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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Singing in the Rain

Thanks for all the good comments from yesterday. I hope people appreciate that I can't respond much—the bandwidth is limited here and I'm using a borrowed computer.

It may be that digital and film in this context is like apples and oranges...but in the lesser-used sense of the two being similar...of similar size and weight, colors not too far apart on the spectrum, both fruit, etc. We look for differences, but it's true that there are a lot of similarities in the differences as well.

In photo school days (early to mid '80s) I once shot 80 rolls of film here in one summer. For a normal two-week trip in more recent years I would typically bring a brick of film (20 rolls of 36 exposure). Last year I shot just about the equivalent amount digitally, but I should have shot more—I got good results from most of the specific "opportunities" I "worked," but I didn't work enough of the opportunities.

When the Rain Comes
I think it was David Vestal who said he put on his camera in the morning and took it off in the evening and that it was just as much a part of getting dressed as putting on his shirt and pants. I did that only once, when I "wore" an M6 for two years or so, 1991-1993. Otherwise, I have to admit that I'm a bit of a ditz with my cameras. I try to establish one or two places to leave it wherever I am, so I'll know where to find it, but depending on how domestic my relationship is to each place, I might leave it around any old which where. This results in occasional pangs of panic when I momentarily forget where it is. (I confess I have anxiety dreams about losing cameras, or just losing track of them.)

Up here in Michigan we have a spot called the "ovens" where there's a barbecue and a few picnic tables. One time after a picnic (I might have been drinking—it was long ago) I left my precious camera sitting out all night long. When I found it the next morning it was covered with dew but otherwise none the worse for wear.

A relative by marriage (and good friend) who's up here this year was not so lucky the other night. He left his newish Konica-Minolta 5D out on the deck. Unfortunately it was a night when we were visited with a series of spectacular thunderstorms sweeping down across the Straits. The rains were torrential and persistent, and the camera was thoroughly soaked. Surprisingly, the next morning it still came to life, but the jury is still out as to whether it's going to work again once it dries out. The prognosis is not the best.

That has nothing to do with digital, of course. Modern electronic digital cameras are actually more resistant to moisture than many earlier, comparatively very primitive electronic cameras. I remember a Minolta I had that would wick up water if you set it down on a ring of wetness caused by a cold drink. Its electronics would then go on strike until I took off the bottom plate and let it air-dry for a while.

And the camera I used here that I was most afraid of getting wet was a view camera made of rosewood. It had lovely paper-thin leather bellows that I doubted would survive much contact with water. I remember photographing once in a gentle "farmer's rain" in a remote field, holding an umbrella protectively over the camera while I got wet, perhaps a little overly conscious that, had anyone observed me, I would have been a pretty ridiculous sight. So it goes.



Blogger chantal stone said...

You in the "farmer's rain" reminds me of a time when I was out shooting in the rain and I had my 10 yr old son with me. I made him hold the umbrella over my camera while I shot. Anyone passing by would thought I was an awful parent for yelling at him to keep the camera covered, while he and I stood there getting soaked. He loved every minute of it though :)

9:03 AM  
Blogger Clint said...

I left a Canonet G17 QIII out on the porch one night during a full-on thunderstorm complete with hail. Next morning it was shooting just fine.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Max said...

Sweet memories...
It's tough to let go of things so deeply rooted. But the truth is some physical property can become quite a heavy stone hanging from your neck. There's also a lot of gulit involved, about the later loved one's projects and things like that. You know, it might feel like betraying a part of your family. Sometimes, when we decide to "keep things for the next generation" we are only passing the burden of a hard call to them because we were not brave enough to do it. Things live with people and by people's want. They shouldn't outlive or outwill people. Memories always remain, and nothing is lost in the one who experienced the good times. In fact, memories are distorted for worse when something is kept past it's time, in my opinion. By letting go of what's already served it's purpose, we make room for newer experiences and new, invigored, life.
And yes, I think all this has a lot to do with photography too!

11:18 AM  
Blogger Max said...

Fe de erratas:
In my post, were it wrote "gulit", guilt was intended, and "invigorated" instead of "invigored".

11:25 AM  
Blogger Maciek said...

You can always go for Mechanical, Metal, Manual;)
I put 4th M for Mamiya.
i take it on a catamaran's deck next week with no fear:)

regards everyone.

11:50 AM  

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