Nobody poor was ever called democratic for marrying someone rich.
– Sabrina, 1954
Messing around with the camera this morning, trying to capture the morning light and in the midst of my artistic endeavor, I had a camera crisis. This story is entirely apocryphal and has nothing to do with the pictures. It is, however, an example of the kind of problems that result from the technology we all use in our daily lives.
I’ve been taking pictures for a long time, more than 40 years. My first who-knows-how-many cameras were mechanical cameras and used film. I did a lot of work in black and white because I could develop my own film. I also did my own printing, mounting, and framing, though I’ve totally forgotten all of that now.
The only electronic part of the camera was the light meter, and my first half-dozen cameras didn’t have built-in light meters. I used my handy-dandy Weston Master V for years and got wonderful pictures. I still have a handheld meter, though I don’t use it more than once in a very long while.
Cameras did break and might need repair, cleaning, or adjustment, but basically, there wasn’t that much to go wrong. As long as you didn’t drop it, get it soaked with salt water, or spill coffee on it, it might last forever. There weren’t many moving parts: the shutter, the film winding mechanism which was nothing more than a mechanical wheel. You set the film speed (ISO), shutter speed, f-stop. You aimed, framed, focused, then held your breath while you pressed the shutter. Voila. Photograph.
Today, my camera wakes me in the morning and starts the coffee. If I ask nicely, it will do the grocery shopping, though it draws the line at doing laundry.
When something goes wrong, it’s crazy time.
This morning, I removed the lens cap and turned the camera on. I unlocked the lens (my Olympus Pens have retractable lenses that have to be extended before you can take pictures).
The menu came on, but no picture appeared. Flashing on the screen was something I’d never seen before. Without a clue what it meant, I double-checked to make sure I really had removed the lens cap. Sure enough, I had.
So I did what I do with my computer. I rebooted. I turned it off, waited, then turned it back on.
More flashing. No picture.
I next moved to telephone mode. I removed the battery and the memory card, counted to twenty, put them back in. Still flashing. Still no picture.
By now, I was completely panicked. My nearly new expensive beloved camera wasn’t working. I cannot begin to express the fear that gripped my heart. Finally, I checked to make sure the lens was properly seated.
Click. The flashing stopped. A picture appeared. The lens had been a tiny bit loose. I must have accidentally pressed the button that releases the lens, so it was not fully locked in place and the camera would not work.
With all the hundreds of functions built into the camera, how come they can’t have something to tell you that the lens is loose? Like in a car when a door isn’t fully closed? I felt like a moron. Then, I took some pictures.
This is my favorite. I played around with a few different combinations of filters to get the effects I wanted. It’s our bedroom.
I love our bedroom. I love our bed. It is peaceful room and although it is cluttered, it is also incredibly comfortable. I keep the blinds nearly closed so the light doesn’t wake us in the morning and also to protect the dolls from sun.
The dolls on the shelf are my movie stars, historical characters, plus some authors. You may spot James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart up there. There are two John Wayne figures: cowboy and cavalry. My husband has Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe on his dresser. Good choices.
Under the window is my modest collection of carved geese and ducks, with a strong emphasis on loons. Have I mentioned how much I love loons? The sound of loons calling across a lake in Maine is one of the most beautiful sounds in nature.
The next pictures I take, I’ll make sure the lens is seated. Gee whiz.
In the spirit of clichés that pop out of the mouths of Our Heroes with alarming frequency, despite the fact that they have become standing jokes for the audience (apparently nobody mentioned this to the script writers), our personal favorite in this house is “Stay in the car.”
On the NBC TV series “Chuck.” it’s a gag line. Unfortunately, on most shows it is supposed to be real dialogue and not cause hilarity … but it does. Every time.
I checked on Subzin, a movie database that lets you enter a piece of dialogue, then reports in how many and in the specific movies where you’ll find it. According to Subzin, “Stay in the car“ can be found in 356 phrases from 296 movies and series. Yet, they continue to use it.
Lethal Weapon 2: (1989)
uses the line a lot.
Then, there’s Last Action Hero (1993), my favorite Arnold Schwarznegger movie in which the line is understood to be a cliché , which is more than you can say for most of the places you will hear it:
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