Black and White Project: Day Twelve

A New Lens, Rory Tyer Band

Living on a university campus in on-campus housing has its positives and negatives. The positives mostly revolved around it being incredibly convenient for me to go to class and to fulfill my responsibilities of the various positions I had on campus. Also, there’s a somewhat built-in community. The community is full of introverted academics, but its a community nonetheless. It did me well for the three years I was there.

When you live in an apartment on campus, it still kind of feels like a dormitory. We didn’t pay utilities, just rent. Even the internet was provided. The carpet is that really thin industrial kind that you’d find in a dorm room or office building. It just takes a lot of work to really make it feel homelike. Not to mention, the furniture we organized our stuff with is what you’d find in a dorm room: plastic containers, drawers, shelves. When we moved to our new place we wanted it to be more like a real home. It is our real home now. But it seems silly to set up plastic drawers from Target as our bedside tables. Makes it still kind of feel like a dorm room.

Furniture is expensive, though. And so after one trip to a store to buy very expensive furniture, I decided it was time to search out Craigslist for some good stuff. I found some great deals on a couple bedside tables, and the people lived right down the street from us. It was great. When you live in the city, Craigslist is a goldmine.

However, in the process I decided to search the words “lens” and “camera” and “Pentax.” That was very dangerous. I found that there were a lot of people selling their old film Pentax cameras. Not many people have use for those anymore. I mean, I don’t. Except for one thing: lenses. All of Pentax’s lenses, stretching back decades still fit their cameras today. Sure the lenses were all manual focus, and not many people like having to deal with that, but they were some quality lenses. So here people are selling these film cameras for dirt cheap and they’re selling all their lenses and equipment with them. The lenses are great quality lenses, and so I decided to contact a couple people offering their cameras and lenses for quite reasonable prices. I made a quick trip up to Evanston to pick up a camera bag with the K1000, three lenses, two flashes, and the bag itself. Met another person at a train stop in Highland Park and got a great 50mm f1.7 lens with the Pentax ME Super.

Manual lenses may be a bit more work, but not that much more. And it’s great. I’m getting some great quality shots from especially the new f1.7 lens. I haven’t really done much with manual lenses in the past, so I decided to just keep it on my camera and practice with it a lot.

Recently my friend Rory Tyer has a band (Rory Tyer Band). They played at show at the Elbo Room in Chicago. It was the semi-finals of a Battle of the Bands that has been going on for a while now. The winner gets to play at the House of Blues in August, I believe. (They won first place at the semi-finals…)

By the way, you should check out Rory’s band. Their newest album is a free download. They’re also on Spotify – “Six Thousand Summers” is their newest album. If you live in the Chicago area, you should go hear them at the Elbo Room’s Battle of the Bands finals on July 27th.

Anyway, I took my camera and my new (old) lens with me to their last show and tried it out. I was happy with my results. Here are a few snapshots from the evening.

Rory Tyer Band

Rory Tyer Band

Rory Tyer Band

Black and White Project: Day Eleven

Distances.

It’s been a while, basically a month, since I last posted. I don’t really know why I have been labeling them in “days” when really they are just entries. But I still do plan to have a total of 30. I’ll get there eventually I suppose.

One of the reasons it has taken me a long time to post is because I recently moved into the city of Chicago. For the past four years I have lived in the northern suburbs of Chicago. People for some reason still called that living in Chicago, even though it can easily take an hour to an hour and a half to get into the city with medium traffic on the interstate. It would take an hour by Metra train. But that’s the key I think. People in the Chicagoland area assume that if you can hop on a train from where you’re at and it goes into the city proper you can say you live in Chicago. I mean, I told people that I lived in Chicago when asked. Not anyone from Chicago, though.

When I lived about a mile away from the city line of Indianapolis I used to feel really guilty when I told people I lived in Indianapolis. I didn’t live in Indianapolis, really. I lived in Greenwood. But no one knows where that is at unless they are familiar with the Indy area, so you tell them Indianapolis. I was like 10 miles from downtown Indy. Then I moved up to the north suburbs of Chicago, and it’s like 28 or so miles from the middle of downtown Chicago. But everyone said they lived in Chicago up where I was. I pretty quickly felt a lot less guilty for saying I lived in Indianapolis.

Distances are so strange. How we define what is far away and what is close seems to change depending on where you live. The mode of transportation really does help define what is close and what is far. When I lived in the north suburbs of Chicago, the closest store was a Dominick’s grocery store. It was 1.7 miles away from my apartment. That was really close for up there. The nearest Taco Bell was almost 3 miles away. Where I live now, however, 1.7 miles is actually pretty far away. That’s just because within a half a mile radius of where I live now there’s dozens of stores and restaurants. I walk everywhere I go now. 1.7 miles isn’t impossible to walk obviously, but it takes a while. And on hot summer days, you just don’t want to walk that far.

The other day there was a shooting 1.7 miles from where I live. In the city, that’s far away. That’s a totally different area from where I live. Different neighborhood, different demographics. If a shooting would have happened 1.7 miles away from us in the suburbs, people would be running for their lives. Protests. Neighborhood watches. Parents wondering if their kids could play outside anymore.

Anyway, Sarah and I are getting used to the city life. It’s been good. It’s so easy to get used to. Walking everywhere is wonderful. Not needing to drive nearly at all is incredible. Sarah takes the train to work everyday. Micah and I go to the plaza right outside my apartment and watch all the children run around, listen to the musicians, watch the clown. It’s great.

Here are just a few pictures. I haven’t been taking as many as I should now that we’re here. I starting to take more, though. Hopefully I’ll update more often.

IMGP3672_SnapseedMicah enjoys hanging out at the plaza watching all the kids run around and play.

IMGP3707_Snapseed Sarah and Micah enjoying the fireworks at the park near our apartment on the Fourth of July.

IMGP0277_SnapseedSarah and Micah walking through our new neighborhood, Lincoln Square.

IMGP0301_SnapseedMy new office, when I want to get some work done. A great local coffee shop.