The Stitches: Cork Center

Clark Henry was an outfielder for the Albany Senators minor league baseball team.  He played on the Senators squad from 1945 to 1951, and surpassed a .300 batting average in the 1950 and 1951 seasons.

I have his signature on a team-signed 1949 Albany Senators Eastern League baseball.  The ball has turned an orange-amber hue in age; many of the signatures have faded to nothingness.  Clark Henry’s autograph, however, is clear.

Last year, I purchased a macro lens at a “going out of business” camera store sale.  I’ve played with the lens a couple of times, but was never completely satisfied with its capabilities.  I’ve photographed flowers in my girlfriend Nicole’s garden, I’ve photographed the stems of apples from my kitchen.  But nothing seemed to work for me.  Lens, meet shelf.

Then I came up with an idea.  Lens, get off the shelf.

Maybe I can capture something in the stitching and seams of a 65-year-old baseball.

After a few tries here and there… I ended up with this shot.

Clark Henry autographed baseball
Clark Henry autographed Eastern League baseball. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm 1:35 macro lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Not bad… I’m not sure if the orange-amber patina is from the ball being dipped in either shellac or tobacco juice.  The signature’s nice, too… it’s not like anybody outside of hardcore Capital District minor league baseball fans would have any idea who Clark Henry was.

But what if I zoomed in closer… maybe on the stitches… I mean, this is 65-year-old leather cowhide…

Adjust… tilt… shift…

After I zoomed in closer and turned the ball to a better angle… well…

This came out.

Cork Center
Cork Center. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm 1:35 macro lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

This is nice.  You can see the fibers and seams and strands of the stitches, and the “CORK CENTER” is still readable on the lightly dimpled cowhide.

This is a first test.  I know that I have several options when it comes to macro photography – I can use this old lens, or I can flip one of my other lenses around.

Still… This isn’t too bad.

Right now I’m trying to focus on something else, anything else.  I’ve got to find that elusive spark.  The spark I had in photography.  The one that I seem to have misplaced.

It’s out there.  I just can’t stop looking for it.