Category: Echoes of the Past

A Path of Revelation and Change


I was walking the other day when my mind started wondering and I started thinking about the path my life had taken me.  Various thoughts came to me in bits and pieces and in somewhat random order.  I chuckled when I thought about when my supervisor and I were in Canada for a meeting and he spent the evening in the bar while I worked back in my room on my talk for the following day.  After returning back to the U.S., I learned (while being debriefed) about how I had been followed and a foreign agent (who had been trying to get some info from me that had nothing to do with the intelligence work I did) spent many hours with my supervisor in the bar.  My supervisor didn’t know about a side job I had nor what I really did, so the foreign agent didn’t learn anything about my work; but my supervisor was questioned for several hours by an intelligence agency after he returned to the U.S.  Odd, how that thought came to me after looking at this path.

Those thoughts then led to other occurrences of mine and I wondered how, or if, they were connected.  It all started when I was studying Aerospace Engineering in my sophomore year at WVU when an Air Force Colonel tried to convince me to join the Air Force, but I hadn’t signed up for a physical required for joining.  After several discussions with the Colonel, I learned that he had been the flight instructor for the original CIA U2 pilots and that he was stashed away at WVU after Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission in Soviet Union airspace, causing the 1960 U-2 incident.  Later, the Colonel made arrangements for a noncommissioned officer to drive me to Washington D.C. for an overnight visit in the winter of 1961-62 to undergo a physical that I expected to fail due to my eyesight.  Little did I know that I was the only one getting a special physical that day and that the Air Force eye doctor was a fellow West Virginian whose parents lived only a mile from my parents place on the Buckhannon river and that he would give me a waiver and that I would pass my physical.  I never did join the Airforce, but after that I started on a civilian career in 1963 of working for the Navy, the Army, and indirectly for the Air Force and NASA and covertly for intelligence agencies.

My story goes on as I ended up becoming a covert technical analyst for intelligence agencies while I worked at a Navy research and technology laboratory and how my supervisors never knew what I was doing and how a photograph (not one of mine) led to my in-depth involvement later.  It was a simple photograph of two Russian navy sailors on a dock having their photo taken as they were about to go out to sea, but really it was information passed on without notice or discord.  The issue for me was what was behind them in the photograph hidden under a tarp while being lifted by a crane onto the ship.  That was one of the few photographs that I will never forget as it was burned into my brain.  I can still see it in my mind today … it continues. 

The Way it Was

If I’m driving and photographing through the car windows I mostly use my Olympus TG-4.  I can use it with one hand, turn it off and on and zoom as needed, while shooting in program mode with the ISO fixed at 200.  It is also small, not as noticeable, gives me maximum depth-of-field, and sits in a cup holder when I’m not photographing.  I made these yesterday morning when it was foggy as I drove through parts of Hanover, PA.

Hanover, PA Pictures will be Delayed

I will be delaying my project of photographing in and around Hanover.  With spring and summer arriving, I have a request to make a lot of nature pictures around Homewood at Plum Creek.  I am going to do this and it will require me shifting my emphasis from prime lenses, street, indoor, and people photography to longer zoom lenses, flowers, birds, etc.  The bigger issue is that I won’t have the time or energy to do both since I am limited in how much walking I can do.

I should have started the “Echoes of the Past” project earlier in the late fall.  I will try to pick it back up in mid-summer or next winter when my other photography dies down.

I am now trying to decide on what camera and lenses I will use as I return my emphasis to nature photography.  I would like to obtain a longer zoom lens but I haven’t decided on what one.  Fujifilm’s next logical one for me to get would be the XF 100-400 lens, but it is expensive and might be hard for me to handle on the X-Pro2 which doesn’t have much of a hand grip.  In addition, while the Fujifilm’s cameras like the X-T2 and the X-Pro2 have greatly improved with the speed of their focusing, I am not sure how the longer zoom lenses would compare against DSLR cameras.

Acros or Classic Chrome?

I am trying to decide which style of processing will work best for my “Echoes of the Past” project.  In the above images, I used film bracketing to capture each jpeg picture in both Fujifilm’s Classic Chrome and Acros.  I think I will choose one of these for my base jpeg for the entire project.  After I decide whether to go with color or monochrome, I’ll think about what other adjustments I might make on a global basis, but as I write this, I’m thinking I’ll keep the images as close to one of these film emulations as I can since it will make the processing very simple.

I am having a problem deciding which to choose; i.e., which will work best to present a comparison of now to what we remember of the past.  My first idea was to use the Acros B&W style since I like the tones, etc. and since when I think back to pictures I have seen of how it looked in the past, they were all B&W.  A question, independent of looking at old pictures, “Do we remember in B&W or color?”  While it isn’t as evident in these pictures, another concern I have is that some of the garish colors people now use don’t really improve the current views.

The problem is that I do like the color images of the area when processed in Classic Chrome film emulation, and they do give a more accurate presentation of how it looks now in this day and age.  They also show up the changes, additions, different materials used, etc.

I realize that most of us prefer either color or B&W, and to take a poll is of no value; but if anyone has some reasoning for selecting one or the other please comment.

Echoes of the Past #1

I’m starting a series of pictures of Hanover, PA and the surrounding area based on a theme of “Echoes of the Past”.  My idea is to collect a series of images that I might use in a book.  As I pursue this project, I will be showing many of the images here in my blog and then I hope to later cull out my selects for a book.

I made this first set on Saturday, the 25th of Feb. in 2017, while walking around one half block bounded by the square, streets, and ally in the center of Hanover.  My objective for the images I made on this first trip was to try out the concept of using only an effective 35mm lens to get a feel for the focal length and to try some different processing styles.  I haven’t yet decided on how I will process them for the book and I may try out several different styles here in my blog.

In the future, I hope to be returning to the streets and showing what I see in 2017.  I hope to capture a current sense of place that also shows the linkages to the past.  This shouldn’t be too difficult since most seem to be living in the past.

One of my goals is to concentrate on “lifestyle photography” in this coming year with a normal lens; i.e. not with a long focal length zoom lens.  I’ll have to live with this idea until I see whether I can make it work and if it satisfies me.  If all goes well, this project will be only one of several projects.  I also hope to capture images of our lifestyle of living here at Homewood at Plum Creek, which ironically, may be the hardest to do without a long lens; but, I will be limited in the nature of those pictures that I can display on my blog due to privacy concerns.

I am also considering another project that I might write about and illustrate with pictures, but I’m less sure about that project.  The only thing that is clear to me is that I will be attempting to focus my efforts and photography on my ever-changing perspective of life without long focal lengths.  Which camera(s) I decide to use is still somewhat undecided until I proceed a while and learn what I need.  I am pretty sure that an effective 35 to 50mm focal length will work, but I’m still unsure about which camera and whether I need a smallish pocket camera.