Monday, April 30, 2007

Indecisive Moment II

For a split-second, everything was perfect. The clouds parted and an isolated beam of sunlight fell through the window, onto our ordinarily rather prosaic landing, transforming it, momentarily, into something more dynamic and theatrical. Susie Cat, ever the sun-worshipper, planted herself firmly in this spotlight, looking, in my eyes at least, even more regal than usual. My camera-brain, the one that lets me know when modern technology might fail me, was whirring like clockwork and, unlike later in the week when I'd get really muddy, was giving me useful, faultless advice.

I pre-focused my increasingly trusty Olympus C-5050, visually checked composition on the LCD screen, and gently, gently, depressed the shutter.

But the C-5050 isn't a digital SLR. Like most digicams, there's a tiny lag between the moment the shutter is pressed and when the picture is taken. Some reviews record that this lag is around 0.2s in length. And, somewhere, in that fraction of a second, in the way that some people in group shots must blink, Susie decided to stick her tongue out at me...

Talk about comic timing.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Olympus XA, first manufactured in 1975, was a stroke of genius from the mind of Yoshihisa Maitani, the man who brought you the path-breaking Olympus OM series. Maitani has always been obsessed with small cameras: the OM cameras were 35% smaller and lighter than any of the competition; you could fit the half-frame Pen camera into a shoe - and still have room in there for several interchangeable lenses; the pocket-sized Olympus Mju was one of the most successful compact cameras ever.

The XA is the smallest 35mm rangefinder camera ever built. You can manually focus it, select film speed and apertures, attach a flash and, most importantly, it had a radically, phenomenal six-element 35mm lens on it. It was also kind of fiddly and though that appealed to some people, it didn't to others who had SLRs for fiddly work and wanted something simpler, without compromising on quality, for their shirt-pocket point-and-shoot.

Enter the Olympus XA2 in 1980. It shares the same iconic shell design, the same feather-light electromagnetic shutter which does a fantastic job of minimizing camera shake but, instead of aperture priority, it offers a simple full-program mode and, instead of rangefinder focusing, it's got a simple, three-step focusing scale.

It's puppy-sized and lovely, and I'm looking forward for a good, bright day, when I'll be taking it out on the streets, loaded with a roll of monochrome film. What is making me giggle most nerdishly, though, is in the care instructions at the back of the manual:

Drop it in water, and angels will pray over it; drop it on the ground, and it will hurt its leg...


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In the garden...

...There are ladybirds, shuffling in the emerald grass. If you listen closely, you can almost hear their footsteps...

There are tiny birds, with delicate plumage, tweeting for the joy of spring:

And a certain little cat takes an interest in all these things:

Except maybe not so much the ladybirds...

Monday, April 02, 2007


On Saturday, I found wallabies, a bus-ride from my house. And, today, I found this little guy, a forty minute train journey away, on a beach at Bridlington...

Well I never...

I never thought I'd see wallabies in Hull
Lounging in the park like teenagers
at an open-air concert...
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