SE Hospital at Night

Southeast Hospital at night from Capaha Park 11-16-2011The way hospitals in Cape gobble up everything around them and grow new buildings like dandelions, this November 16, 2011, photo of Southeast Missouri Hospital may be outdated. It must have been chilly enough that nobody is sitting on the Capaha Park Lagoon park bench.

For photo geeks, it was taken with Nikon D40. The lens was zoomed to 32mm and the exposure was 1/2 second at f/4.5. The ISO was 1600. If I shoot it again, I’ll use my Nikon D7000 and see if HDR will give me a wider range of tones.

1965 CHS Home Economics

Shirley Poorman - Joyce Mae Sanders - CHS Home Ec 1965Home ec teachers Shirley Poorman and Joyce Mae Sander stand by one of Central’s warshing machines. Well, that’s the way Bill Hopkins and I pronounced “washing machine ” before debate coach Ruby Davis started twisting our ears off.

This is the photo that ran in the 1965 Girardot yearbook. You can click on the photos to make them larger, but that’ll just blow up the dust spots.

Lots of dust spots on this frame

Shirley Poorman - Joyce Mae Sanders - CHS Home Ec 1965From the way the shadows are falling in this photo, I must have had my flash bolted to the left side of the camera when I tilted the camera vertically, causing the light to come from below the subject. It doesn’t hurt too much here, but if it had been a little more extreme, it would have been like the horror effect you’d get by sticking a flashlight under your chin on camping trips.

If I had warshed the film a little better, it would have had fewer spots. OUCH! OK, Ruby WASHED. (That woman sure has a long reach.)

Pine Cone Magic

Fireplace 11-20-2013It’s been a warm October and November, but we’ve had about a dozen days so far that called for a fire in the fireplace. Tonight, possibly the last night I’ll be in Cape until the spring, is one of those nights. Weatherbug reports it is 25, headed to an overnight low of 18. I didn’t bother to look at the windchill numbers. When your nose hairs freeze, windchill is a non-factor.

I noticed that Brother Mark had a box of pine cones dipped in wax in a box near the fireplace, so I tried one of them as a fire starter. It burned like a champ. (Click on the photos to make them larger. They might make you feel warmer if you live up north. Plus, they’re kinda pretty.)

I’m cheap and lazy

Fireplace 11-20-2013I knew the wax would enhance the burn quality of the cones, but I didn’t want to go to the trouble and expense of buying, melting and spilling the wax, so I thought I’d see how well plain ones would work.

Mother and I cruised around until we saw some pine cones sitting on the ground under a tree in a park in Jackson.

They followed us home.

It was amazing at how easily they caught fire. (Something that you might want to think about if you have pine trees that have dropped a bunch of cones around your house.)

Just the touch of a match

Fireplace 11-20-2013All it took was the touch of a match to get the cones to burst into flame.

A thing of beauty

Fireplace 11-20-2013I was watching one just as the flames were dying down and the cone was a mass of glowing red. I dashed across the room for my camera, but it was one of those things that was perfect just for an instant.

That’s when I threw some of these cones into the fireplace trying to duplicate what I had seen seconds before. Didn’t work: the magic had all leaked out. Some of these are nice, but not close to what that first one looked like.

How to start a fire

  • Fireplace 11-20-2013I found the fastest way to start a fire with these was to wrap half a dozen in a couple of sheets of loosely twisted newspaper. (See, newspapers ARE still good for something.)
  • Put a few sticks or other light kindling on top of the newspaper.
  • Light and run away (That last part is for fireworks; you don’t have to run away.)
  • If you feel lucky, you could go ahead an put a log on top of the kindling when you light it, but I usually like to see that it’s going to take off first.

 Oh, my aching back

Fireplace 11-20-2013I got smart before we went on our next pine cone mission: I stopped at a local hardware store and picked up something similar to this aluminum reacher and grabber gizmo. (Buy it from this link and I’ll make a couple of pennies. Or, go to just about any hardware store and get it for about the same price.) It’s not a high precision piece of equipment and it’s not going to last forever if you pick up heavy stuff (or give it to your grandkid to play with), but Wife Lila and Mother have found it useful.

It does an excellent job of snagging pine cones.

Photo geekery

I was going to give you all kinds of information about exposures, but they were all over the place. The only constant was that I underexposed them by two stops from what the camera said was normal.

The camera looked at all the dark areas in the photo (most of which I cropped out) and said, “I want to make those areas lighter.”

I wanted the shadows to go dark, which also brought out the rich colors in the flames, so I told the camera to give it much less light than it thought it should in the theoretical world. Is there a scientific way to calculate the right exposure for something like this? Probably, but I just guessed, looked at the image, liked it, and kept shooting.

It’s a shame about the magic leaking out, though. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that first cone was the prettiest.

A Winter Photo Tip

SEMO swim meet 12-10-1966

Cape had gotten about four inches of rain over the past few days, but a cold front moved through, dropping the temps down into the mid-teens and low 20s. That sets the stage for my assignment to cover a swim meet in the basement of Academic Hall on December 10, 1966.

My equipment had been sitting in the car for most of the day, so it was at the same temperature as the air, let’s say 20 degrees. I walked into the heated air of an indoor swimming pool where the humidity approached 100%. The first thing that happened was that the lenses fogged over with condensation. It took almost half an hour before the equipment warmed up enough that I could SEE through the lens.

Camera froze up

SEMO swim meet 12-10-1966After about six shots, the camera locked up hard. It wouldn’t fire; it wouldn’t advance; it was dead. I gambled that I had at least one usable shot and headed for Nowell’s Camera Shop. (The first shot above ran in the paper, so I got my $5.) (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Mr. Nowell opened it up and said that there was as much condensation INSIDE the camera as there had been on the outside of the lenses. All that moisture turned the dust inside the camera into mud.

I might have used that as an excuse to buy a new Honeywell Pentax body while he was fixing the frozen one.

Pool records, like my camera, were broken

You can read the whole story about the meet in The Missourian. It says that SEMO won the meet against Drury and Culvert-Stockton. The 400 medley relay team of Dave and Dan Ranson, Hal Bliggenstorfer and Dennis Lorch set a new varsity and pool record with a 4:24 time.

Arnold Moore set a varisty and pool record in the 100 freestyle with 13:40.6 and Charles Stevenson was timed in :29.4 in the 60 freestyle. Lorch also set a freshman, varsity and pool record in the 150 individual medley relay when he was clocked in 1:51.2.

Photo tip of the day

Your winter photo tip of the day: Do not leave your cameras out where it is cold, cold, cold, if you are going into somewhere that is hot and humid, humid and humid.