A place to rest …

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.

Olympus Pen EP-3

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.

What dreams may come?

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.

Perchance to dream …

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.

11 thoughts on “A place to rest …

    • My brains are turning to silly putty. My motherboard is too slow. My RAM in inadequate. I am becoming obsolete and if only we could update our minds the way we update our computers, I’d be a better person, or at least a smarter one. I love technology, but it is moving faster than I have the energy to go … and past a certain point, I’m not entirely sure I want to go there. But I guess we don’t have a choice, not if we want to participate in the Big Wide World. Upgrade me, please!

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  1. Is there a possibility that we’re related? We seem to be living parallel lives or something. I also gave been with camera since 1969, one of our favorite years. I shot nothing but B&W for the first year or two years while stationed at Misawa,Japan in the Air Force. I developed and my loaded my film from bulk rolls, while in my large wall locker. I returned after exposing the roll to unload it onto a stainless steel reel, which I then placed into a stainless steel development tank. Repeat 10,000 times. Developing my own film & prints saved me money & time. I didn’t have to wait for Walgreens. Besides, I could edit the shots making a contact page and print only the keepers.

    I’ve owned more than 20 cameras from a 16mm Minox spy camera to roll film, mechanical monsters like the Yashica Mat 124G twin lens reflex. It was completely manual, without meter and had a folding film advance crank you put between your fingers and turned your hand in a circular pattern to advance to the next frame. It had a waist-level, pop-open viewfinder that showed everything backward. Composition was fun. 🙂

    Fast forward to 2012. I have top of the line Nikon DSLR cameras with built-in GPS units and High Definition Stereo Movie capabilities. I wait 3 months for the latest D800 36.3 MegaPixel, wizbang model to be released so I can get my hands on one. I pick it up from the local pro shop and am besides myself, feeling like the luckiest guy alive.

    With batteries fully charged and two top of the line memory cards aboard, I fire off about 120 frames before returning home to post process the digital film. After downloading the files I go to format the memory card and nothing happens. The camera won’t format the card in the camera. I own the D7000 model and have been doing this for years. Why won’t the D800 work? I Google it. Nobody has this problem. It’s too new a model. I panic, I call the dealer who tells me to return with the camera. The very next morning I’m in Portland before they open the doors. The manager & owner of the store waits on me personally. He shoots a few frames through the camera and tries to format the card. No worky. He takes a brand new camera, with his lens aboard, fires a few frames & tries to format the card. No worky. Now we have two panicky people staring at two brand new Nikons that have the same issue.

    To cut this long story short the answer was that both the manager and I have been using the previous model, the D7000. Nikon changed the location of the “ok” button on the new D800. When trying to format memory cards you must press the “ok” button to erase the files. We both were pressing the wrong button out of habit. “Doh”! I was actually waiting for a new camera to be sent when the manager’s assistant told him what he was doing wrong. He calls me and explains and we both had a good laugh over it.

    We are creatures of habit and we sometime make mistakes based on mechanical memories. How dare they change the location of that button? LOL Lesson learned! I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with my version of camera hell. 🙂 Thanks for writing your blog and posting your experiences. They bring back lots of memories, some more pleasant than others.

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    • 1) Remember the Roliflex? You could only see things in black and white no matter what film was loaded and unless you bought a special doodad, you had to compose your pictures upside down.
      2) I STILL periodically forget to remove the lens cap. Every time it happens, I get hysterical … then I check the cap.
      Too much technology, too few brains!

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    • Your mother-in-law is not alone. I too am astounded I can take photos with my phone. I have occasionally actually used a phone to take pictures when I had no other choice, but I will never feel “right” taking pictures with a non-camera. It messes with my so-called head! I have accepted the concept of getting and receiving email on my phone because communications and telephones have some inherent relationship … but photographs should be taken by cameras, dammit. God said said. He told me personally!

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      • Hahahaha – so true. When we went on the road trip recently I forgot to take my camera battery charger so I had to take all the pics with my phone. It felt so ‘unnatural’ 🙂

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