Readers’ wildlife photos

We have landscapes and “street nature photos” as wildlife today, and the photographer is James Blilie. His notes and captions are indented:

Here are some landscape photos for your consideration. First, some old ones, from my film days.  I shot nothing but Kodachrome 64 and Kodak Tri-X Pan black and white film for many years.  I developed all of my own black and white film and did my own black and white printing.  I even loaded my own film cassettes with 35mm Tri-X, from 100-foot rolls.  I did not use light meters, auto-exposure, or auto-focus.  I was an all-manual, all the time guy.

I just trained myself to recognize the lighting conditions marked on the old Kodak film boxes:

Bright sunlight (f/11, 1/125s; Kodachrome 64)
Hazy sun, soft shadows (f/8, 1/125s)
Cloudy bright, no shadow (f/5.6, 1/125s)
Heavy overcast, open shade (f/4, 1/125s)

A really old one from 1981:  An Aspen leaf covered in rain drops.  This image was made at about 30-second exposure, f/32, using an old Pentax M 135mm, f/3.5 lens and several extension tubes (obviously using a tripod).  The extension tubes move the lens further away from the film plane, allowing a much shorter focal distance to the subject (usually referred to as “macro”).  You can see I am pushing the limits of the setup:  The corners are heavily vignetted (black).

A photo of aspen trees, in October 1987, taken on a hike in the Entiat Mountains of the Washington Cascade Range.:

A shot of back-country cross-country (as we called it in those days) skiing in the Washington Cascade range, December 1988. 

Sunlight breaking through under rain clouds on the Interstate Highway 90 bridge over Lake Washington in Seattle:  

A view of Rosario Strait from the top of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island Washington, at sunset, taken in July 1990: 

Double Arch with figures, Arches National Park, taken in June 2013:

A view of the Grandes Jorasses (Mt. Blanc massif) from the Italian side, with wild rhododendrons in the foreground, taken in July 2018:

A cemetery in rural southern Ireland, taken in May 2011:

Beach view, Key West, April 2019.  This photo captures the light of Key West for me:

Another old one but favorite:  A shuttered window in the Loire Valley, 1992:

A photo of Royal Basin in the NE part of the Olympic Mountains of Washington state, October 1988. 

Another really old one and long exposure (roughly 30 seconds):  A view of downtown Seattle before the I-90 connection to I-5 in Seattle had been completed.  This was taken in December 1985: 


  1. Joe Routon
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Wonderful photography!

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted October 17, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink


  2. GBJames
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink


  3. chrism
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    More power to film photographers! I’ve exposed and developed a film on most days for the last six years. Even started colour negative and colour reversal (slide) development, though I don’t enjoy those processes as much. Got an old 1950’s Agfa Rondinax tank and motorised it with some bits from my son’s K’Nex toys to make a poor-man’s Jobo. Expanded my formats so I have gone from half-frame all the way to 10×8. It’s been a blast. I still have a whole freezer dedicated to film stocks that I bought and hoarded as they were discontinued. I hope I get to empty it before I’m done.

  4. littleboybrew
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Great photos. I once had an Olympus 35mm camera in the 80s/90s, but I did not know enough about photographic techniques to do much good. Today I know more, but modern technology sure increases the odds of me getting a good pic. There is presently a Ansel Adams showcase at Crystal Bridges, and when you read how he drug a big old heavy camera up into Yosemite with maybe 10 photo plates, well, you just have to admire the effort.

  5. Jenny Haniver
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    These are all lovely photos and each with a unique compositional sensibility.

  6. rickflick
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    These are a feasts for the eyes. I especially like the Irish cemetery. Reminds me of my visit. Thanks for compiling these.

  7. David Fuqua
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Really nice photos!

  8. Posted October 17, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Woa. Those are very well done! All of them super creative. 👍

  9. darrelle
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful pictures James. F@#$%^& beautiful.

  10. jezgrove
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful photos – and a great range of subjects. Thanks!

  11. Robert Fritz
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful photos! I especially like the aspens, I hope to get a shot like that someday!

    What scanner did you use for the slides and negatives?

    • Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Hi Robert, All of the slides and negatives were scanned on an Epson Perfection V500 scanner. It can do 4 slides at once, or, IIRC, about 10 35mm negatives at once.

      They make a large, more expensive one that does (IIRC) 12 slides at once and probably 36 35mm negatives. But just doing the dusting for 4 slides at a time was enough.

      I spent 30-60 minutes per day for about 2.5 years scanning my slides, my B&W negatives, and my Dad’s slides. (His B&W negatives will be a retirement project!)

      You have to take the long view. Make sure you think about a file and file-naming system and apply it. I also strongly recommend using key words in Lightroom (or whatever program you use).

      Also: You will need a good film-cleaning brush. Dust is your enemy. I keep my scanner (I can touch it from where I’m typing) covered in a cotton towel to help minimize dust.

      Happy scanning!

      This page is slightly out of date; but the scanning info still holds:

      • Robert Fritz
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. Many years ago I bought a Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 film scanner – it’s slow and I had to take it apart to clean it, but it still works! One of these days I might switch to a flatbed that can also do film.

        10 years ago I scanned over 500 negatives that I shot back in high school – I was the yearbook photographer and had a lot of photographs! I made all the scans available for everyone at our 40 year reunion.

        I do use Lightroom and find its organization features (such as collections and keyword tags) very useful.

        • Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

          Between 2009 and 2012, I scanned about 11,000 images. 🙂

  12. Posted October 17, 2020 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Marvelous. I was walking through Manhattan today where I live thinking: “Is there anywhere more beautiful?”
    Turns out there is.
    Thank you.
    D.A., NYC

  13. Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Hi All, thanks for the kind words. I was out of town all weekend from Thursday, just saw this posting this morning (Monday, 19-Oct).

  14. Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    BTW, I stopped using film completely in 2004 (last roll exposed). I got my first DSLR in 2006. (Since I had been an all-manual guy, and a slide guy (capture it in the camera alone), the software didn’t come until about 5 years later and was a massive revelation to me.)

    I now work mainly in Lightroom, which I love. For someone coming from film (and B&W darkroom work) the controls in LR are intuitive.

    My current main camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, in retro silver, of course. A wonderful camera. I also have several Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II cameras.

    This is the micro 4/3 system. Sensor is one-half the size of a 35mm film frame, and therefore has a 4/3 aspect ratio. Crop factor is 2.0.

    The lenses I actually use are (I have some other, more specialized lenses, rarely used):

    LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm, F2.8 ASPH (my walk-arund lens)
    LUMIX G VARIO 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH
    LUMIX 35-100mm f/2.8 G Vario
    Olympus Zuiko M ED 45mm f1.8 (splendid portrait lens)
    Olympus 9mm f8.0 Fisheye Body Cap Lens BCL-0980

    I love the m 4/3 system for: Cost, size, weight, and for the cameras I have, the electronic viewfinder, which includes exposure preview.

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