Busy Traveler

Busy traveler at the train station
Lady rushing to catch a train.
Nikon D7500 with Nikon 18-300mm lens
f/9 1/80 second ISO 1000 52mm
Aperture priority
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I paid a visit to El Paso’s Union Train Depot just looking for a photo opp. This lady was rushing by and I saw the picture. Traveler rushing by with people sitting an waiting for a train. I only had time to raise the camera, compose and click. No time for fancy adjustments and composing. Get the picture. As luck would have it I already took some pictures in the station and set the ISO at 1000. It all worked out great for a nice image.

A view from the far end.
Nikon D7500 with Nikon 18-300mm lens
f/9 1/30 second ISO 200 18mm


The El Paso Union Depot is an Amtrak train station in El Paso, Texas, served by the Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited. The station was designed by architect Daniel Burnham,[3] who also designed Washington D.C. Union Station. It was built between 1905 and 1906 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

In addition to Amtrak service, the station is served by Sun Metro local buses at nearby stops. There has been intermittent talk of resurrecting streetcar service across the border to Ciudad Juarez since the last trolley rolled some thirty years ago.

The station’s office space are occupied by the Texas Tech College of Architecture, which opened in 2013. Sun Metro was formerly headquartered in the space until it moved in 2014. – Source Wikipedia

Broke Hungry Traveln

Homeless person
Random Homeless person. I think I woke him up as I walked by.

This guy’s sign got my attention. I was doing a walk around downtown El Paso when I passed by this guy. I was actually trying to find some interesting shots of a neighborhood called Duranguito. It’s an interesting battle between some activists and City Hall. City government is in the process of razing most of the neighborhood in order to build a multipurpose arena. There are charges, counter charges, lawsuits and lies on both sides of the issue. The undeniable truth is that Duranguito is a slum. There is nothing in Duranguito of any historic value. Common sense says, “burn the place down”. That’s how I feel. There are plenty of people that disagree with me and that’s fine. However, none of their arguments make any sense.
The one touchy issue for me is the use of eminent domain to kick people out of their homes. I’m not a lawyer but I know one thing. People on both sides of the issue lie their asses off. So this issue will probably be settled in court.

Old rundown building of no value
Soon to be demolished

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Target of opportunity

As I was making a U turn this guy popped out of the fire station.

I had just finished photographing the Pancho Villa Stash house and was making a U-turn to get on my way when this fire engine came roaring out of the fire station. I immediately reached for the Nikon D-7500 but I still had the Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye mounted on it. Of course I snapped the picture anyway. When I got home and looked at the image I almost tossed it because it was very small. I cropped it anyway, then polished it by sharpening the image, removing noise and removing the artifacs.
The moral of this story is:
What’s the best camera?
The answer is always, “The one you have with you.”

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Christmas Decorations

Christmas House
The Fred Loya House decorated for Christmas.

I was eager to test my film equipment, especially the Gossen Luna Pro in more difficult lighting conditons, so I headed out for the Loya House. I used the Pentax 67 medium format camera, Gossen Luna Pro light meter and Kodak Portra 400 film. All of it worked beautifully. I’ll be writing more about my adventures with film because I just got started with this medium.

I scanned the negative using my Epson Perfection V550 scanner. This is not the most expensive scanner by far but it does the job. I did buy different software for the scanner, because I thought the Epson app lacked a lot of capability. I got a package called Silverfast, which does a lot more as far as noise reduction and image optimization goes. The process is slow however, taking more than 2 1/2 minutes per image. That’s OK however since I don’t plan to do a lot of scanning. For those of you that have never scanned slides or negatives I have one word of advice. DON’T! Scanning is a time consuming, irritating pain in the butt. I have already started to order my developed film to be scanned by the developer. It’s just too big of a hassle for me. The developer I use is The Darkroom. You can google them if you like. Good service, good prices. I have also used Dwayne’s Photo Service with excellent results. The main difference I have found is The Darkroom provides a postage paid mailer.

There is one use for the scanner that is important to me. I have a shoebox full of old nagatives that go back to the 1920s all the way up to the 1970s. These I am scanning slowly, a few a day. More on that later.


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Pancho Villa Stash House

Pancho Villa's Stash House
This old house does not look like it’s long for this world.
331 Leon Street, El Paso Texas

Nikon D7500 with Nikkor 10mm fisheye lens
f/9 1/1000 second ISO 100 10mm

I had to use my 10.5mm fisheye in order to get this frontal view. There was a historical marker right behind me and then parked cars. I let DxO Optics pro turn the fish eye look into an ultra-wide image. Not much to see anyway, the place looks like it’s standing on it’s last 2X4.


Mexican revolutionary Francisco (Pancho) Villa stashed the currency, coins and jewelry he used to support his political activities in this house owned by George Benton during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). On November 9, 1915, Zachary Cobb, the U.S. Collector of Customs in El Paso, ordered a raid on Benton’s home. Custom officials found $500,000 in American currency and gold coins, along with $30,000 in jewelry, in Benton’s safe. Certain that the jewelry had been smuggled into the U.S., the government confiscated it.

Pancho Villa used El Paso as his military headquarters, personal residence, and hideout from the Mexican government. Initially, U.S. authorities maintained a friendly relationship with the Villistas, largely because both sides supported President Francisco Madero (1911-1913) and opposed President Victoriano Huerta (1913-1914). By 1915, however, the U.S. government wanted to stop Villa from using El Paso as a recruiting ground and war supply site against the new President Venustiano Carranza (1915-1917).

The raid on Villa’s “stash house” marked a turning point in the U.S. attitude toward revolutionary activity along the U.S.-Mexican border. The raid heightened tensions between Villa and the U.S., an escalation that eventually led to Villa’s ill-fated raid on Columbus, New Mexico, in March 1916, and General John J. Pershing’s unsuccessful “punitive expedition” of 1916-1917. – credit Historical Marker in front of the Stash House.

Happy New Year 2019!

shaken not stirred
Wishing everyone a happy New Year!

I took this image with a Nikon D7500. I like this camera so much I bought a second one. Yes, it does everything I want plus a lot more. The lens I used for this image is the Tokina 100mm macro. Fantastic lens! This lens is actually designed for a full frame camera, so it does especially well for DX cameras because the outside edge does not get used. Yep, you will also need a sturdy tripod. I use a Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 055 Aluminium 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column but your choice will depend on equipment, how far you intend to lug it and so on. I have two of these. One I keep in the car at all times and the other is for macro work in the house. Talk about lazy!

So for the rest of this photo – I used tiny multicolored lights, which I pasted to a cardboard box set about 4 feet from the glass. The liquid is Sprite and the lime is a real, fresh lime I later used in my drink. I used a small tactical flashlight to illuminate the glass and lime but not the background. I used on camera flash as well. The D7500 does a great job with it’s on camera flash. I almost always shoot in aperture priority and set the aperture to f/3.2.
Took about a dozen images and this is the one I like best.


Alligator Plaza

Nikon D7500 with Nikkor 10.5mm Fish eye lens
f/9.0 1/400 second ISO 100 10mm
Aperture priority
I used the Nikon 10mm fisheye for this picture because I wanted to show the El Paso downtown area. I really dislike that new cover because it blocks the view but I imagine it also provides a lot of shade for the fiberglass gators.

Alligator Plaza is an El Paso, Texas icon. There have been live alligators in this plaza from 1889 to 1965.
Now like most things the gators have turned to plastic.

I like the Nikon 10.5mm Fish eye lens. It’s very small, light and gives me great pictures.

One caveat about this lens. It does not have a focusing motor, so it won’t autofocus with some Nikon cameras like the D5300. I like this camera because it has that really handy swivel LCD. The D5300 small, not expensive and very versatile.

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San Jacinto Plaza

People watching

 Click on the image for a better view.

San Jacinto Plaza 
A great place to do some candid people photography and to catch the beautiful Christmas decorations. If you are like me then a public place like this plaza is the go-to place for people photography. The atmosphere is a lot more relaxed and you don’t have to worry about traffic.

Nikon D7500 with Nikon 18-300mm lens
f/4.0 1/320 second ISO 800 28mm

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Christmas photography

I like the watching people as they go about their business. Some are looking at their phones, others are looking at the decorations. I keep my camera on a tripod and just kind of look around for my next photo opp.

Nikon D7500 with Nikon 18-300mm lens
f/4.5 1/100 second ISO 800 44mm

The reason for the season

Baby Jesus in a manger
Peace on earth!

‘Tis the reason
This is the reason for the name of the season.
I give El Paso an awesome, epic, really yuge, great big gold star for being one of the very few major cities America to have a nativity scene in one of it’s parks. GOOD JOB!

I absolutely love the new Nikon D7500. For my walk around lens I reach for the Nikon 18-300mm zoom.
Nikon D7500 with Nikon 18-300mm lens
f/9 1/250 second ISO100 18mm
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