Christmas Tree – Harmony Park

Harmony Park Tree, Arlington Heights, Illinois

This tree is standing in Arlington Heights’ Harmony Park as I write this.

On Christmas Eve, Lisa and I were leaving our Melancholy Tavern and we came across a mother-and-son team near the tree, and we offered to take their picture.  It turns out they had donated the tree to the village– they planted it in their front yard twenty-something years ago, and now it was fulfilling the lady’s dream of being decorated for Christmas in a spot where everyone could see it.

We shared “Merry Christmases” and we were each on our way.

It was a very nice chance meeting for a Christmas Eve.

Christmas in Chicago

We spent a couple days in downtown Chicago, going “off the grid” and spending some quality holiday time together.

Here are some shots of State Street, Marina City, and the Wrigley Building that were taken late on Monday night.  I especially like the Christmas lights on the balconies at Marina City.

Hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season!

Kodak Retina IIa Visits a Family Tradition

As Lisa and I were preparing to head to Frankfort, IN for her family’s annual Apple Butter Festival, I ran across my dad’s Kodak Retina IIa camera and a roll of expired (probably purchased in 2003) Fuji 400 ASA color film.   I tossed them in my bag, figuring if there were ever an event that merited using an antique camera, this was it.

The Retina IIa was made in Germany in the early 1950s.  My dad picked the camera up in Japan during his stint in the Korean war.   When I first started taking pictures, I used this camera– a lot– between 1976-1982, and then I came into a Pentax K1000, which was like the Space Shuttle compared to the IIa.  Here’s a nice piece about the Retina IIa from a blogger in Vermont.

Here are the results of my experiment; I did some minimal fixing (cropping, resizing, etc) using Photoshop but the sharpness and detail is purely the product of the IIa.  Most of the shots were taken at 1/500 or 1/250 at f/18.

This makes me want to see what I else I can accomplish with this camera.

Buckingham Fountain

It was a beautiful Fall day today– warmer than usual, and the skies were completely cloudless.

Having worked in the city for most of the last 20-some years, I often don’t walk any further east than the financial district and my office.

And then once in a while I remember what the city has to offer just a few blocks from my desk.  And I always promise myself I’ll do it more often.