I keep repeating, but I had orbital decompression surgery on Monday. My face, especially around my eyes, looked like I had a rough night at fight club. After a week of alternating use of an ice pack for twenty minutes on, and twenty minutes off, and lots of bed rest, and being mentally unfocused due to strong pain medications, I can finally see out of both eyes. I am still on several medications, including whole-body anti-biotics and in-eye anti-biotics which I apply three times a day to both eyes. I have a double vision which the doctors expect will go away on its own or I will require additional surgery. I’ll know more at my post-surgery appointment on Monday.

This week, I had not expected to submit a post for Frank’s Photo Challenge. Until today, I had not even thought about the weekly challenge. I was focused on recovering from surgery. But I was skipping through the WordPress Reader and saw a response to the photo challenge and out of curiosity, I looked for this week’s keyword and started laughing. Focus!!

Due to cataract surgery on my left several years ago, I had to choose the type of lens I wanted. I opted for distance vision. With the left eye, I can focus on objects that are further than two meters or more from my sight. Soon after that, I had laser surgery, phase reactive keratotomy, in my right eye, which allows me to focus on the nearby objects that are two-metres or less from my right eye. My brain combines both images to enable stereoscopic vision so that I can drive safely, read a screen, a book, and watch a movie.

Of course, seeing two of every car as I drive isn’t ideal. With my post-surgery diplopia, I can’t focus on anything in front of me unless I close one of my eyes. My wife gave me an eye-patch to alternately cover each eye. But when you can see out of one eye only, you lose stereoscopic vision and the ability to determine depth.

So what to do? I wanted to submit an entry.

I decided to save up my energy; it takes a lot out of me to cover one eye long enough to type these words so that I could submit two images. I captured both pictures on my Fuji X-T2 with a manual focus 35mm film lens, my Asahi SMC Takumar 55mm f/2. For the first image, I used the focus-peaking feature of the Fujifilm X-T2 to help me find the proper focus for the image. For the other, I focus on using just my eyes. I expect one image is sharper than the other.

The out-o-focus image is a decent depiction of what my vision was like a day after surgery.

I used Luis Costa’s monochrome film simulation recipe, which I found via Ritchie Roesch’s [Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe post. The last time I shot a monochrome film was in college in the mid-’80s. I don’t remember explicitly shooting Tri-X, but I do remember capturing a lot of monochrome images. I don’t know if this Tri-X recipe is close to Tri-X or not, but I like the way it looks.

Sep 14, 2019, Chive Flower — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 55mm f/2

Leaf, Grass
Tuesday Photo Challenge – Fall by Frank Jansen (Dutch goes the photo)

Soft light comes to us

It’s early fall here in New Jersey, perhaps too early to visit the Grandview section of the Rock Brook, but I hopped in the car and drove over to Hollow Road anyway Nope. Nothing. Not a single yellow leaf. Not on a tree. Not on the ground.

But some of the leaves have changed colour, not enough to be noticeable in the sea of green, but enough that some leaves have fallen off from the maple tree in the front yard. The heavy rainfall from the thunderstorm effects of Hurricane Dorian had drenched the tree knocking the yellow leaves onto the grass, the car and the driveway.

Old City, Philadelphia

Bhavna and I were in Center City section of Philadelphia early this morning. I had a CT scan and pre-surgery testing for my upcoming orbital decompression surgery. The Wills Eye Institute is several blocks, about a 10-minute walk, from the outer edge of the Old City section of Philadelphia, which was an excellent opportunity to capture some images at Independence National Historical Park for Frank’s weekly challenge.

Bhavna is still recovering from her foot surgery. Her foot is still sore, and she did not think that she could walk the distance Old City, so I went alone. She stayed behind in the sitting room at Wills Eye Institute.

Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Tourist, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

I wanted to be respectful of her time. I quickly walked to Chestnut Street to Independence Hall. Tourists were milling around outside the building and only later did it occur to me that people might be enjoying the long weekend to visit this historic section of Philadelphia. I stood close to the edge of Chestnut Street to get a photograph that included as much of the Independence Hall building as possible while reducing the chance of tourists stepping into my frame. It was frustrating. The 16mm end of my Fujinon XF16-55mm R LM WR lens was not wide enough for this occasion.

Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution signed, bringing into existence the United States of America.

Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Liberty Bell, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

After photographing Independence Hall, I turned around to head inside to photograph the Liberty Bell. Although I have visited and photographed Old City a few times, this was my first visit to the Liberty Bell. It seems the popular activity is to take a photograph in front of the Liberty Bell.

The State House bell became a herald of liberty in the 19th century. “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof,” the bell’s inscription, provided a rallying cry for abolitionists wishing to end slavery. The Anti-Slavery Record, an abolitionist publication, first referred to the bell as the Liberty Bell in 1835, but that name was not widely adopted until years later. … Beginning in the late 1800s, the Liberty Bell traveled across the country for display at expositions and fairs, stopping in towns small and large along the way. For a nation recovering from wounds of the Civil War, the bell served to remind Americans of a time when they fought together for independence. Movements from Women’s Suffrage to Civil Rights embraced the Liberty Bell for both protest and celebration. Pennsylvania suffragists commissioned a replica of the Liberty Bell. Their “Justice Bell” traveled across Pennsylvania in 1915 to encourage support for women’s voting rights legislation. It then sat chained in silence until the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Now a worldwide symbol, the bell’s message of liberty remains just as relevant and powerful today: “**Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof***.”

After I got my photograph, I stood there watching the Bell and pondered how incredible it was that I lived in a part of the United States with such historical significance.

Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Liberty Bell, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

After photographing the Liberty Bell, I looked at my watch and realised that I needed to get back to my wife. I walked down 4th Street, crossing through Independence Square toward Walnut Street. I felt rushed and wish I had more time to compose my shots. Perhaps I’ll plan a photo walk with some friends.

Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Thomas Jefferson Garden, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Independence Square, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Commodore John Barry Statue, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

John Barry was the first Commodore of the U.S. Navy.