Thursday, July 1, 2021

Connectivity Problems

Elementary kids at the Randolph School in Huntsville, AL

30 years ago learn about computers. This was before

computers invaded and took over our lives.

 

Connectivity has been a problem ever since we began living in an RV.  We began with 20 gigs of data from the carrier we had been using for some years, but it soon became obvious that it was not nearly enough. The campground provided wifi, but it was miserably, excruciatingly, slow. Slow to the point of unusability. It was hard to keep up this blog, not to mention all the other things for which we need the internet.

In March we switched to T-Mobile, which gave us more data, but we soon found their phone coverage was lacking. So we looked at Verizon, which we had used for more than 20 years when we were in our house, but they didn't offer any more data than we could get from our old carrier, and were much more expensive. So back we went to Consumer Cellular, this time with a mobile hotspot and a plan that provided up to 55 gigabytes of data per month.

Which we used up on about the 20th of each month.

And then -- the dreaded slowdown.

Then we learned that T-Mobile was offering 100 gigs of data for $50 per month. They also gave us, for free, another mobile hotspot for signing up! Now, we can run T-Mobile data through their hotspot for our computers and streaming TV and the Consumer Cellular data through their hotspot for our phones and iPads.

We're just at the beginning stages with this arrangement, but looks like maybe we have found a solution to our connectivity problem. I'll let you know next month!

Photograph and text copyright 2021, David B.Jenkins

I post each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday unless life gets in the way.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone

Monday, June 21, 2021

A Tribute to A Great Man

Byrl Thornton Jenkins on his 90th birthday, October 5, 1999

I hate to post a photo that I've used so recently, but I couldn't find the one I had hoped to use. I have it on a DVD, but for some reason my computer just kicks the disc back out when I try to run it.
 
This portrait of my Dad was made on his 90th birthday, October 5, 1999, on the front porch of his home, holding his Bible, and with a background of fall foliage. I used a Hasselblad CM and 150mm lens with Fuji NPH color negative film rated at ISO 320. I love this photograph because it shows the basic sweetness of the man.
 
Dad was a polymath. An electronics technician by profession, he was also a keen student of the Bible who pastored small churches for much of his life. But his learning went far beyond the Scriptures. An Eagle Scout in his youth, he had only two years of college but read and studied deeply in many fields -- nature, medicine, philosophy -- he could discourse intelligently on almost any subject. As a writer, he wrote voluminously on Biblical subjects. At his funeral, the pastor, who himself had advanced degrees, said "Mr. Jenkins was probably the most intelligent man I ever met."
 
He was also an avid photographer and camera collector; infecting both me, his oldest son, and Phil, his youngest, with the photo bug. Phil is a bird and wildlife photographer of great ability. I'll be writing about him and sharing some of his photographs soon .
 
Dad was was always young, always looking ahead to the next challenge. At the age of 89 he was operating two flea-market mall booths. On the last day we spent together, just a month before he died, we spent the day shopping for a computer system so he could go online and sell his antiques. Yet Dad was sick. About a year before, his small intestine telescoped into itself and only emergency surgery saved his life. From that point on he had persistent diarrhea, taking his weight down a good 50 pounds. As we shopped on that last day together he had to look for a restroom just about every hour. But he never quit.

Dad passed away in February, 2000. The goal of my life is to emulate his faith, courage, and perseverance. 
 

Photograph and text copyright 2021, David B.Jenkins

I post each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday unless life gets in the way.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone

Friday, June 18, 2021

Carrot Farmers, Northern Guatemalan Mountains

Carrot Farmers, Northern Guatemalan Mountains

Olympus OM camera, 24mm f2.8 Zuiko lens, Fujichrome 100 film

(Click to enlarge)

 

In March of 1989 I was sent to document the return of the village people of northern Guatemala to their homes after being displaced by fighting between the army and Communist guerillas.

We spent two days and a night in the village of Mayalan. Nobody told me to bring a sleeping bag and I spent the coldest night of my life on a wooden bench in the little church. A March night at 8,000 feet is no joke, and since the church was built of vertical poles lashed together, the wind blew right through. Morning did come eventually, though, and since I had no incentive to stay in bed I went out in the early light and was able to make some good pictures of the village awakening.

Returning through the mountains to Guatemala City, we came upon these carrot farmers. They grew their carrots in the valley below and carried bundles of them on their backs up to road to sell.

Returning to Chattanooga some days later, I was met at the airport, not by Louise, but by our friend Ann Lundy.

"Where's Louise?"

"She's at the hospital. She's had an accident."

"What!? What happened?"

On her way to the airport, Louise had run off the road and rolled her little Bronco II end over end. I found her in the hospital's x-ray room being checked out. She was a bit banged up, but nothing was broken. Not so, the Bronco. It was totaled.

Pretty much the way I felt.

Photograph and text copyright 2021, David B.Jenkins

I post each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday unless life gets in the way.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone


Tag Cloud: Dave Jenkins, photography, film photography, Olympus OM camera, Zuiko lenses, Fujichrome film, Guatemala

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

How I Came to Digital Photography (Kicking and Screaming!)

 

Civil War Bugle

Chickamauga National Military Park

Nikkormat, 100mm f2.8 Vivitar lens, Kodak Kodachrome 25 film

(Click to enlarge)

 

Blog Note: All the photographs leading off these posts on the topic of film vs. digital photography were made on fiilm.

In the early days of this century I was opposed to digital photography and thought I would never switch. I preferred the "look" of film and considered digital images flat and lacking in contrast. Also, to be honest, I was proud of my finely honed skills in shooting and processing film, skills that made my work stand out.

By early 2003 I was doing commercial photography with a Fuji GX680, an enormous beast of a camera that made a negative nearly 2x3 inches in size, and weddings with 35mm color negative film. Neither of these cameras was cheap to operate. Even with 35mm film, covering a wedding properly meant a significant outlay in film and processing costs.

Meanwhile, digital cameras were getting better, and prices, while still very high, were coming down.

At the Southwestern Photojournalism Seminar in Fort Worth, Texas in March, 2003, I had a long talk with my friend Bill Bangham, a distinguished photojournalist who was at that time editor of the award-winning Southern Baptist World Missions magazine. I told Bill my concern that digital photography would result in a loss of control, making me into a mere button-pusher, with most of the control going to the editor.

Bill responded that photographing digitally would give me more control, not less. So I began to consider the advantages of digital more seriously. The outcome was that I sold my GX680 equipment and searched the sofa for loose change and bought Canon's recently introduced 10D for the princely sum (or so it seemed to me) of three thousand dollars -- about five times what I paid for a Canon A2 film body in 1995.

To this day I have a love/hate relationship with digital photography. As I said above, I liked the "look" of film and still do. In fact, I process my photos to look as much like film as possible. And while some complained about slide film's lack of dynamic range, I never found it to be a handicap.

But the photography world was changing and it was either change with it or be left behind. So I changed. But I still miss film.

Photograph and text copyright 2021, David B.Jenkins

I post each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday unless life gets in the way.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone

 

Tags: Dave Jenkins, film photography, digital photography, Nikkormat, Vivitar, Kodachrome, Fuji GX680, Canon 10D, Canon A2, Southern Baptist World Missions

Monday, June 14, 2021

So, Why Don't You Shoot Film?

 Civil War Re-enactor, Chickamauga National Military Park

Nikkormat, 100mm f2.8 Vivitar lens, Kodak Kodachrome 25 film

(Click to enlarge)

 

If you read my previous post, in which I said "I believe shooting film made me a better photographer," you're probably asking "So why don't you shoot film?"

I do indeed miss shooting film, but frankly, I can't afford to. I'm basically a color photographer, which means I shoot slides. It would cost a little less if I used color negative film, but that doesn't give me the control I want.

I did a calculation once, of what it would have cost to do the photography for Backroads and Byways of Georgia on film. It would have been around $3000 for film and processing if I did the processing myself. Too big a bite out of  an advance that also had to cover gas, lodging, and food.

I shot about 150 rolls of film for the Rock City Barns book, doing most of the processing myself -- something I can no longer do because there's no room in our RV for processing equipment and chemicals.

I also can't afford the time it takes to make first-class scans of all those slides.

So it looks as if I'll be shooting away with my Fuji digital cameras for the foreseeable future -- or until I can find a publisher who's willing to pay a little more. 

(The above photograph, by the way, was my first-ever prize-winning photo.)

 

Photograph and text copyright 2021, David B.Jenkins

I post each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday unless life gets in the way.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone

 

Tags: Dave Jenkins, photography, film photography, Civil War Re-enactors, Chickamauga National Military Park, Nikkormat camera, Vivitar lens, Kodak, Kodachrome 25 film, Fuji cameras, Rock City Barns book

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Photo-Fossil

 Musicians at the Cultural Village, Lusaka, Zambia.

Olympus OM2n, 100-300mm f4 Tokina lens, Fujichrome 100 film

(Click to enlarge)

 

I've been a photographer for 53 years. From 1968 to 2003 all my photographs were made on film, but in the summer of that year I switched to digital photography. Not because I wanted to, but because it was necessary to remain competitive in my photography business. So -- 35 years with film, and 18 so far with digital, although I have exposed a few rolls of film in those years.

In 2014 I began a project to choose my 100 best photographs, with the idea that I would have them printed in a book by Blurb or another of the online publishers. I haven't spent a lot of time on this, and it may turn out to be one of those projects that never get finished. I should probably pick several hundred and take the whole pile to my longtime friend, client, and ace graphic designer, Michael Largent, and let him pick.

In any case, at this point I'm only up to about 70 photos, and only seven of them were made with a digital camera. Two-thirds of my photographic life was spent working with film, and one-third, the last third, working with digital. Eighteen years when I'm supposedly a mature photographer. And yet the overwhelming majority of 70 photos that I consider to be among my best were made on film.

"Why is that?" you might ask.

I can think of at least two reasons. One is that life brought me more interesting assignments in the days when I was shooting film. All my foreign documentary assignments and the Rock City Barns book were done on film. (Georgia: A Backroads Portrait is a combination of film and digital photography.)

The second reason is that digital can be just too easy. And that makes it too easy, for me, at least, to be careless, or to be too easily satisfied when the little screen on the back of my camera tells me I have an okay shot. Maybe not great, but okay. Besides, "I can always fix it in Photoshop!"

In this digital era, cameras can select the proper exposure and focus themselves. All the photographer has to do is frame the shot and choose the instant to press the shutter button. And ways have now been invented to capture the proper instant even if the photographer misses it. The only skill left to the photographer is composition.

By the end of the film era, cameras were pretty good at choosing exposures, but smart photographers learned to fine-tune the settings. Autofocus was also in wide use. But photographers still had to master timing and composition. I believe film helped us be much more careful with focus, exposure, timing, and composition because there was always a little meter in the back of our heads keeping a running account of costs. In short, I believe shooting film made me a better photographer.

Or maybe I'm just a photo-fossil.

 

Photograph and text copyright 2021, David B.Jenkins

I post each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday unless life gets in the way.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone

 

Tags: photography, Dave Jenkins, film photography, digital photography,

Photoshop, Lusaka, Zambia, Olympus OM2n camera, Tokina lens, Fujichrome

film

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Outcast

The Outcast

Jonathan Dickenson State Park, Florida

Nikon F, Tamron 135mm f2.8 lens, Kodak Kodachrome II film

(Click to enlarge)

 

This picture is important to me. It was my first photograph to give me a sense of having caught something of what I wanted to say with my photography. It was the beginning of my ability "to notice things," as I wrote here.

It was Thanksgiving weekend, 1969. My family and I were camping at Jonathan Dickinson State Park on Florida's southeast coast with a group of other teachers and friends from Miami's Florida Christian School. That was the setting.

I had been enthusiastically snapping away for a little over a year by this time, first with a cheap Kodak Instamatic 126 camera I got when Donny was born, then working my way up through somewhat better cameras until, at the beginning of the 1969-70 school year I got my first good camera -- a Nikon F and a pair of Tamron lenses to shoot football and school activities, including photos for the yearbook.

I made quite a few photos that weekend, mostly of family and friends. But something about this scene at the waterfront caught my eye, although I couldn't have told you at the time just what it was that appealed to me. Now, I see it as a metaphor for a human condition.

The camera, as I said, was my prized Nikon F with the Tamron 135mm lens; the film was Kodak's Kodachrome II with an ISO (then called ASA) of 25. Hopelessly slow in this digital age, yet used to create incredible photographs and still considered by many to have been the finest film ever made.

Photograph and text copyright 2021, David B.Jenkins

I post each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday unless life gets in the way.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone

 

Tags: photography, Dave Jenkins, Nikon F camera, Tamron lens, Kodak Kodachrome II film, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Florida, Miami, Florida Christian School Instamatic