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Jirásek Rocks, Nature and Cottages

February 12, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

This Czech Republic series has been almost eight years in the making and it is not done yet. Not even close! But I am determined to wrap up the several long-running series along with posting some up-to-date photography. We're into February now and so far so good with regular weekly posts. One price to pay for taking this long to get the photographs out is a fading memory of the details. The pictures bring back pieces but it sure is more difficult to put together an accompanying narrative. Therefore, I'll let the photos do their own talking today.

Traditional Czech Cottage, Jirásek Rocks, Czech RepublicTraditional Czech Cottage, Jirásek RocksCzech Republic

Traditional Czech Cottage, Jirásek Rocks, Czech Republic

The Windows of a Traditional Czech Cottage, Jirásek Rocks, Czech RepublicThe Windows of a Traditional Czech Cottage, Jirásek RocksCzech Republic

The Windows of a Traditional Czech Cottage, Jirásek Rocks, Czech Republic

Hillside Traditional Czech Cottage, Jirásek Rocks, Czech RepublicHillside Traditional Czech Cottage, Jirásek RocksCzech Republic

Hillside Traditional Czech Cottage, Jirásek Rocks, Czech Republic

Traditional Czech Cottage in a Meadow, Jirásek RocksTraditional Czech Cottage in a Meadow, Jirásek RocksCzech Republic

Traditional Czech Cottage in a Meadow, Jirásek Rocks

Old Czech Cottage Patio, Czech RepublicOld Czech Cottage PatioCzech Republic

Old Czech Cottage Patio, Czech Republic

Jiráskovy skály tunnel, Czech RepublicJiráskovy skály tunnelCzech Republic

Jiráskovy skály tunnel, Czech Republic

Steps at Jiráskovy skály, Czech RepublicSteps at Jiráskovy skályCzech Republic

Steps at Jiráskovy skály, Czech Republic

Closed Shutter of a Traditional Czech Cottage, Czech RepublicClosed Shutter of a Traditional Czech CottageCzech Republic

Closed Shutter of a Traditional Czech Cottage, Czech Republic

Thanks for stopping by again :-)

Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you! (#etbtsy)

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more landscape photographs from places beyond Western New York? Visit my Landscapes Faraway or Travel Photography galleries and enjoy!

Mound of Death, Ostaš Rock City, Czech RepublicMound of Death, OstašCzech Republic Rock City Ostaš, Czech RepublicRock City OstašCzech Republic Devil's Car, Ostaš Rock City, Czech RepublicDevil's Car, OstašCzech Republic

Lake Spinka (Rybník Špinka) in Fog, Červený Kostelec, Czech RepublicŠpinka in FogCzech Republic In a Fairy Tale at Pískovna, Adršpach-Teplice Rocks National Park, Czech RepublicIn a Fairy TaleCzech Republic


Birdsong Park beyond Visible Light

February 05, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Yashica LM TLR, Twin Lens Reflex, 120 Medium Format 6x6 CameraYashica LM TLRTwin Lens Reflex I really enjoy photographing around Orchard Park, NY, where I live. I like both natural and urban photography. I definitely still prefer running away from people and spending time in the nature, hidden from everyone in the woods, just me, the trees, and an occasional animal. And maybe I should not say "still" but rather more and more.

When frequently revisiting the same locations over and over it's good when something changes so that my photos don't repeat. Sometimes, I can find new subject matter, other times I love photographing the same scene. Different seasons help, different weather helps, different cameras and lenses make a difference too. And when photographing on film, the choice of film matters too. Of course the obvious difference is color versus black and white. But even different color films make each scene look slightly differently, and so do different black and white films. They each feature different contrast levels, different grain, simply a different look. However, there is one type of black and white film that changes things around a lot and that is infrared film.

The so called visible spectrum ranges from about 380nm to about 700nm wave lengths and can vary significantly by person. Beyond 700nm is where infrared light starts and if we could see it the world around us would look quite different. One way to visualize this invisible world is via infrared photography, whether digital or analog. Unfortunately, color infrared films are no longer available today, only some leftover expired rolls. Fortunately, there are several black and white infrared films still made.

Birdsong Tunnel Path on Infrared, Orchard Park, NYBirdsong Tunnel Path on InfraredOrchard Park, NY

Birdsong Tunnel Path on Infrared, Orchard Park, NY
Photographed with a medium format Yashica LM TLR on Rollei IR 400 black and white infrared film

I used one such film for the photos shared in today's blog post. It's the Rollei Infrared 400. The spectral sensitivity (data sheet) of this film is from 350nm (dipping into ultraviolet) to 780nm (and into infrared). When used without a special filter, the images might not be recognizably different from other black and white films. However, when used with filters like the popular Hoya R72, which does not transmit wave lengths below 720nm, only the infrared light reached the film and bingo, familiar things no longer look the same.

Birdsong Tree Phalanx on Infrared, Orchard Park, NYBirdsong Tree Phalanx on InfraredOrchard Park, NY

Birdsong Tree Phalanx on Infrared, Orchard Park, NY
Photographed with a medium format Yashica LM TLR on Rollei IR 400 black and white infrared film

Specifically, blues turn black and greens turn white. The photographs you are looking at here are summer time photos, not snowy winter scenes. Isn't this quite magical? I love the infrared transformation and usually have to hold myself back so that I do not overuse this technique. But you know what? I think I have done too much holding back and need to let lose. While I photographed several rolls of infrared film in both 35mm and in 120 medium format, I have not posted many.

Birdsong Boardwalk Troll on Infrared, Orchard Park, NYBirdsong Boardwalk Troll on InfraredOrchard Park, NY

Birdsong Boardwalk Troll on Infrared, Orchard Park, NY
Photographed with a medium format Yashica LM TLR on Rollei IR 400 black and white infrared film

What about the location? If you're following my blog I am sure you have seen this wonderful small local park here before. Yes, we are in Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York. I have gone there for many photographic expeditions and the park always rewards me. Just being there is wonderful and if I end up with a few new keeps images even better.

Leaning over the Creek in Birdsong on Infrared, Orchard Park, NYLeaning over the Creek in Birdsong on InfraredOrchard Park, NY

Leaning over the Creek in Birdsong on Infrared, Orchard Park, NY
Photographed with a medium format Yashica LM TLR on Rollei IR 400 black and white infrared film

The closing scene is one of my most popular in the park and I love pointing a camera at it over and over again. Today, I'm happy to share the infrared rendition of it. What do you think? Do you like infrared photographs or do you feel it's too much of a trickery?

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs from Buffalo and Western New York? Visit my Buffalo Cityscapes and Buffalo & Western New York Landscapes photo galleries and enjoy! For more black and white photography, I have a dedicated collection World without Color.

Snowy Birdsong Gate in Winter with a Reflection in the Creek, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York (NY)Birdsong Gate in WinterOrchard Park, NY Through the Winter Landscape, Creek in Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York (NY)Through the Winter LandscapeOrchard Park, NY Phalanx of Trees Standing Guard by Trail, Birdsong, Orchard Park, New York (NY).PhalanxOrchard Park, NY


Sardines, in Still Life

January 29, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

It all started with some cans of Portuguese canned fish brought back from a recent vacation. The marketing departments of the canning companies did their job and the packaging looked awesome. In fact they all looked so good that I could not take a can opener to them without first preserving them forever in pictures. And of course, I could not just take a straight photo of each can! Instead, it was time for some still life. I always enjoy still life photography but I almost never do it. Hmm, that provides some food for thought.

Sardinhas em Tomate, Still Life, Black BackgroundSardinhas em TomateStill Life

Sardinhas em Tomate, Still Life, Black Background

Portugal's canning industry was born at the beginning of the 19th century when a method for preserving food in a closed metallic container was invented and patented. Despite its ups and downs it remains a huge tradition in Portugal today.

Sardinhas em Azeite Picante, Still Life, Black Background.Sardinhas em Azeite PicanteStill Life

Sardinhas em Azeite Picante, Still Life, Black Background

All of these photographs were captured on a black velvet background with a single continuous light source, a large LED panel. I manually set the LED color temperature to 5,200 Kelvin and set the same value on the camera for an easier color correction later. As you can see by the shadows, the panel was to the right of the camera and a little bit up. Instead of pointing it straight at the set up I feathered the light by turning the light down and left almost towards the camera until the scene was illuminated by the very edge of the light. I like the quality of such light and it also minimizes the amount of background illumination keeping the background nicely dark. My camera was on a tripod and I used a 100mm macro lens to play with shallow depth of field.

Peixe-Espada em Azeite com Nikon FE2, Still Life, Black BackgroundPeixe-Espada em Azeite com Nikon FE2Still Life

Peixe-Espada em Azeite com Nikon FE2, Still Life, Black Background

Yes, my love of traditional film photography got the better of me on two fronts. First, I could not resist sneaking the cameras into the set up even though I must admit, I am not sure how to justify the cameras on the table along with sardines, bread, and butter. Oh well, what can you do. But tell me that Kodak Signet 40 does not look great alongside the can of fish!

Peixe-Espada em Azeite com Kodak Signet 40, Still Life, Black BackgroundPeixe-Espada em Azeite com Kodak Signet 40Still Life

Peixe-Espada em Azeite com Kodak Signet 40, Still Life, Black Background

I also used the 35mm Nikon FE2 with the 135mm Nikkor lens loaded with Orwo NC500 Wolfen Color film to capture this still life set up. I have since developed and filed the film in sleeves but it's still awaiting scanning. Then I will share an analog Part 2 to this digital series.

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs of abstracts, patterns, and other miscellaneous photos without a dedicated category, like still photography? Please, visit my Abstracts & Patterns Gallery of Photographs and enjoy.

Fall Abstract Reflection at Moss Lake, Autumn Nature in Western New YorkFall Abstract at Moss LakeAbstract Photography Colorful Bug Ranch Abstract, Route 66 in Conway, Texas (TX)Bug Ranch AbstractAbstract Photography Flying through a Black Hole, an Abstract Refractograph on Black Background.Flying through a Black HoleAbstract Photography


Fall Sequel to the Spring Prequel

January 22, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Nikon N75, Nikkor 28-105DNikon N75Nikkor 28-105D Alright, since the title suggested there would be a sequel let's get it out before it collects too much dust. The outside world looks nothing like this right now. After a complete lack of winter presence things changes about a week ago on Saturday and it's been snowing steadily since. At the moment, looking through the window, it's a typical Western New York scene out there with everything covered in white. I like winters like that. Cold and snow make everything look clean. Well, at least in the outdoors. The urban environment usually does not keep that look for long as salt turns the snow into a dirty mush everywhere.

Anyway, Im already off on a tangent so let's get back to this fall day. The photographs below will hopefully bring warmth to those of you that are not winter fans. We'll go through the Newton Entrance loop of Chestnut Ridge Park on the western side of the park. It's about 4.5-mile long and one has a choice to follow the paved road or hit the trail in the woods that follows the road for the most part. But stay alert or you may end up elsewhere!

Old Stone Well House, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New YorkOld Stone Well HouseChestnut Ridge Park

Old Stone Well House, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Nikon N75 and AF Nikkor 28-105 D  on Kodak Portra 400, developed in expired C-41 chemistry

I would normally prefer the trail through the woods and walked it here several times too but the road has its advantages, especially when I have a camera on me. What can be better than leaving civilization at a distance and disappearing in the woods? Well, Chestnut Ridge Park features some wonderful manmade stone structures that have attracted my attention for years! and they are on or along the road looping through the park. Of course, this road is enjoyed at its best when it's closed to vehicular traffic as cars passing by can lower the enjoyment. And in winter, one has to hope not to run into a snowmobile day. It happened to us once or twice and the only solution was to turn around and go to the eastern part of the park.

Logs over Creek, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New YorkLogs over CreekChestnut Ridge Park

Logs over Creek, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Nikon N75 and AF Nikkor 28-105 D  on Kodak Portra 400, developed in expired C-41 chemistry

This walk was fully focused on photography and getting in the approximately 4.5 miles was just a wonderful side benefit. However, I still decided to keep things very simple to be able to move along the loop at a brisk pace. I grabbed my plastic fantastic lightweight Nikon N75 and the 28-105 D Macro zoom lens. I am always happy with the photos the combo gets me and am also happy I did select this lens when I was looking for a simple KIT a few years back. Its macro capability often comes handy and overall its image quality is perfectly fine for my taste and expectations for the 35mm film format.

The camera had a little bit of a break in 2023 as I was exercising my later autofocus addition, the Minolta Maxxum 5. When it comes to features, the Minolta is the better camera of the two and I am growing to like it more and more. At the moment, I only have couple prime lenses for it though and for hikes on the light I was happy to pull the Nikon from reserves.

Among Fairies, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New YorkAmong FairiesChestnut Ridge Park

Among Fairies, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Nikon N75 and AF Nikkor 28-105 D  on Kodak Portra 400, developed in expired C-41 chemistry

The above photo "Among Fairies" shows the wonderful versatility of the 28-105 D Nikkor Macro lens. Even handheld, one can document the tiny natural world and capture photos complementing the story of a single hike beyond what a casual hiker will spot. One just needs to be open to getting their knees dirty.

Among Trees, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New YorkAmong TreesChestnut Ridge Park

Among Trees, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Nikon N75 and AF Nikkor 28-105 D  on Kodak Portra 400, developed in expired C-41 chemistry

Scenes like the above trees often grab my attention. However, they do not usually result in a quick snap and moving on. The initial moment of spotting an opportunity is usually followed by a photographic dance. A foot forward or back, left or right, can often alter the frame quite dramatically. Here, I tried to control the spacing between the trees to insure none of them overlapped or got too close to one another.

Bridge across Bubbly Waters, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New YorkBridge across Bubbly WatersChestnut Ridge Park

Bridge across Bubbly Waters, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Nikon N75 and AF Nikkor 28-105 D  on Kodak Portra 400, developed in expired C-41 chemistry

Bridges lined with stone walls are one of those manmade structures I like about the road through the park. They fit the natural environment so nicely and I am glad they have still survived and the county even tries to maintain them as such. A concrete wall, a metal railing, or even a guardrail would just spoil the whole scene for me. So I take pictures of these elements just in case they bite the dust. Do you also notice and appreciate little things like these?

There are more bridges lined with stone walls further down the loop that were recently repaired and new construction techniques were used to make them sturdier and increase their longevity. They don't quite look as beautiful as the old-fashioned style above but I understand and appreciate the effort to balance cost and looks.

Bubbly Waters, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New YorkBubbly WatersChestnut Ridge Park

Bubbly Waters, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Nikon N75 and AF Nikkor 28-105 D  on Kodak Portra 400, developed in expired C-41 chemistry

The scene under the bridge is very eye-catching too. One of the signature features of the Chestnut Ridge Park are its ravines, often filled with year-round or seasonal creeks. White bubbling water complements the fall colors so well! And the shale rock is not too shabby either!

Trees often get very creative finding a way to cast permanent roots and I have been a keen observer for many years. One year, I even focused on trees along trails with my "In the Woods" series but that one is still waiting for its time.

Rooted, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New YorkRootedChestnut Ridge Park

Rooted, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Nikon N75 and AF Nikkor 28-105 D  on Kodak Portra 400, developed in expired C-41 chemistry

The next photograph is very special to me. The Lost (and Found) Mossy Well House has been in the making for a long time mostly because it was, well, lost. A while back, a year or two (or three) I had spotted this beauty on my walk through the park but for whatever reason did not take a picture. Not even with a cell phone. Later, I kept trying to find it when I had a camera on me but could not. And then one day, it was there, right in plain sight.

Not only was I very happy to take a photo of it with the film camera but I also snapped it with my smart phone to preserve its geolocation just in case my memory fails me again. Maybe I am crazy but I love this well house. The gorgeous stonework alone makes this a picturesque structure to photograph but add the roof fully covered with moss and the perfection is complete! I am so afraid it won't last much longer. Judging by the other well houses spread through the park it is just a matter of time for the roof to give in to water and things go bad quickly from there. I need more photographs and I need to keep my hopes that maybe the county will decide to save this one! Please.

The Lost Mossy Well House, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New YorkThe Lost Mossy Well HouseChestnut Ridge Park

The Lost Mossy Well House, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Nikon N75 and AF Nikkor 28-105 D  on Kodak Portra 400, developed in expired C-41 chemistry

The strange thing? As I found one lost well house I lost another. The opening photo of this blog post? I tried finding that dilapidated well house twice already and it's nowhere to be found. It's frustrating on one hand, funny on another, and actually quite motivating to get me back looking for it. Maybe my mind is playing mental trick on me to keep me walking.

Rooted II, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New YorkRooted IIChestnut Ridge Park

Rooted II, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Nikon N75 and AF Nikkor 28-105 D  on Kodak Portra 400, developed in expired C-41 chemistry

See, we are back to the tree roots again. These are rather straightforward and yet asked to be photographed too. The green moss disappearing in the layer of dry fallen leaves created its own magic. Nature is such a wonderful painter!

Vertical & Horizontal, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New YorkVertical & HorizontalChestnut Ridge Park

Vertical & Horizontal, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Nikon N75 and AF Nikkor 28-105 D  on Kodak Portra 400, developed in expired C-41 chemistry

Congratulations, we are at the end of the 4.5-mile loop with some natural geometry, a rectangle in the woods. I can't wait to be back there again. Maybe I will find the newly lost well house, maybe something new will catch my eye! And I will let you in on a secret. I have already walked the loop several times since capturing these photographs and even have a snowy edition in the works. If you stick with this blog it might even come out at some point.

Thanks so much for visiting (again) and enjoy the scenery wherever your hikes take you!

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs from Buffalo and Western New York? Visit my Buffalo Cityscapes and Buffalo & Western New York Landscapes and enjoy! For more travel photography, my Travel Photography gallery offers an interesting mix of places all around. And for more black and white photography hop over to the World without Color photo collection.  

The Music of Fall at Birdsong, Path between Colorful Trees, Autumn in Orchard Park, New York (NY).The Music of FallBirdsong Park Foggy Meadows and Fences at Sunrise, Knox Farm, East Aurora - Buffalo, New York (NY)Meadows and Fences at SunriseKnox Farm State Park Eternal Flame Falls Ravine and Creek in Chestnut Ridge Park in the Fall - Autumn, Orchard Park, New York (NY).Eternal Flame FallsChestnut Ridge Park


Strolling around Orchard Park and Hamburg, New York

January 08, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Nikon F4, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8Nikon F4Nikon F4, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 A black and white trip back to 2022 today visiting the neighboring Orchard Park and Hamburg, New York. The camera and film choice were unusual that day as I ordinarily prefer old manual cameras for my black and white photography and go with a bit more automation with color film.  The reasoning behind those choices is purely practical. It's enough I drive my family bonkers using film instead of super sharp digital perfection. Then, if I miss focus even slightly, that does not help matters a bit. As a result, having auto focus for family photographs helps. It's a simple recognition of the fact that my eye sight unfortunately is not good and still gets a little worse as years go by. My biannual visits to the optometrist prove that.

For a change of pace, I decided to capture one Quaker Marching Band event on black and white film instead of color, which drove the choice of the autofocus Nikon F4. Film of choice was the wonderful Kodak Double-X cinematic film. And since I did not finish the whole roll at the event the combo went with me on couple local expeditions, one through Orchard Park and one through Hamburg, New York.

One Way Do Not Enter, Orchard Park, New YorkOne Way Do Not EnterOrchard Park, New York

One Way Do Not Enter, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a 35mm Nikon F4 camera on Kodak Double-X 5222 Black & White Negative Film

While standing in front of the Green Eats and waiting for a yummy smoothie to be ready I spotted the corner above and found it irresistible. I liked the dual signage on the brick pattern, decided to center the edge of the corner in the photograph and went for a shallower depth of field to allow for the focus to fall off, which is nicely visible on the righthand side.

Walking back home luck was on my side and the Orchard Park Fire Company had their trucks lined up outside. This black and white photo provides a more subtle alternative to the usual bright red colors but I like that about black and white photography.

Orchard Park Fire Company, Orchard Park, New YorkOrchard Park Fire CompanyOrchard Park, New York

Orchard Park Fire Company, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a 35mm Nikon F4 camera on Kodak Double-X 5222 Black & White Negative Film

Further south I added on the obligatory loop around Green Lake to the walk. It adds about half a mile and a ton of potential photographic opportunities despite having photographed it countless times. And I was rewarded this morning too. As I looked back I really liked the dark tree silhouettes against the bright light of the rising sun.

Moody Morning at Green Lake, Orchard Park, New YorkMoody Morning at Green LakeOrchard Park, New York

Moody Morning at Green Lake, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a 35mm Nikon F4 camera on Kodak Double-X 5222 Black & White Negative Film

For the next two photographs we're off to the beautiful neighboring village of Hamburg, New York. First stop, the train depot. Let's board for a trip, shall we? I really wanted something a little different and the idea of playing with a shallow depth of field came quite naturally this evening. Maybe the fading evening light gave me a nice assist prompting an open aperture

By Train, Hamburg, New YorkBy TrainHamburg, New York

By Train, Hamburg, New York
Photographed with a 35mm Nikon F4 camera on Kodak Double-X 5222 Black & White Negative Film

We'll close off today's mix of urban photography and natural landscapes on the charming Hamburg Beach. The photo itself is a blend of natural and manmade thanks to the "House with a View". The whole set up here with the cliffs, the clifftop house, and the often spectacular sunsets feels like being somewhere faraway on a tropical island. For a while, I visited regularly and frequently, yet now I can't remember my last time. Maybe an idea for the next photo op?

House with a View, Hamburg, New YorkHouse with a ViewHamburg, New York

House with a View, Hamburg, New York
Photographed with a 35mm Nikon F4 camera on Kodak Double-X 5222 Black & White Negative Film

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog again for today's dose of black and white film photography.

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs from Buffalo and Western New York? Visit my Buffalo Cityscapes and Buffalo & Western New York Landscapes and enjoy! For more travel photography, my Travel Photography gallery offers an interesting mix of places all around. And for more black and white photography hop over to the World without Color photo collection.

Hilbert College Reflection, Hamburg, New York (NY)Hilbert College ReflectionHamburg, New York Franciscan Hall, Hilbert College, Hamburg, New York (NY)Franciscan HallHamburg, New York Campus Center, Hilbert College, Hamburg, New York *NY)Campus CenterHamburg, New York

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