

Thought I would insert this random post about this fabulous book store we visited in October, 2019 on our trip to Japan. Obviously heavy on Japanese photographers, but this was what I was interested in.  The clerk spoke English and this was a big help.  I ended up buying this cute book by Yasuhiro Ishimoto because I wanted a small book as packing for the trip home would be tricky.  She helped me find just what I was looking for.

National Western Stock Show 2020

The National Western Stock Show is held every year in Denver during January.  It is one of the premiere events for purveyors of livestock, supplies, rodeo gear and all sort of Western Wear.  It is the site of the Coors Western Art show which displays some of the finest western artists around.  Pictures can typically go for as much as $10,000.  When we go we always visit the art show.  This year saw some old faces such as Barbara Van Cleve :

Barbara Van Cleve’s heritage is rich with family history and firsthand experience. Her family’s ranch, the Lazy K Bar, was founded in 1880 on the east slopes of the Crazy Mountains near Melville, Montana. Her father, Spike Van Cleve, was a unique combination of writer, poet, Harvard scholar, and expert horseman-and “a pure quill Montanan,” as her father once put it. 

As a photographer, she has held a camera since she was 11 years old when her parents gave her a “Brownie” camera and a home developing kit. Her youthful interest in photography soon grew into a lifelong commitment. Ranch work also began early for Barbara. Barely six, she could be found helping at the corrals or sitting astride a horse. Ever since she has been documenting the “true grit” and romantic beauty of her experiences on the ranch and on other ranches in the West. 

Along the way, she earned an MA in English Literature at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois; she has been a Dean of Women at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois; and she taught English Literature, and later photography, for over 25 winters at DePaul University, Loyola University and Mundelein College, all in the Chicago area. At the same time photography continued to be a passionate avocation. In her free time, she worked for Rand McNally as a textbook photographer and also established her own stock photography agency. The long summers were usually spent on the family ranch in Montana. 

New artists to me were Laura Wilson:

Laura Wilson is a photographer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ Magazine, English Vogue, London’s Sunday Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Marie Claire and Texas Monthly. 

Wilson has done four books. Her latest, Avedon at Work, documents one of the great photographers of the twentieth century. Wilson was Richard Avedon’s assistant for six years and her photographs and journal entries show Avedon’s creative process, working methods, and range of subjects as he worked to complete, In the American West. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center/University of Texas Press October 2003).

Yale University Press published Hutterites of Montana: photographs and text by Laura Wilson (Fall 2000). Winner: Book of the Year, Carr P. Collins Award, Texas Institute of Letters 2001. Winner: Golden Light Book of the Year Award, Maine Photographic Workshops 2001. David McCullough, the historian, said “A book such as this - a book so clearly and genuinely extraordinary comes along rarely and only as a result of exceptional skill and dedication.”

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