Introduction: Who is this guy?

Hello! I’ve started this blog to share my photography with family, friends, and anyone else who would like to take a look. I have been documenting the world around me ever since my father first handed me a camera to take a few shots of a parade in Baltimore. He was a photographer when I was little, so it must be in my DNA. The camera was a Brownie and as a kid I didn’t know about the slow shutter speed. As a result, my shots of parade entries turned out blurry, but the storefronts across the street were in focus.

I had better luck with his 35mm camera when I took some shots from Federal Hill, also in Baltimore. We were there for the launching of the schooner Pride of Baltimore in February of 1977. He told me to shoot other things because he had already photographed the boat. I photographed scenes around the Inner Harbor, including the submarine U.S.S. Torsk and ships in the industrial area.

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This is a vew east of Federal Hill. The iconic Domino Sugar plant is in the background.

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The U.S.S. Constellation. It was the last sail-power-only ship built by the U.S. Navy. It was given a major renovation in the 1990’s. I visited it once on a school trip.

Later this same year I was given my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic 110. One of the first photos taken with the camera was a shot of me, holding another birthday gift. I still have some of the negatives and many of the original prints which came from the negatives. As a teenager I didn’t treat them well. They were stuffed into a paper envelope for decades. The film used was grainy enough already so I’ll warn you in advance that the posted shots from the negatives and prints are going to look a little rough! These may be scans of the prints rather than the negatives. I shot color film in the camera as well.

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We attended some of the hyrdoplane races on the Susquehanna River. These are shots from the pits. The boats in the racing shots are too far away to be worth showing. I don’t know how many times we went to the races so I’ll give this one a rough date of summer 1978 or 1979. Note the guy with the dude hair and the cutoff shorts.

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Folks who are familiar with my body of work, know that rural landscapes figure prominently in my portfolio. This series of shots from an abandoned and burned dairy farm may be the ones that started it all. I was already interested in old cars and developing an interest in antiques, and found both here. The car on this site was upside-down hulk, covered in vines and weeds, which I never identified. You can see the older subdivision in the background which was built on the former pastures. The other two shots show stall dividers and a watering bowl. The bowl shot is one of my all time favorites.

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This is another one of my all-time favorites for the mood of the scene. It was shot through the kitchen window of our second apartment in this complex. The parking lot was open to the west and you can see that the snow and the wind came in from that direction.

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Now where would a child of the 1970’s be without his “Star Wars poster on the bedroom door,” as mentioned in the lyrics of an Everclear song?

My next camera was a Polaroid One Step, received two or three years later. We were now living in a 200-year-old farmhouse, farther out in rural Harford County, Maryland. The house was bounded by a park on two sides and by a cornfield along one side which wrapped partly around the front. It was a beautiful location offering a great open view of the sky to the south. Develpment hadn’t yet reached that far out into the country. Today the park part of the first shot is still park, but there is development in the background where you see the tilled field. The point of all that is to say I loved exploring the open land and wondering what was just beyond my horizons.

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Our Tenessee Tidewater Walker hound, Brutus, poses regally in the back yard.

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Here is Brutus again, on my bed, his nap interrupted. At this time I began to experiment with the camera, in this case using the limited exposure control to darken the surroundings.

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Here we go with the Star Wars thing again. I was trying the underexposure background blackout, but didn’t notice that my blanket was reflecting light onto my brother’s hand and face. He was holding a coathanger which I had fastened to the bottom of a model of an X-wing fighter.

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I can see that I was thinking about lighting back then, but when my mother saw this shot she said something like “That film isn’t cheap.”

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I’m not sure where I got the idea for this shot. I think I put the mirror on top of one of my speakers, which I had placed on a hall table. We only lived in this house for about a year and then we moved one more time, farther out into the country into a little valley along Deer Creek. There I was given a Pentax ME Super 35mm camera kit, and things really took off.

I’ve only presented a few examples of my earliest works with a camera, to share how I got my start, and to mention some of my earliest influences. I’ll still visit the vault from time to time, if I get a good scan of a negative or print. I’ll put together a post with some creative, early 35mm shots and then I’ll come “back to the future”  with more current work, such as the image in the blog’s header.

In the mean time, my stomach is telling me it’s time for dinner!

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~ by mikespixels on January 6, 2013.

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