Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Yay! A new camera at last with decent film ability. Had to grab a wee Canon Ixus 75. It was literally only a couple of years ago when I got given my first digital camera, weighing in at an unprecedented 3mp! This was to photograph hard climbs in black & white & stop other climbers going on & on about the lack of stills available, of any of my new routes or boulders. I'd never really bothered with photography before then, always working on the premise that since I don't have Alzheimers & the brain records images that convert into tales & myths with age, any digital camera is surplus to the act of being out there, simply living. Kind of a - I have a visual record, because I was there. If you want that as well, get out yer bed- philosophy. I also grew up in an age of film cameras & a vast array of disappointments, that ranged from trying to salvage film from seawater exposure to whole films being out of focus or just plain flat. The most visually stunning apparitions drift across your eye when you are either hanging from a few fingers above a death drop or tubing through a monster rogue wave, nails dug into the skin of your life. Try getting a camera out then. You also can't really just nip back up the Eiger becuase a few photos are naff... With the digital age upon me, the other thing I noticed, was the amount off shots I could waste, bin & retake, which ran into 100s on 100s. The anxious, twitchy, nerve sweated fingery executive decision that comes with pressing a film powered shutter release, & knowing you only have 23 more chances to get that shot & then a week to find out if you did, had suddenly vanished. I remember feeling like the holy incarnation of guilt itself, & can still recall the acute adjustment involved in realizing a wrong frame no longer mattered. A hundred & ten, two hundred & twenty frames, the shackles were off - enter the digital madman. Add that when you are at the peak of enthusiasm for climbing or kayaking, your thoughts are with the next day, or the next bit of kit or scrounging enough money for a ticket to god knows where...I wish we had cared more, taken time with film cameras, that I had kept the slides a year or two, a decade longer, recorded more moments with more intricacy, more Wadis more Himalayan odysseys, more river ascents & more expeditionary sea kayak adventures, more smiles of those who are now missing, but the priorities of youth differ from that & those with a greater longevity.

Film speeds or cameras rarely crossed my trivial mind, barely even registering as essential equipment. I still view it as non-essential, whereas the world beyond seems to have to record itself doing everything, every minute. Here's me, wearing shoes, two in one go...on my feet! Here's me standing up, sitting down, walking, Here's me & a random fence post, Japanese person, kebab, goat, taxi... Get a grip. The Bisy Backsons have records of doing everything & being everywhere without actually seeing or living any of it. Rather than supplementing a life in motion the Bisy Backson uses his camera to stand still & prove he is alive.
Well anyhoos, since converting under duress, my next camera having been a Minolta Dimage 7i, -which broke earlier this year in the Cuillin- it's been said I have an eye for the art, getting top gallery votes from the climbing world, whatever top gallery infers. The header artwork on this blog was put together by myself & again, a couple of years ago, I never knew I could weave light like this. A digital camera in conjunction with something like PSCS can produce some great results & when it's stormy force 10 outside, & the wires & the tiles are droning, & I've got the collie as a foot warmer, I'll tinker all night, sometimes days, by the fire to produce a black & white freeze frame that captures how it felt or how it can feel. The tools are reflective in that sense, almost an introvert meditation & celebration of the recent past - a time-out to recharge for the near future.
I see photography as a soundboard, a tool to express rawness with, a confidence booster & it's certainly become a new addiction. If a photo or digital still makes you want to be out there, if it sparks the soul, then it's a good photo. I'm building a collection on a limited budget. Next another Canon...an EOS 350D maybe, or a Ricoh GR, then a submersible web cam, kayak mounted. I should be able to hide the Ixus 75 in my armpit, under my Tuiliq when rolling! It will also get a DicApac house for deck mounting so I can see the bizarre facial gurns that plague paddling inverted. I'd review some of the pro-sumer underwater cameras by strapping to the belly of the kayak & going for a sea burn, play sandball with them ecetera, but I don't have the funds to buy them all.

The subdivision site will be called The Digital Darkroom & cover sea kayaking, movies of technical rolls, gymnastics, frame building, explorations & some rash decisions. Happiness is a black knife Anas Acuta, or an equivalent skin on frame of the same name after all, not a photograph of one.
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 12:44:00 |

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