When I started to take pictures for real, I began in black and white. We could shoot, develop our film, print it, mount it, and show it, all with a little help from Kodak’s Tri-X®, some HC-110, fixer, Photoflo®, Polycontrast Paper, Dektol®, some more fixer, and some mount boards and tissues. Those were the days of the yellow box and the yellow can and the darkroom. No computers required or tiny little cartridges of ink priced at about $8,000 a gallon. Recent news of Kodak’s continuing decline mark another change in my life that may not be welcome. But maybe we can still communicate our vision in the world without the iconic Kodak. (But I digress…)
And we shot indoors and out. In the winter, the exposure setting for both were not far off. In John Marshall High School classes, we used 1/60 at f/4. Outside in the bleek overcast winter, about one stop smaller. I got to visit Minnesota again recently and found the experience to be very reminiscent. The color on the cloudy days was gone near the River in St. Cloud. The River, of course, was the Mississippi. I crossed it every day when I went to school in Little Falls. A big enough river to keep me away from its banks mostly, but also a solid, healthy body of water. We did smell some unpleasant smells in the summer time in Little Falls, but not from the River, but from the paper mill on the River. I can still remember that smell. Very distinct and unpleasant. Reminds me of the smell coming up from the subway at Canal St. in NYC in the late fall of 2001 when the fires were still burning. Both were penetrating and undesirable, but very hard to describe.
Today’s work is from Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud from the east side of the River. My brother Jerome and I stopped there for a few minutes to feel the quiet winter against our senses as we were on our way to visit my Godmother Aunt Maureen who is also my dad’s sister. She doesn’t travel any more. So we took a quick trip up from Rochester to see her.
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