Street Photography…from my car

I am new to the photography community, and especially the street photography community, but not to photography. When I was a in my early 20’s I’d go out and take pictures around my neighborhood by myself. I never knew anyone else who was into what I was into. I have always felt I didn’t fit in anywhere. Especially because my hobbies tend to be male dominated, I haven’t always been readily welcomed in some circles.

On the opposite side of the negativity I have encountered, there has also been some really nice people I’ve met in the community online. I really got a surge of inspiration after I got out of the hospital in June. I tend to be my most creative when I am going through a flare up. A professor of mine once said I do my best work when I am sickest. Not sure of why that is. Maybe there’s somthing about doctors telling you they dont know how to help you that really makes you think about life and death, and that in turn makes me just want to express myself. I want so badly to get out and photograph. There’s only one problem. Neuropathy.

I’ve mentioned before I suffer from a particularly nasty case of Crohn’s Disease, and back in June I was in the hospital with a bad flare up for two weeks that scared even the doctors. They had to use a high dose of steroids to get it under control, and unfortunately when I came home, I found out it had given me neuropathy and put me in a wheelchair. They suspect it will go away with physical therapy, and once I am off the steroids, but until then I am in a lot of pain and cant walk or stand for more than 10 minutes at a time, not to mention my face is swollen which makes me want to retreat even more. So what do you do when everything seems to be working against you? Take things into your own hands.

I can’t stand being stuck in my bed so every morning I eat breakfast, then I shoot film, and digital around my house just to practice and to scratch that itch I get to take photos. That way I can fit it in before the pain and fatigue get too bad. Photography is my rehab. I’ve been trying since June to get Physical Therapy, but with all the red tape of insurance, doctors, etc. It’s not going to happen anytime soon. So just as I’ve been doing since I was diagnosed 10 years ago, I take care of myself. Still, I can’t help but feel down, wanting so badly to get out and shoot like everyone else.

Street Photos From My Car

Before my doctors appointment last week, I decided to bring my digital camera and one of my Nikon F’s with me. I wasn’t sure how I would feel afterwards, I usually feel very drained and in pain after an appointment, but I brought them just in case.

Surprisingly, even after my doctor said he is learning about my disease along with me, (just what I want to hear from the man who holds my life in his hands) all I felt through my appointment was excitement and anxiety to leave and go take pictures. Normally I feel extreme anxiety at these appointments, but I just want to escape sometimes and photography is that escape for me.

After we left, I decided to try and shoot from the car window since I cant get out and stand right now.

I took this from inside the car with my Canon EOS T6i outside my doctors building.
Nikon FTn Apollo Kodak ColorPlus 200
In the parking lot
Nikon FTn Apollo Kodak ColorPlus 200

I still had some energy so I thought I’d do some street photography from the car. I wasn’t driving obviously, so I took pictures of things as we drove by and surprisingly I got some nice shots with my digital camera. I didn’t risk wasting film during this part.

Abandoned building
Canon EOS T6i
Still boarded up for the hurricane season
Canon EOS T6i
Canon EOS T6i
Canon EOS T6i
Canon EOS T6i
Colonel Sanders Wants You to Eat Chicken
Canon EOS T6i
Canon EOS T6i
Under the Bridge
Canon EOS T6i
Mural outside the Police Department
Canon EOS T6i
Canon EOS T6i
Canon EOS T6i

Every time I go to my doctor I pass this tree and say “I really want to take pictures of that tree one day.” I finally did. It’s this really huge, wild tree in front of a building that has just taken over the area. I always wonder how long it’s been there. It has wild branches growing in every direction and it’s leaves form a giant canopy overhead like a glass ceiling. I love it and plan on taking pictures of it again after my next doctors appointment, probably trying a different camera and lens each time.

I shot with my canon EOS T6i and traded off with my Nikon F Apollo with the FTn meter. I used Kodak Color Plus 200 film and my Nikkor 105mm lens. I wasn’t too thrilled with my lens choice for these shots so I’ll try a different one next time.

Secret Window
Nikon FTn Apollo Kodak ColorPlus 200
Canon EOS T6i
Nikon FTn Apollo Kodak ColorPlus 200
Canon EOS T6i
Nikon FTn Apollo Kodak ColorPlus 200
Canon EOS T6i
Canon EOS T6i

So that was my day shooting street photography from my car. You can say it was my day of therapy. It felt really good mentally to be able to get out and feel some sense of normalcy and to get to do what everyone else does… somewhat. I went home and was in pain the whole next day but it was worth it.

I hope that if you’re reading this and you have any limitations from an illness or disability, and a love for photography or anything really, don’t give up. Come up with different ways to live your passion. Life is very short and the time to live is now.


The Argus C3 Matchmatic – a quick cleaning

If you can’t accept my flaws, you don’t deserve my magic. — Bob Ross

Every vintage camera is going to have flaws, some many, but with some appreciation and ingenuity you can get a lot of magic despite those flaws.

For my first post I am sharing with you my first video on my YouTube channel that is just a step by step on a quick cleaning of an Argus C3 Matchmatic. On this particular camera the main flaw was a very hazy view in the rangefinder.

A quick cleaning of an Argus C3 Matchmatic

A Cleaning of an Argus C3 Matchmatic
Argus C3 – Aly’s Vintage Camera Alley Youtube Channel

A Little Awareness

In the video you may be able to notice my hands shake and I do mention the arthritis in them. Ten years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. A disease that causes inflammation of the entire digestive system from the mouth down. For some it can be mild and can be controlled by diet and stress reduction while for others like me it can be severe with many complications. In response to the inflammation the body gets a host of other issues and diseases along with the chemo-like medications that cause even more problems.

I was recently in the hospital for two weeks straight with a very bad flare up and high doses of steroids to stabilize me. When I finally went home I quickly found I couldn’t walk and was having horrible pain in my legs. After tests the doctor concluded it was caused by the steroids, which also has caused my face to swell up like a moon (it’s called moon Face) and has continuously woken me up every morning at 3 and 4am.

Now you may be asking what does this have to do with an Argus C3?

So I woke up and watched the sun rise with the birds, and I decided to get my cameras out and start drowning myself so to speak in vintage cameras (and sometimes my Digital Canon t6i) and the photos I could take with them.


Sunrise in the Clouds

I began to feel frustrated because my hands cramped when I tried to hold the cameras. My legs tightened and hurt so bad after I stood for more than five minutes while trying to get a shot. I kept finding myself back in my bed just holding my cameras and looking at them.

I decided I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

I needed this.

So I started practicing with my cameras from my bed. Just silly pictures around my room. Then I made it a point every morning after breakfast to get up and take pictures around the house for as long as I could stand.

Taken with 35mm Canon TX

Then I made it out into the front and backyard.

Taken with digital Canon t6i

It invigorated me and kept me going. I joined camera and photography pages on Facebook and was inspired to buy an Argus C3 “the brick” as it’s called. It was a bit of a nightmare. It hurt my hands and was difficult for me to get the hang of because it’s completely manual, and a rangefinder, which I had never practiced with before. But I liked the challenge. It turned out to have a lot of “flaws” which I’ll address in another post.

Then I received as a gift the Argus C3 Matchmatic. This one had flaws as well but I decided to take them on myself and that’s when I came up with the video and this blog in hopes I could help others the way I’ve been helped by all the YouTube videos and blogs about cameras these past months.

I will be posting the photos I took with the two C3’s soon.

I decided to make my first video about something simple like cleaning the rangefinder glass. I hope it helps someone and I hope anyone reading this that has a limitation or illness that often keeps them from what they love, I hope you’ll be inspired to keep doing it as best you can.

Please tell me in the comments below any limitations you overcome everyday to do what you love, and please visit my Facebook page and subscribe to my YouTube channel. I would love to hear from you and what videos you’d like to see in the future.