IN THE KITCHEN

Twice a week, I work early and work late. Leave before the light, before the pinks of sunrise silhouette the Indy skyline. I return after the light, after the orange haze of evening settles behind the horizon. On the lucky days I do leave early ("early" being a relative term), I come home to find my basement apartment aglow. Late afternoon sunlight shines through the tiny kitchen windows. It decorates the floor. It bounces and reflects, making the red ceiling redder, the yellow table yellower.

And, oh, that table. It's my favorite thing to see on those afternoons. Chrome. Vinyl. Mid-century. A wedding present from Hans's father and step-mother. Though the wedding is indefinitely posponed, the table still resides with us. (A thankful round of applause goes to Hans's brother, who hauled the set from Georgia to our apartment, some 500-some miles.)

The table isn't for everyone, no. It's old, perhaps outdated. But it's sturdy. It's welcoming. When my friends visit, we sit for breakfast, sipping coffee and sharing waffles. It's a conversation piece. A workspace on which to prepare food, sew ornaments, iron clothes, wrap presents.

It's not perfect. Atop one chair, the vinyl is cracked and peeling. There are some smudges along the table's "rim," most likely from moving one place to another, one kitchen to another. The table itself is etched with knife marks, scarred from cutting. It collects crumbs (or, rather, we forget to brush them away). It gets dirty. It's not perfect.

But on the afternoons when I walk in, look to my left, and see the golden hour of light, it could be.










Recipe for eggplant and mushroom sandwiches can be found here.

BLACK ACRE BREWING CO.

Black Acre Brewing Co. is located in Irvington, just a few miles from downtown Indy. The brewery itself is a small, three-barrel electric brewing system in which specialty and seasonal drinks are created. But inside, in the seating area, Black Acre is welcoming, cozy even. I'm a fan of the industrial, appropriately-themed lighting fixtures, and am ever-fascinated by the deconstructed pallets that line the ceiling. Overall, the decor is clean, the beer (and wines and ciders) tasty.

On Saturday, Black Acre celebrated its first anniversary by tapping special, one-time brews throughout the day. Since my Hans is an acquaintance (i.e. old fraternity brother) of one of the owners, we made sure to visit. We sampled some drinks and talked with old friends. (Or, rather, I was introduced to yet another old fraternity brother, whom Hans caught up with.) The establishment was certainly a jolly one; seats were full, people navigated through chatty, happy groups of people. Party hats. Top hats. Sunglasses shaped like stars. Quite the party.







Black Acre one of our favorites; I highly recommend visiting. Every Monday, there is a special on Indiana/local beers, as well as a food truck. (Once, we had delicious Indian food from Spice Box.) And, on Tuesdays, there's trivia night, of which the lovely Anna has photos.

ICE ICE BABY*

The winter storm that dumped upon my family in Iowa several inches of snow graced Indianapolis with a layer of ice. The weather rolled in yesterday evening, as I was finishing my late shift. The legislators, thankfully, chose to end the night without pushing additional motions. Thus, I left the office at 7:15, rather than 10:00 or 11:00. Sleet pelted my car as I coasted it two miles north, to my apartment. Streets were already slick, sidewalks coated. The all-night unfortunate weather resulted in a happy circumstance, however; I didn't have to be in the office until 11:00 this morning. After I learned of my late start, I texted a friend the good news.

"Drink up me hearties, yo ho!" was the reply.

I obliged, and so--after a glass of white wine and a round of Mario Party on the tried and true N64--I nestled into bed.

Making way into my car was remarkably easy; the door hinges were forgiving, not frozen. Scraping off the marbled ice, though, was altogether another task. A pretty one, though.







Remember the days when it wasn't necessary to "name" a winter storm?

* I will now have that terrible song stuck in my head for the rest of the evening.

REFURBISHED LC-A: TEST ROLL



Well, here are most of the photos from my first roll of film! As you may know or remember, I recently purchased a refurbished LC-A from Lomography. For months, I had debated between purchasing an LC-A or a Holga, but, in the end, I went for the subtle vignetting and finer grain. (The softer look of the Holga was a bit too blurred for my taste.)

However, I was unaware that Lomography sold various forms of the refurbished camera. The camera I received is an older Soviet model, one manufactured in 1987. Thus, it does not use ISO settings ... it uses GOST.

In film photography, ISO indicates how sensitive a film is to light. Lower numbers are less sensitive to light. In other words, a film with an ISO of 100 will need more time to be properly exposed, as compared to film with an ISO of 400. So when you hear someone talk about how "fast" a speed is, they are referring to ISO. Typical ISO settings are 100, 200, 400, 800, and so on. A refurbished LC-A has a range of 25-400. These settings allow you to purchase a film with a corresponding ISO. So, for example, you can pick up a roll of Kodak 200, set your camera to 200, and have your film be perfectly exposed.

My camera, however, uses the following GOST settings: 16-32-65-130-250.

See the problem? Most films are manufactured using ISO standards, not GOST standards. Thus, the film I purchased and wished to try does not exactly match the settings on my camera.

The general rule when it comes to using ISO film in a GOST camera is "use the highest ISO setting you can without going over the number of the film." So, for a 100 film, you'd use 65. For a 200 film, you'd use 130. A 400 film would use 250. Unfortunately, that typically overexposes the images.

I decided, with my test roll, to go outside and experiment. Instead of shooting 30-some photos, I chose to shoot 18--I would take a picture of a house with a setting of 130, then flip my camera to 250 and take a photo of the same house. I wanted to see, exactly, how over- and under-exposed the images would be. Below are my results; the images on the left side are ones shot at an ISO of 130. The ones on the right were taken at 250.


The yellow door, which I took specifically for Rhianne. Her beautiful and emotive photographs of England highly inspired me to pursue film photography. I'm not sure which of these I like better; I like the feel of the film on the right, but the bricks are more textured in the left.

The next few offer some dramatic differences.






The above photo is the back door to what used to be the Talbott Theater. It was striking, and it is now completely painted over, a muted, ugly ecru.

The photo below is of a building just across the street from me. The trees are tall, old, and are often host to a Hitchcockian amount of birds.


Here, I prefer the "underexposed" photo better. I think the shadows have more clarity, and that is what drew to these planters in the first place.



Can you tell the subtle differences in the photos below? I could not decide which ISO setting I preferred when it came to these things. Both the brick arch and the black-and-white-striped overhang were things I had been wanting to photograph. There truly are so many small architectural details in this neighborhood; I love them all--the ancient bricks, the moss, the ivy, the cracks in the sidewalk, the forgotten monuments, the dilapidated gates, the narrow alleyways, the gingerbread, the painted shingles.







The rest of these images were, to me, the winners of the lower-higher ISO test. Three were taken with the setting 250. (The red brick building was not.) Overall, even after staring at each image again and again, I found I could not find which I preferred--over or under. Low or high ISO. I'm practically split right down the middle for what I like, and I think it's going to be awhile before I "finalize" my preferences.

Lots of trial and error, as always.


Which do you prefer? The darker (higher ISO) ones? Or the brighter (lower ISO) ones? Do you have a film camera?

DISPOSABLE CAMERA SWAP #1


Back in November, I signed up to participate in a disposable camera swap with Shannah from Shannah Renee. She's a crafty individual who is highly interested in sending and receiving mail. I was looking forward to developing my disposable, but it took me far longer to finish the roll than I had hoped originally. (Since I work six days a week, and am not typically away from my desk until after dark, I had a hard time getting outside and exploring.) I was finally able to drop off my film an embarrassing two months later. And when I finally went to pick it back up, I was ... disappointed.

Somehow, somewhere or another, light had gotten in and affected the film. All of my photos are blurred and spotted and "fogged." The right-hand side of each image appears smeared. Other images look as if they have been burned. I do not know what happened.

However, enough of them turned out for me to be reasonably satisfied. And, really, one of my favorites is one of the most damaged ones.

You just never know with film. That's the thrill of it.
















In case you're wondering, the red/pink hue is of my own doing: I colored both the lens and the flash with a Sharpie before I began taking photos.
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