Wednesday, May 12, 2021

An Alaskan Scene


Taken from the railway car as we were leaving Denali National Park.

Olympus OM-D EM-5, Panasonic Lumix II 14-140 f3.5-5.6 lens

In 2015, Louise and I went to Alaska in celebration of our 50th anniversary. We flew to Fairbanks, then worked our way south on the Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park, and then on to Anchorage. I didn't get many photographs that I'm happy with on this trip, but there were some spectacular views of the mountains and the Nenana River, which forms the eastern boundary of the park, as we were leaving Denali Village on the train. 

Since the Alaska trip wasn't really about photography, I carried what for me was a minimal kit -- a Canon EOS 6D with two lenses and an Olympus OM-D E-M5 (the name is almost bigger than the camera). I might as well have left the Canon at home, because I found myself using the Olympus with its do-it-all Panasonic zoom lens most of the time. 

In 2017 I switched to Fuji X-system cameras and lenses and sold the Canon equipment. In 2018 I sold most of the Olympus gear as well. I'm happy with my Fujis and don't miss the Canons at all, and the Olympus not much. But to give credit where it's due, the Olympus E-M5s are light, easy to handle, and great picture-takers. That Panasonic zoom lens is no slouch, either.

Photograph and text copyright 2021, David B.Jenkins

I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone


Tags: photography, David B. Jenkins, Dave Jenkins, Alaska, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Denali National Park, Nenana River, Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, Panasonic Lumix II 14-140 f3.5-5.6 lens

Monday, May 10, 2021

The Importance of Printing


Some of the calendars and booklets our children

and grandchildren have created for us.


This current generation has been the most photographed in history, yet will be the first since photography was invented to have no photographic history.

Think about it. Do you remember looking at family pictures when you were growing up? Was that important to you in giving you a sense of your family's history? Unless you take action, your children and grandchildren will not have that experience.

It has been estimated that more photographs are being made every day than the sum total of all the photographs made from the time photography was invented until the year 2000. Yet, where are all those millions of photos? Why are they not creating a rich photographic heritage for families all around the globe?

The answer is that they don't actually exist. They are only collections of electrical impulses in cameras, cell phones, computers, or the cloud. They have never been given actual, tangible existence. They have never been printed.

You can save those photo files on your computer hard drive, a DVD, a back-up hard drive, a flash drive, or the cloud. And you should. But those media all can deteriorate. And even if they don't, at some point in the future no one is going to have software to read those files. (Floppy discs were common only 20 or 25 years ago, but try finding a way to read them now.) But with reasonable care, prints are permanent.

You don't have to be a professional photojournalist to document the life of your family. I began with a very simple snapshot camera. The simplest digital cameras, even cell phone cameras, are capable of better sharpness and clarity than even the finest 35mm cameras we had back in the day.

So what is the best camera? The best camera is the one you have with you. One of my daughter's-in-law has an old Canon 20D, the other uses her cell phone. Both of them document their families diligently. But that's only the first step. The next is to get those digital files out of the cameras and into print. If you don't download and save those photos they will almost certainly be lost.

So -- make prints! There are many online labs to which you can send your files for printing, or you can order prints at your neighborhood drug store or WalMart. Or you can take advantage of a gift of the digital age and have your photo files printed into booklets by online companies such as Blurb, Shutterfly, and many others. Those companies also make calendars, and so, each year for many years, daughter-in-law Bonnie has given Louise and me a calendar full of family pictures.

Early in her marriage to my friend Ben, Kelley Hoagland began printing booklets of their travels and other events. As their three daughters were born she kept on photographing and making more booklets. Her girls will have a comprehensive photo-history for themselves and their descendants.

(Along the way, Kelley, who trained as an occupational therapist, found that photography was the missing creative outlet in her life and is now a very fine family and wedding photographer.)

Photograph and text copyright 2021 David B. Jenkins

I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone

Tags: photography, film photography, digital photography, cameras, cell phone cameras, Dave Jenkins, David B. Jenkins,  family photography, prints, albums, Blurb, Shutterfly

Friday, May 7, 2021

The Book of Marlee

Christmas, 2008. Four-year-old Marlee samples her grandmother's cake icing.

Canon EOS 5D Classic, Canon 24-85 f3.5-4.5 EF lens

Blog Note: This post is one of a series on documenting your family. More to come.

For many years our sons and their families came to the farm for extended stays at Christmas and New Years. Those were great times. One of the primary reasons we bought the farm property and built the house we did was to create a place where our children and grandchildren would love to come. 

In those days we had a number of small albums of 4x6 prints scattered around the house. At Christmas, 2011, seven-year-old Marlee, our youngest granddaughter, wandered around the house looking through the albums. Finally, she said to Louise:  "Where Are My Pictures, Grandma?"

"I'm afraid they're in Grandpa's camera, sweetheart," answered her grandmother. And so they were. 

I made prints for 35 years, because that was mostly what people had to do if they wanted to see their photographs made on film. (Slides were an exception, but most people didn't shoot slides.) Unfortunately, I got out of the habit of making prints when I switched to digital photography in 2003. I did occasionally make prints, but not many. Marlee was born in 2004, so although I took many pictures of her, they were indeed "in Grandpa's camera."

Spurred by this, I undertook to go through all my pictures of Marlee. I also raided Kim's and Don's cell-phones for a few pictures I didn't have, edited them all down to 150, and ordered 4x6 prints which I put in an album labeled "The Book of Marlee: the First Eight Years," and gave it to her on her eighth birthday. She was thrilled, and her mother told me that for years after that she would sometimes take out her album and look through it.

If I were doing this now, I might, instead of ordering prints, have the photos printed in a booklet such as those offered by Blurb, Shutterfly, and others. You can even get them from WalMart and Amazon. More on this later. 

Photograph and text copyright 2021 David B. Jenkins

I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone

Tags: photography, film photography, digital photography, cameras, Dave Jenkins, David B. Jenkins,  family photography, prints, albums, Blurb, Shutterfly


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Precious Memories

The young Jenkins family at Jonathan Dickinson

State Park, Florida, November, 1968


Blog Note: This post is one of a series on documenting your family. More to come.

This photograph was made with a Kodak Instamatic 104 camera, probably the least expensive one they made. Even the cheapest phone camera or digital point-and-shoot is capable of almost infinitely better sharpness and clarity than the Kodak 126 film negatives from my little Instamatic -- in fact, there is just barely enough quality to make a 5x7 print. Yet, this picture is precious beyond words to me.

I had a brief flirtation with photography while in high school, and for a time owned a good camera for the day - a Voightlander Vito B with a good lens. I lost interest while in college, and when Barbara and I were married, we got some kind of Brownie camera and made a few 3x3-inch black-and-white prints. I wish we had done more. 

I had that same camera when Louise and I were married, but shortly before Don was born the shutter began sticking. I found an ad in a magazine offering a free Instamatic camera and five cartridges of film. All I had to do was send the five cartridges to their lab for processing at a reasonable fee, and the camera would be mine.  

This photo was made on Thanksgiving weekend, 1968, while we were tent-camping at Jonathan Dickinson State Park near Hobe Sound, on Florida's southeast coast. Rob, seven at the time, and Don, five months, do not appear to be enjoying canoing as much as their mother and I, but this picture documents a great time in our life as a young family. The photographic quality is marginal, but adequate to preserve a precious memory.

Photograph copyright1968- 2021, Text copyright 2021 David B. Jenkins

I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone

Tags: photography, Dave Jenkins, David B. Jenkins, Kodak, Instamatic, 126 film cartridge, Voightlander, Florida, Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, film photography

Monday, May 3, 2021

Making It Happen

My great granddaughter Lydia at our creek,

Deer Run Farm, McLemore Cove, 2018

Fuji X-Pro1, Fujinon 27mm f2.8 lens


Blog Note: This post is one of a series on documenting your family. More to come. I apologize for the irregularity of my posts lately. In addition to the other difficulties I've mentioned recently, I've been having internet problems. I hope they're now ironed out, but we'll see.

I've been rather unfocused, if you'll excuse the expression, in this series of posts about documenting your family. So this post should probably have been the first in the series. 

I've spent my life in photography, as the title of this blog affirms. I've had the privilege of traveling to 33 or 34 countries and around much of the U.S. with my cameras and have photographed people and things in many different places. But whether my camera was pointed at barns or Bulgarians, most of the  photography I've done has been documentary.

I greatly enjoyed traveling and photographing all those people, places, and things, but the most important photography I've done was right at home, documenting the life of my family as we lived it. 

You can do the same, and you don't have to be a professional photojournalist. If you have a camera, even a simple digital point-and-shoot or a cell phone, you can make photos to preserve moments in your family's history that you will treasure in years to come, and more importantly, generations yet to come will treasure them even more. But you have to make it happen. 

How can you make a photo-history of your family happen? The most important factor is you. You have to choose to make it happen, because it won't just happen by itself.

1. Carry a camera -- and watch for opportunities to use it. I carry a real camera, because I like cameras. I like to handle and use them. But a cell phone will do the job. My daughter-in-law Kim provides us with a daily, running documentation of her family with her cell phone camera. My late sister Anah kept Kodak in business with her little Olympus point-and-shoot as her family was growing up. (Double prints of everything!) 

2. Get those photos out of your camera or cell phone and into your computer. If you don't, they will sooner or later be accidentally erased. Saving them to the cloud is good, but that's not really doing anything with them. Get them into your computer and sort through them (that's called editing).

3. Make prints. Select the ones you like best and/or consider most significant and send them out to one of the many on-line services and have prints made. Put them in albums. Remember, until a digital file is printed it's only a collection of electrical impulses. A print is tangible. You can hold it in your hands. You can show it to others (much better than asking them to look at the screen of your cell phone or the back of your camera.) 

Photograph and text copyright 2021, David B. Jenkins

I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone 

Tags: photography, Dave Jenkins, David B. Jenkins, cameras, Fuji X-Pro1, Fujinon 27mm f2.8 lens, Kodak Olympus cameras


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Rob and His Grandpa

 Rob looks on as his grandfather, C.E. Hedgepeth

fills the tank of our '63 Plymouth.

Yashica 124 twin-lens reflex camera, Kodak 120 slide film


Blog Note: This is one of a series of posts about documenting the life of your family in photographs.

 Rob, our oldest son, was born to my first wife, Barbara Hedgepeth of Sarasota, Florida. She passed away when Rob was only 22 months old. Louise and I were married two years later and she became his mother in every possible way. Don was born three years later.

We maintained a close relationship with the Hedgepeths. They were very much part of our family. Rob and Don had the unusual privilege of growing up with three sets of loving grandparents. 

Rob's grandfather, C.E. Hedgepeth, a fervent Christian, was probably the finest man I've ever known. He and his wife operated a small, two-pump Sinclair station on U.S. 41 on the south side of Sarasota when 41 was the main drag. He put three kids through college with that little gas station. 

When we lived in Miami in the late 1960s, we visited the Hedgepeths frequently. Whenever we came, he always insisted in filling the tank of our '63 Plymouth (a great car).

This is another photo from my lifelong documentation of my family. You can do the same. More to come. 

Blog Note: I'm sorry to have missed Monday's post. Louise had back surgery on Thursday, came home on Saturday, and I had a wedding to photograph on Sunday. Probably my last, as Cayce Callaway, the photographer with whom I've worked since 2013, has moved away from Atlanta and is winding down her involvement in weddings, and we hope soon to be traveling in our RV. I'm not sure how many weddings I've photographed -- somewhere over 300, I'm sure. The first one was in 1972, I think. 

Photograph and text 1969-2021 David B. Jenkins

I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone 

Tags: photography, film photography, cameras, Dave Jenkins, David B. Jenkins, wedding photography, family photography, Yashica 124 twin-lens reflex, Kodak  film


Friday, April 23, 2021

Busy Days

Louise and Donny in our yard in Miami, 1969 

Yashica 124 twin-lens reflex camera, Kodak Vericolor film


These are busy days. We were up early this morning to get Louise to the hospital for surgery to fuse vertebrae in her lower back. Apparently a busy day at the hospital too, as they finally got her into the operating room around 3 p.m. The surgeon says everything went very well, but Louise is in considerable pain this evening, more than she suffered from her neck surgery in early March. Once she recuperates we hope to hook up our RV and get on with our lives. 

Meanwhile, we're preparing for that time. We got our truck two weeks ago; a 2018 Dodge Ram 3500 diesel with dual rear wheels. Even if we get a larger trailer sometime in the future, we won't need a larger truck. This one's a Beast! A few days ago I got a fifth-wheel trailer hitch -- a most impressive chunk of iron. 

Sunday I have a wedding to photograph. Not really good timing, but this one has been on the books for more than a year and I wouldn't want to miss it, even though I'm only the second shooter. In fact, I haven't booked a wedding on my own since 2008 or '09, but I enjoy doing them and have enjoyed working with Cayce Callaway of Atlanta, a vey fine photographer, since 2013. So I'm busy charging batteries, checking my gear, etc. Busywork, but necessary and enjoyable. 

Besides, how many almost-84-year-old wedding photographers do you know? My philosophy is, if you want to do something, if you're able to do it, and there's no good reason not to do it, then by all means do it! Think young. Thinking old will kill you!

The photo at the top of this post is a teaser for something I'm going to talk about soon -- documenting your family.

Photograph and text 1969-2021 David B. Jenkins

I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.

Soli Gloria Deo

For the glory of God alone

Tags: photography, film photography, cameras, Dave Jenkins, David B. Jenkins, Dodge Ram trucks, wedding photography, Yashica 124 twin-lens reflex, Kodak Vericolor film