Saturday, October 30, 2021

Food Overload: Farmer's Market, Olympia, Washington

Oh oh, no urban decay this time, just a quick view of real food at the Farmer's Market in Olympia, Washington. Long-term readers know I can't resist exploring markets. The one in Olympia is full of locally-sourced and fresh fruits and vegetables. Enjoy and salivate.

The fruits and berries are just superb, but you know this already.

The legumes and root vegetables are just as good and tasty as the fruits. I wonder if these excellent produce items partly account for the better health of Northwest residents (and lesser volume) compared to those of the US South? Or is it the other way around? Northwesterners demand better produce, and farmers supply it. 

Want a variety of peppers of different heat indices? Go for it.

Fruit preserves, hand-crafted soaps? Plenty to select.

You are expected to behave in a civilized manner here. It is a pity that at least a third of the population in USA now needs rules of common etiquette like this. 

After your shopping basket is groaning under the weight of fruits and veggies, stop at Batdorf & Bronson for a supreme espresso. Highway 61 Coffeehouse in Vicksburg sources its coffee from this company.

I have photographed other farmer's markets before. They are so much fun. Click a link to see:

The Olympia scenes are digital files from a Fuji X-E1 digital camera.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Last Time Ever: 135-size Kodak Panatomic-X (Abandoned Films 05b)

Dear readers, this is it, the last time for 135 size Kodak Panatomic-X film. I exposed my last roll in and around Vicksburg and will likely never use any again (although I still am using 120 format rolls for medium format cameras). The Panatomic-X from eBay sellers is usually older than the rolls I used, and they almost never have information on how it was stored. Here are some examples from this last roll of the famous Panatomic-X. I exposed it at exposure index (EI) = 20 and sent it to Northeast Photographic in Bath, Maine, to develop.

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Cherry Street bridge, Feb. 16, 2021 (Jupiter-8 lens, yellow filter, 1/30 ƒ/8)

This was one of our two unusual snowfalls in February.

Kroger supermarket, Pemberton Blvd. (Leitz 5 cm ƒ/2 Summitar lens, deep yellow filter, 1/100 ƒ/4)

This is the site of the short-lived K-Mart store, which was poorly run and seldom had customers. This is a new building because the Kroger company tore down the K-Mart structure.

Pemberton Blvd., Vicksburg (Leitz 5cm ƒ/2 Summitar lens, deep yellow filter)
Parking lot north of Bunge terminal, Levee Street, Vicksburg (Summitar lens, ½ sec ƒ/11.5)

Kansas City Southern rail yard, Levee Street (Leitz Summitar lens)
"America" moored at the Vicksburg Waterfront, view down Grove Street (Leitz Summitar lens)
Kansas City Southern rail yard, Levee Street (Jupiter-8 lens, yellow filter, 1/20 ƒ/11)

Port of Vicksburg

Vicksburg Forest Products (formerly Anderson-Tully)
Vicksburg Forest Products, view north (Jupiter-8 lens, deep yellow filter)
Ergon Bio-fuels, Haining Road (Summitar lens)
DTE PetCoke company, 745 Industrial Drive

DTE is at the north end of Industrial Drive. I often bike there, and one of the ladies who works at DTE has given me bottles of chilled water on hot days. DTE stores and handles pulverized petroleum coke.

Falco Lime from Port Terminal Circle (Leitz Summitar, 1/60 ƒ/5.6)


Port of Lake Providence, Louisiana (Jupiter-8 lens, deep yellow filter)
Former cotton gin, Tallulah
Barn on Rte 602 near Tallulah (Jupiter-8 lens)
Po-Boy Don's, Louisiana Rte. 602 near Tallulah


This ends my Expired Film Treasures (Films from the Dead) series as it pertains to 35mm size. This has been a fun exploration, but I want to concentrate on contemporary films and stop experimenting. 

  • Panatomic-X was a beautiful film and very characteristic of the 20th century black and white aesthetic. 
  • The last two rolls of Panatomic-X that I used were more grainy than I remember. Possibly this is a result of development, but more likely it is a result of the film being 30 years old.
  • Today, Fuji Acros, Ilford Delta 100, and Kodak TMax 100 have a higher and more convenient film speed. They are finer grain and higher resolution, as well, showing the benefits of several decades of photo-chemical research and development. 
  • Once you scan film and display it on the web, honestly, it is hard to distinguish different types of black and white film.
  • Some of my pictures had out-of-focus areas. There may be a lens alignment problem with my Leica IIIC, and I sent it to DAG camera for a check-up. (Update: the camera is back and I need to test it.)
  • I recommend that you do not seek out Panatomic-X film unless you can be sure that the rolls have been frozen all the years. Even then, having been discontinued about 1991 or 1992, it is bordering on being too old, although some bloggers say it has almost indefinite keeping properties.

Thank you for reading. Keep exploring your world and take pictures of things, people, or scenes that move you.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Southern Utah Road Trip - the Road West

Good-bye to Moab: La Sal Mountains (Manti-La Sal National Forest)

Long-term readers may recall that I took a long western USA road trip in 2016. I started in Redlands, California, where I imposed on my daughter and borrowed her station wagon for this trip (over 3,500 miles total). I followed Route 66 eastward as far as Albuquerque and Santa Fe and then joined friends in Moab. I wrote about Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, the Syncline Loop in Canyonlands, and the Volkswagen disposal yard/museum. After two weeks of hiking, good food, and fine companionship, I headed west and returned to California. 

This article will continue the road trip back to southern California through Utah and Nevada. 

Southern Utah is a wonderland of geology, spectacular vistas, mountains, and long miles between towns. Signs on I-70 warn you, "No services for the next xxx miles." Be sure you have plenty of fuel in your car as well as emergency supplies. 

Dawn on the Green River, Green River, Utah (2019 Tri-X photograph)
Fremont River, Capitol Reef National Park (2019 Tri-X photograph, Hasselblad camera)

For the first day, I drove west on I-70 and then on Utah 24 to Capitol Reef National Park, a fabulous location. Driving at 90 miles per hour at 7,000+ feet elevation pushed the little engine. After some hiking and a night near Capitol, I said good-bye to my friends and headed south on Utah's Hwy. 12 through the Dixie National Forest.

Dixie National Forest, Utah Rte. 12, approx. 9,000 ft elevation

Utah's Scenic Byway 12 is a fantastic drive. My car's little 5-cylinder engine worked hard at 9,000 ft elevation as I crossed a ridge in the Dixie National Forest. 

Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument

Byway 12 then drops down into the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument. This is one of the nation's phenomenal visual treats, a remote landscape covering 1,880,000 acres where dinosaurs roamed and Native Americans drew art on rock faces. President Clinton designated this region as a national monument in 1996 to preserve cultural and scenic resources. The Trump administration reduced the area of the monument by over a half in a scummy attempt to spur a mining and coal boom, although the Utah Geological Survey concluded that the prospects of profitable minerals, tar sands, coal, oil, and gas were very limited (essentially non-existent). On October 8, 2021, President Biden restored the original boundaries of the monument.

The little town of Escalante, in the Potato Valley, is a center for recreation. Route 12 passes right through town, and it is one of the few locations to buy some food or gasoline. The Peoples Exchange on 115 North Center Street is an early-20th century general merchandise store. The building may house occasional art exhibits.

Too pooped on Main Street, Cannonville, Utah

Keep driving west on 12 and you reach Cannonville. It's tiny, with not much there. But turn south on Kodachrome Road and head south through a rugged landscape to Kodachrome Basin State Park.

Kodachrome Road, Utah
Near Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park is a wonderland of rock spires and canyons revealing 180 million years of geological history. In 1948, a National Geographic Society expedition gave the name Kodachrome to this area after the popular color film.

I returned to Rte. 12 and then went south on 63 to Bryce Canyon National Park. What an amazing terrain of rock pinnacles and spires.  Beware, it is crowded during the peak tourist season.

Route 9, the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway
Court of the Patriarchs (sandstone monoliths), Zion National Park

Continuing west, I drove on the historic Zion-Mount Carmel Highway into Zion National Park. CCC workers in the 1930s cut many of the tunnels along this twisty mountain road. The park is another geological wonder, very popular with international tourists. If you want to visit the main canyon, you must park in one of several lots near the entrance and take a shuttle bus. I took the bus up into the canyon and walked much of the way back to the parking lot. I stayed in the nearby town of Springdale in a funny little cabin, like a remnant of an old-fashioned motor court.

"I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the desert...." 
The Mad Greek, Baker Blvd., Baker, California

Heading west out of Zion, the next stop is the city of Las Vegas. I had not been there before and was singularly unimpressed. Much of the city is dumpy and dirty but may have some decent urban decay topics. However, I needed a restroom and used a very elegant one at a casino. And they gave me some iced sparkling water. 

Continuing southwest out of Las Vegas on I-15, the terrain is rather dull desert. But stop! Quick, take the exit at Baker. There are Greeks in the desert! And they will serve you Greek coffee and baklava or a giant sandwich. Ahhh...

I have written before about some of the remnants of Route 66 in eastern California (click the links):

This ended my 2016 road trip. I can't wait to head out west again.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Ultimate and Massive Urban Decay: Angkor, Cambodia (Part 2)

Angkor Wat

The monumental temple of Angkor Wat is huge in every possible dimension. The central towers were taller than the steeples of Notre Dame. Angkor Wat defies the imagination. How did they build this? How did the emperors pay for it? How much of the city-state's annual GDP went to construction and maintenance? From Wikipedia,

Angkor Wat (/ˌæŋkɔːr ˈwɒt/; Khmer: អង្គរវត្ត, lit. 'temple city / city of temples', located in northwest Cambodia, is the largest religious structure (temple complex) in the world by land area, measuring 162.6 hectares (401+3⁄4 acres). At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of four towers surrounding a central spire that rises to a height of 65 m (213 ft) above the ground. The temple has three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. It lies within an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2+1⁄4 miles) long and a moat more than five kilometres (three miles) long.

The temple was built at the behest of Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura (យសោធរបុរៈ, present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as the state temple for the empire. Originally constructed as a personal mausoleum for Suryavarman, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu in the early 12th century, it was converted to a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.

Moat at Angkor Wat
Monumental guard lions at Angkor Wat. Do these look like Egyptian sculptures?

The carved lions guarded the monumental entryways. It is not hard to understand how the regal lion was used as a symbol of royalty and power from Egypt to Mesopotamia to Angkor to China.  

Celestial dancers, second level gallery

Thousands of these bas relief maidens line the halls. Every one is individual, but the feet are always sideways. According to the excellent and readable description of Angkor Was in tourismcambodia,

The starkness of the exterior of the second level gallery is offset by the decoration of the interior. Over 1,500 Apsaras (celestial dancers) line the walls of the gallery offering endless visual and spiritual enchantment. These graceful and beautiful females delight all visitors. They were crated by the Churning of the Ocean of Milk.

When one first walks into the courtyard the multitude of female figures on the walls and in the niches may seem repetitive but as one moves closer and looks carefully one sees that every one of these celestial nymphs is different, the elaborate coiffures, headdresses and jewellery befit, yet never overpower, these 'ethereal inhabitants of the heavens' Apsaras appear at Angkor Wat for the first time in twos and threes. These groups break with the traditional of decoration kin other part of the temple by standing with arms linked in coquettish postures and always in frontal view except for the feet, which appear in profile.

Note the amazing snake motif hairstyles. Also note that the big toe on the left foot is raised. I wonder what the symbolism is for the toe?

Waiting for the selfie, Angkor Wat
le coq sportif and the Celestial Dancers
Ah, the contemporary lovelies. But the big toes are not pointing up. And the hair is a bit boring.

Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the main urban area south of the temple complexes and is the location for most (or all ) hotels. It has an international airport to support the tourist trade.

Wait a minute. There is a temple with a pool in Siem Reap? Oh, no, this is just the Sokha Angkor Resort. It looks like the Cambodians still believe in monumental architecture. 

Dorky Americans in Siam Reap
Typical lunch

Extensive breakfast buffets, attentive and utterly polite staff, immaculate cleanliness - this is the life. Many of the other hotels in Siem are similarly spectacular. They put to shame what we call "luxury" hotels here in USA, let alone the quality of the cuisine.

The black and white scenes are digital images from an Olympus E-330 4/3 camera. I applied a pseudo Ektachrome simulation using DxO 5 software, which created the subtle selenium/purple tone.