Author Archives: Amanda Raney

{Smoky Mountains} 2017

Back in November 2017, I went on another little family vacation to the Smoky Mountains, which was our third year going (as adults anyway, we used to go annually when we were kids!) The previous year, I took a lot of photos, but a major roll of film was lost in the mail. Thankfully, I had no such problem this time!

For this trip, the cameras I brought with me were: my Lomo LC-A, the Sears 35rf I’d recently scored from a thrift shop, and my Lomo’ Instant Automat.

The evening we arrived in Gatlinburg. In time to have dinner at our fave Mexican restaurant! This was taken while we were parked outside the lobby of our motel during check-in. 

One of the first things we did the on our first day was go to The Island in Pigeon Forge. It’s got shopping, games, and restaurants  (we had lunch there at a french fry restaurant called Pomme Frites that was AMAZING.) We went to scope out the giant Ferris wheel. More on that later 🙂

 

In the past, I have not taken many photos of my family when I make photos of our vacations, but I decided to change that during this family getaway.

We tried to go to some places and do some different things on this vacation than we have on previous trips to the Smoky Mountains. One of those “new things” we did was go to a place called Anakeesta, where you ride up the mountain in either an enclosed gondola (as we did) or on a ski lift chair. Anakeesta had only recently opened, so not all of its attractions were open yet, but we enjoyed the beautiful views immensely!

In our gondola (or Chondola, as they call it) 

Spectacular views

While at Anakeesta, we walked through the network of tree canopy bridges, which was quite the experience!

During this trip, I greatly increased the number of photos of my brother-in-law that are in existence 🙂

Descending the mountain in our Chondola 

The next day, we visited Ripley’s Aquarium (as we’d done in 2015 as well.) That was the only place where I shot digital while on vacation. I only posted those on Facebook and that was mainly for the benefit of my brother-in-law, who likes to have photos I’ve taken at aquariums printed so he can hang them on his office wall. I took HUNDREDS (as one tends to do on digital.) Here’s a screenshot of some of them…

 

After we’d finished our visit to the aquarium, we went to The Village because there’s a donut shop there that we love! Being the first week of November, Christmas decorations were already up in the area.

Christmas trees at The Village

Ole Smoky Mountain Candy Kitchen at The Village

Photos from our walk back to the motel room after visiting The Village

Our box from The Donut Friar, which is the donut shop we love at The Village 🙂

We stopped at a coffee stand on our way back to Anakeesta

We actually went back to Anakeesta on our second day in Gatlinburg, because our visit the prior day occurred in the afternoon and entitled us to entrance the entire next day too!

Can’t get enough of the mountains!

Somehow got one where she was smiling!

As I mentioned in my 2016 Smoky Mountains vacation post, there was a really bad fire in the area in November 2016. At Anakeesta, there is a Memorial Forest Walk that allows you to learn about the fire and its impact on the area. As you can see in some of these photos, the fire burned trees surrounding Annakesta, where the memorial walk is.

Colorful straws in a shop in downtown Gatlinburg

Best Italian! With calzones the size of footballs!

We also returned to The Island that night. It was BEAUTIFUL at night! It had rained, and the Christmas lights were shimmering in rain puddles.

The “show fountains,” where there’s a light and dancing water show set to music at different intervals throughout the day. They were fascinating to watch! 

The main purpose of our return to The Island was to ride the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. It’s a 200 ft. high ferris wheel with enclosed gondolas.  As I mentioned, it was a rainy night, which made the experience even better because all the lights you could see from way up there were even more beautiful! We were quite worried about our mother, who is very afraid of heights, but she did GREAT on the wheel. I think it was a slow night at the wheel because it was raining, so the ride operator let us go around a few extra times 🙂 (P.S. This kinda makes me want to ride the London Eye if I ever get back to London again…)

The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel

Reflection of the Wheel in puddles from the rain

I will add something here that you wouldn’t know from just seeing the photos: One of the most fun things that happened was the torrential downpour during our visit to The Island. Even though it meant we got soaked, it somehow ended up being really fun darting around, trying to stay dry and catch a ride on the tram that transports people from The Island to the parking lot. We laughed so much! (plus the announcer on the tram was hilarious!)

The next morning, we went to The Christmas Place. It’s all Christmas, all the time, all year round! Though I doubt we would have visited had it not been close to the holidays 🙂 I don’t have a photo of it here, but the best thing there was the whole section of decor based on A Christmas Story! Including a full size “major award!”

The Christmas Place

We also went to Smoky Mountain Knife Works (for my brother-in-law.) Us ladies ended up sitting outside awhile to wait for my brother-in-law to finish his shopping 🙂

Outside Knife Works

I was bound and determined that my sister and I were going to a couple of thrift shops before we left the area. Here are a couple of photos from the flea market/antique mall we found. I ended up with a vintage Fire-King baking dish from there.

At the flea market

Dinner that evening

The Arby’s in Pigeon Forge still has the old sign!

Though this is the first photo of the Apple Barn from our 2017 Smoky Mountains trip, it wasn’t our first time there that weekend. We kept going back for more fried apple pies 🙂

I would have had more photos from our last night in town, but when I went out that night with my niece and brother-in-law to walk around downtown Gatlinburg, my Lomo LC-A stopped working! That was a bummer, but at least I got to spend a little time walking around with my niece and helped make sure she got a big funnel cake from a stand downtown 🙂

 

While I wasn’t as photographically prolific this time as I’d been in previous Smoky Mountains vacations, I was pleased with my camera set-up and with the photos I did produce while we were there. It was a great trip!

Photos taken with a Lomo LC-A, Sears 35rf, and Lomo’ Instant Automat

{Late Entry} Expired Film Day 2017

Oops, I did it again (many a blog entry starts this way actually.)

Like last year, I shot for Expired Film Day on March 15. Like last year, I waited awhile before getting the film developed, thus falling outside the deadline to submit photos to the Expired Film Day website. (OOPS!)

This year, I again used my Yashica-Mat TLR camera. I chose to shoot a roll of Kodak Pro 1000 film that expired in the year 2000. I don’t know what kind of magic the photo lab worked when they developed and scanned these photos for me, but I think they look very cool and prettier than I expected!

Yashica-Mat • Kodak Pro 1000, expired 2000
(I rated it as 200 when metering, to account for its age)

{Nikon for Girls}

I’m a few years late in writing a post dedicated to this camera…

I got a Nikon EM in 2012. It’s a Nikon “for girls.” Oh yes, you read that correctly. When the EM was released, it was supposed to be appealing to women photographers who were newly entering the world of SLR photography. It is a small, simple to use “budget” camera.

From the Nikon EM Wikipedia page:

Called internally “the Nikon for women”, the EM was designed to provide style (exterior contours sculpted by Italian automobile stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro), convenience (a system of dedicated accessories), ease of use (as much automation as possible in 1979), low cost (simplified manufacturing process) and the prestige of the Nikon name (prominently displayed on the pentaprism housing) for initiates to SLR-dom.

Spoiler: Nikon’s strategy to snag female buyers with the EM didn’t work. They bought nicer, more fully-featured cameras instead…

Decades after its release, I picked up my EM for about $25.  Which actually might have been overpaying, since it didn’t have a lens! (I already had lenses to fit it since I have other Nikons…)

A little about the Nikon EM:

  • It’s a manual focus 35mm SLR camera
  • Exposure is aperture priority, meaning the user selects the aperture and the camera selects the appropriate shutter speed
  • Auto shutter speeds of 1 sec. to 1/1000 sec. Bulb mode available by turning the mode dial to “B”
  • Shutter speed is indicated with a needle in the viewfinder
  • Warning beeps if the shutter speed needed for proper exposure would be out of range (over 1/1000 sec.) or cause a risk of camera shake (under 1/30 sec.)
  • Manually selectable film speeds of 25 ASA – 1600 ASA
  • A battery is needed for the automatic exposure system to work, but there is a manual shutter speed of 1/90 sec. available if your battery dies OR if using a flash. Bulb mode also works without need for a battery.

B (bulb)/M90 (1/90s)/Auto dial
Shutter button and film advance lever
Battery check button and LED light

Here’s something: I have owned the Nikon EM for over five years, and I just noticed this little silver button on the front. I had to look it up in the camera manual! It’s an exposure compensation button! According to the manual, the button adds about two stops of exposure in situations with backlighting. I wish I’d known that sooner!

Exposure compensation button near the top front of camera

Now, as to how I never got ’round to blogging about this camera on Shoot with Personality before, I think it’s because most of the photos I have taken with it were in England. It earned a spot as my main camera during two of my trips to England (2012 and 2014,) so those were posted on my “Amanda Goes to England” blog. I chose the EM as my travel camera because it’s relatively small and quick to use due to its exposure system (I choose the aperture, the camera chooses the shutter speed.) So I guess the things I like about the EM are the features that Nikon though would appeal to women buying their first SLR? Except I was far from a beginner when I bought it 🙂

Why am I finally compiling Nikon EM photos here now? I recently dusted the camera off, tried to replace the faulty light seals in the camera, and ran a roll through it. After using a beautiful Nikon F3 most of 2017, (THANKS DAVID!!!) I had forgotten how teeny the EM is! It’s so small!

Nikon F3 size version Nikon EM size:
According to Wikipedia, the EM is 86 mm (3.4 in) high, 135 mm (5.3 in) wide, 54 mm (2.1 in) deep and weighs 460 grams (16 oz)
According to its manual, the Nikon F3HP is 101.5 mm (4 in.) high,  
148.5 mm (5.8 in.) wide, 69.0 mm  (2.7 in.) deep and weighs 760 grams (26.8 oz)

In using the EM again, it was nice to have just a little SLR to carry around with me anywhere and everywhere. I thought I’d finally discuss the camera and share some of the photos I’d taken with it through the years. I managed to find a few on my computer that I hadn’t posted elsewhere before now too!

 

Memphis Zoo. Summer 2012

Memphis Zoo. Summer 2012

Memphis Zoo. Summer 2012

Memphis Zoo. Summer 2012

Memphis Zoo. Summer 2012 (I didn’t remember this photo, but I really like it now that I’ve seen it for the first time in five years!)

Memphis Zoo. Summer 2012

Memphis Zoo. Summer 2012

Summer 2012

Summer 2012

Summer 2012

Summer 2012 (Never-before-seen)

Summer 2012

Summer 2012 (Never-before-seen)

Summer 2012 (Never-before-seen)

Summer 2012 (Never-before-seen)

Summer 2012

London. November 2012

London. November 2012

London. November 2012

Merstham, England. November 2012

Brighton, England. November 2012

London. November 2012

London. November 2012

London. November 2012 (Never-before-seen)

London. November 2012 (Never-before-seen)

London. November 2012 (Never-before-seen)

London. November 2012 (Never-before-seen)

London. November 2012

London. November 2012 (Never-before-seen)

Merstham, England. November 2012

Merstham, England. November 2012 (Never-before-seen)

London. November 2012

London. November 2012

London. November 2012

London. November 2012

Memphis Zoo. November 2012. (Never-before-seen SO THIS WAS A TREAT FOR ME! A photo of my niece from when she was younger that I have no recollection of!)

Memphis Zoo. November 2012 (Never-before-seen)

Memphis Zoo. November 2012 (Never-before-seen)

Memphis Zoo. November 2012 (Never-before-seen)

Memphis Zoo. November 2012 (Never-before-seen)

Winter 2013

Winter 2013 (Never-before-seen)

Winter 2013 (Never-before-seen)

Winter 2013 (Never-before-seen)

Winter 2013 (Never-before-seen)

Winter 2013 (Never-before-seen)

Mississippi. Fall 2013

London. May 2014

London. May 2014 (Never-before-seen. I accidentally opened the back of the camera because I forgot there was film in it)

London. May 2014

London. May 2014

London. May 2014

London. May 2014

London. May 2014

London. May 2014

London. May 2014

York, England. May 2014

York, England. May 2014

York, England. May 2014

York, England. May 2014

York, England. May 2014

York, England. May 2014

York, England. May 2014

London. May 2014

London. May 2014

London. May 2014

So, as you can see, the Nikon EM can be a versatile little camera and a great way to use the Nikon system and its wonderful lenses. Paired with my 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor pancake lens, I have found the EM to be to be a great everyday shooter, at home and abroad 🙂

{Just Married} Ashley + Nick

Last month, I had the pleasure of photographing Ashley and Nick’s wedding, which took place on the grounds of Chapel in the Pines in Senatobia, Mississippi.

Lovely details of Ashley and Nick’s wedding

Before the ceremony, Ashley and Nick wanted to have a moment where they could connect and pray with one another without actually seeing each other. So they held hands around the door to the chapel. They also exchanged gifts during this special moment together.

Ashley brought Nick a pocket watch, which had their initials carved into it.

The Chapel in the Pine grounds made a BEAUTIFUL setting for wedding portraits!

Nick, showing his nephew and father his pocket watch

Instead of flower girls, the kids in the wedding ceremony had bubble guns to precede Ashley down the aisle!

Nick, as he sees his bride coming down the aisle

Nick made a ring box for their wedding rings

The newly minted Mrs. and Mr. Nelson with Nick’s Dad

Father and son

They got married in cowboy boots 🙂

First dance as a married couple 🙂

Father-daughter dance

Mother-son dance

And a sparkler-lined send-off at the end of the night!

Ashley and Nick’s wedding was so sweet. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson!

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