Selfies Anonymous

KLS reflection in print dryerHi, I’m Ken, and I’ve shot selfies. It has been approximately 3-1/2 months since my last selfie.

I offer up that confession because I’ve made fun of folks who shoot them, most recently at an Ohio University football game I covered last fall. Then, while looking for a photo, I started realizing how many self-portraits I had taken over the years. I have been in serious denial.

One of the earliest I could find was my reflection on the photo print dryer in the Central High School darkroom. The dryer’s shiny metal plates that imparted a glossy surface on the print when it dried served as a great curved mirror..

Not my Budweiser towel

Ken Steinhoff in Ohio Univesity Scott Quad dorm room fall of 1967Early on in one of my Ohio University photo classes, we had to take some self-portraits. This was my reflection in a mirror in the Scott Quadrangle dorm room I shared with two freshmen. The Bud towel belonged to one of them. It was what passed for decoration in what was primarily a freshman dorm.

I’m shooting it with a Mamyia C33 twin lens reflex I bought used from Nowell’s Camera Shop. A serviceman coming back from Vietnam sold it and three lenses for $300. I hated the square format, but 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 was required for at least one of my classes. I sold it as quickly as I could.

Always hiding behind camera

Ken Steinhoff self-portrait 03-07-1968There’s a common theme in most of these photos: I’m almost always hiding behind a camera. This was shot March 7, 1968.

Let’s climb on a rooftop

Ken Steinhoff self-portrait Athens OH 03-07-1968This was taken right after the precvious shot. I figured anybody could take a photo on the ground, so I climbed on top of the Beckley building in uptown Athens to get this portrait with the county courthouse in the background. If you can’t make it good, at least make it unusual. I used that vantage point a lot over the next several years.

The long arm of the photographer

Ken Steinhoff Athens Messenger Photo Lab 10-24-1968This looks more like today’s selfie. My arm must have been longer in those days because I have trouble shooting them today. I know the lens was wider in 1968 and I’m wider in 2014, so the combination of those things may make it tougher. This was shot in the photo lab at The Athens Messenger.

Note the psychedelic poster on the wall. That, like the Bud towel, wasn’t my decoration. I’ll blame Bob Rogers or Jon Webb for it.

Multiple light assignment

Ken - Lila Steinhoff - Bob Rogers apt 11-14-1968 7Lots of photo class assignments were finger exercises to teach us technique. Most of them were intended to be shot in a studio, but I was lousy at studio lighting and I thought it was boring, so I’d work outside the box. I’m sure some of the instructors weren’t happy with the way I bent the rules, but they couldn’t kick the image back because I hadn’t exactly broken them.

This shot was taken in Bob Rogers’ basement apartment on November 14, 1968. (That’s Bob in the foreground.) In the pre-digital days, you didn’t know immediately if you got the shot or not, so you shot multiple exposures to hedge your bets. This picture had three or more lights that had to be balanced, so it took lots of exposures with Bob and Wife Lila being very patient. In this shot, I’m going out to assure her that we are almost done.

Trying something new

Ken Steinhoff  Basketball 12-14-1968When you cover as many high school and college ball games as Bob and I did, you start looking for something different. One night we decided to go as far in as different photographic directions as possible: I set up a camera with a wideangle fisheye lens, and he shot with a 500mm telephoto. So far as I know, that was the ONLY time we ever tried that.

John J. Lopinot was the triggerman

Ken Steinhoff - John J Lopinot in Biltmore in PB c 1977This may not technically qualify as a selfie because my finger’s not on the trigger (or self-timer.) Chief photographer John J. Lopinot and I went on a tour of Palm Beach’s Roaring ’20s Biltmore Hotel when it looked like it might be torn down. (It’s been converted into upscale condo apartments, thankfully.)

We spotted a mirror in the hallway and Lopi took the shot. I like the interesting juxtaposition of the man on the right who shows up twice and the woman giving us the strange look.

My shot from the Biltmore

Ken Steinhoff in Biltmore Hotel c 1977We came upon another mirror later in the walk and I took a solo portrait. I’m shooting with a 24mm wideangle lens and am carrying bodies with 105mm and 200mm lenses.

I loved curved mirrors

Altenburg Foods 07-18-2011I was always a sucker for curved mirrors. I’ve taken some I like better but couldn’t lay my fingers on them at 2 in the morning. This mirror is in the Altenburg Foods grocery store that closed for good shortly after I photographed it.

Barbershop when I had hair

10-24-2011This was taken in what used to be Ed Unger’s Stylerite Barber Shop on Sprigg Street. I used to get my hair cut there when I still had some to cut.

Departure selfies

Mary Steinhoff Ken Steinhoff 11-25-2013Since I’m usually leaving Cape by myself, I’ve had to start resorting to selfies to get the departure shot with Mother. This is the last one I took, and the one I mentioned in my confession above. It was taken November 25, 2013. To see some of the others, you’ll have to go to the gallery below. I need longer arms or a wider lens.

Ken’s photo gallery

Here’s a gallery of me getting older and grayer in my self-portraits. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery. Now that I am out of denial, I’ll refrain from making fun of other folks who take pictures of themselves.

Fort Defiance Fun

Jessica Cyders Fort Defiance 10-30-2013_9601I always take visitors to see Fort Defiance, the southernmost tip of Illinois, where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers meet. Wednesday was Curator Jessica’s turn. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

You have to wade

Jessica Cyders - Princeton KY 10-28-2013_9493I should have known better than to say, “You have to wade in the water so you can say you straddled two great American rivers,” because I said something like that when we were looking at a spring in Princeton, Ky.

The next thing I knew, she was splashing and frolicking, much to the amusement of some pre-teens who were watching from a bridge.

Shuckin’ off the boots

Jessica Cyders Fort Defiance 10-30-2013_9603After not more than a moment’s hesitation, she started shucking off her boots.

Is this REALLY a good idea?

Jessica Cyders Fort Defiance 10-30-2013_9611This is her “Is this REALLY a good idea?” look. To be honest, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know how quickly the bottom fell off or what might be lurking under the muddy waters.

I don’t think you’re in both rivers

Jessica Cyders Fort Defiance 10-30-2013_9614“You need to spread out,” I told her. “I don’t think you’re actually in both rivers.” About that time, a wave from a passing towboat started rolling ashore.

She kept her balance, but I guess a splash wouldn’t have been too bad. Jessica kept saying on the trip that she really likes New Orleans. If the 300-foot rope I carry in the car turned out to be short, I calculated she would be passing the Big Easy in a week or so.

Headed to St. Louis

I have to put her on a plane in St. Louis back to Ohio on November 4. We’ll go up a day early so she can meet Brother Mark, Robin and Friend Shari and do some sightseeing.

I promised I’d bring along some alcohol wipes to clean off an area of the stainless steel Gateway Arch so she could lick it, something that all first-time visitors are supposed to do.

Meet her at First Friday

She and I will be at Annie Laurie’s on Broadway on First Friday, November 1. I’ll have Snapshots of Cape Girardeau calendars and the Smelterville book with me. Laurie says she’ll have cookies and hot cider.

Maybe you can help me come up with other quaint Missouri customs like arch-licking that I can share with our Ohio visitor. I’ve found that she is willing to try just about anything once.

Other Fort Defiance photos

 

 

 

 

 

Al Knowles: Mississippi Traveler

Al Knowles, Mississippi River travelerAl Knowles was another of those folks who put into Cape Girardeau on their float down the Mississippi River.

I KNOW I wrote a story about him and I’m pretty sure this is the photo that ran on the front page of The Missourian. I can’t find the clip, though, and this is one of the Google black holes. Even my Shy Reader friend, who can find ANYTHING came up blank.

Are these the fuel docks?

Al Knowles, Mississippi River travelerI don’t recall anywhere along the riverfront having rubber tire bumpers, so I bet Al pulled into the fuel docks to the north end of Cape. The little object at the top left might have been the sand facility. Ideas?

A laundromat stop

Al Knowles, Mississippi River travelerThere’s a pretty good chance I gave him a ride to a place where he could clean his clothes. I can’t think of any place right on the river where he could have done a wash.

People you meet along the way

Al Knowles, Mississippi River travelerI don’t know who these two men are, but it looks like they’ve earned an entry in Al’s journal.

As a cub reporter who got stuck with the Huck Finn beat, I met lots of interesting people. Now that I think about it, here are several I’ve written about.

 

Another Valentine’s Day

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970When I was living in Cape, I was a sucker for whatever new toy Nowell’s Camera would get in. I thought this half-frame camera was kind of neat. It was called a half-frame because it took two photos on a normal 35-mm frame of film.

The good news is that you got twice as many photos per roll as a normal 35mm camera; the bad news is that you also got half the quality. Because of that, I hardly ever used it. If I was going to shoot something I cared about, I’d just as soon use a “real” camera.

Still, it was good for goofing around with. Based on other photos taken when my muttonchops were in that state of growth, I’d say this picnic was about 1970ish. It was chilly enough that I was wearing an old corduroy jacket I picked up at a charity sale held every year when the students left stuff behind in the dorms. It wasn’t all that warm, but I wore it everywhere.

Wife Lila is cute as bug

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970She’s warm enough in her sweater that she can leave her jacket open. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Fishing for fun, not food

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970

Buddy, boss and fellow Athens Messenger photographer Bob Rogers lived out in the country (you didn’t have to go very far out of Athens proper to be in the country) in a house with a pond in the back. I’d keep my fishing equipment on his porch and sneak off on a slow day to see if anything was biting. I’d park close enough to the pond to hear the police calls on my scanner so I could pretend to be working. If I got lucky, I’d leave the string in the water and a note telling Bob he was having fish for supper. This looks too big to have been Bob’s pond.

I’m wearing a pair of  “fur”-like lined boots that I probably bought for all of  about $12. I doubt that any sheep or other animals were harmed in the making of the footwear lining. They WERE warm and relatively waterproof. I wore them until the smell was so bad that flowers would wilt when I walked by. Plastic flowers.

How do you recycle something like that? Easy, I gave them to Brother David, who wore them for who knows how many years out in Oklahoma. If I ever read some scientific study that attributes Oklahomans’  lack of smell sensitivity to some kind of genetic anomaly, I’m going to have to speak up and tell ’em about David and my boots.

Beagle bait

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970If there’s a beagle anywhere within miles of Wife Lila, they’ll make a beeline for her.

Don’t know what we had

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970I tried to blow up the picture to see what we had on our picnic, but I couldn’t make out much. It looks like we had a glass bottle containing some kind of soft drink. I suspect that the beagle wound up with as much of our lunch as we did.

Best of cars, worst of cars

Ken and Lila Steinhoff picnic somewhere in Southern Ohio c 1970

I bought this 1969 Volkswagen Squareback before I even tried to drive a stick shift. Lila had the task of teaching me how to shift gears on Athens’ steep hills. It was a long time before I could get away from having to keep one hand on the wheel and one hand on the emergency brake when I got stopped at the top of a hill. I learned very quickly where Bill Cosby’s “Go Around, Idiot, Go Around” bit came from.

It was a lemon from the time I drove it brand-new off the dealer’s lot and had it run out of gas two blocks away. We took it on a trip to Mexico. Not far out of Athens, I started smelling gas. Stopped at a service station where I was told the gas line had come loose in the back of the car (where the engine lived). Got down the road a bit and smelled gas again. The gas line was pulled loose from the tank (which was in the front of the car). Somebody had skimped on the amount of hose they had installed.

Air-cooled engine wasn’t

One night coming back from Columbus, we stopped for one of the red lights in Logan. The tiny town might not have had much, but it had lots of traffic lights, all synched to make you stop for each one. Apparently the brakes had been adjusted too tightly and were dragging. So long as I was cranking at highway speeds, the wheels would turn. When I slowed down for the light, they locked up solid. We had to wait by the side of the road for about an hour until they cooled down enough to release.

The biggest and baddest defect was that the air louvers that were designed to blow air back through the air-cooled engine were installed backward, causing them to suck instead of blow. I ended up selling the car with the engine disassembled and dwelling in a cardboard box.

It was a fun car to drive, though, and it was a nice small stationwagon-type vehicle. Too bad it was mechanically unsound and poorly put together. I’ll never forget those VW heaters. They depending on engine revs to blow the hot air. If you were in fourth to make time, your engine was turning over too slowly to produce heat. If you dropped down to third for heat, then you were over-revving the engine. You had to accept the fact that your carpet would turn to ice in about November and stay frozen until after the spring thaw.

A Valentine’s Day apart

I’m in Missouri and she’s in Florida for this Valentine’s Day. That doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about her. In my mind, she’s still the pig-tailed girl on the picnic. Then I look in the mirror and think, “What’s that cute thing doing hanging out with an old coot?”