Photography

Focus – lessons from a vintage camera

FocusAt one point all my photos were taken with a vintage Pentax from the 1970’s.  It was on loan to me from a family member and when I bought a Nikon film SLR back in 2001, I handed the Pentax back, thinking I wouldn’t miss it now I had my shiny new camera.

How wrong I was.

I not only missed the feel and smell of the camera, the sound of the shutter, the thumb action of the manual wind.  But also the clarity of the photos.  The sharpness.  The colours.

I recently found out the camera was sold for $10 in a garage sale during a house move.  I inwardly cringed when I thought of it going to someone who may not have cherished it as much as I did.  Hopefully that was not the case.

At the time I persisted with my new camera, trying to get to grips with it and produce the quality of photos I was used to.  Somehow I never quite got the hang of it and it was eventually relegated to the back of the cupboard and replaced by a small digital camera (Sony Cybershot) and more recently a digital SLR (Nikon D3200).

It turns out I would have been better paying $10 to keep the Pentax rather than the $1,000 or so I shelled out for the shiny new SLR and zoom lens which I hardly used on account of the space it took up.  But that’s not really the point.  The point is that when I think about using the Pentax, what I really miss most of all is the moment of focus.

Yes, I know, I can use manual focus on a digital SLR too but for some reason it’s just not the same.  Why is that?  I think it may be something to do with the simplicity of the old Pentax.  It was so easy to focus yet if you messed it up it could ruin your shot.  There was something about those few seconds of holding ones breath, looking once more at the shot through the lens, and slowly getting the perfect focus before finally pressing down on the shutter button.

It’s all so easy nowadays, isn’t it?  Just stick the camera on autofocus and away you go.  Looking through the lens but at the same time not really looking.  You can take as many shots as you like until you get a good one.  It’s the same with computers, smartphones and social media where we are reading everything but not really reading anything at all.  How can we?  It’s impossible to take in all the information we are bombarded with.

Our focus has become splattered in a million directions and we, as a result, have become splattered in a million pieces.  Knowing a little about everything, doing a little of everything.  Without any real focus or depth.

Obviously some people have an amazing ability to focus and get things done.  Me?  Not so much.  Which is why I’m going back to basics and reminding myself of the vintage Pentax and the point of focus.  It never let me down when I was taking a photo.  Maybe it could help me now.

Pause.  Reflect.  Focus.  Act.

It’s time to turn off autofocus and see if I can make this my motto for 2015.

Oh, and if you know of a 1970’s Pentax that needs a good home, please give me a shout ♥

One week in July

Here’s a little picture postcard of a week in western France in July ♥Breakfast on the porch Small elephant hawk-moth Cycling to the river Bikini days Lazy afternoons Handmade lipbalm Spicy moroccan kefta Storm coming

Hope you’ve all had a great week where you are ♥

Feels like summer

It’s thirty-three degrees outside.  Baking hot, dry and still.  Even the snakes and lizards who normally love to laze in the sun have run for cover.  Lying in the shade of the tall trees, reading my book, watching the butterflies flutter by and the moorhen chicks nervously explore the edges of the pond, I feel my body relax into the hot earth, slowly surrendering to the heat and absorbing the feel of summer.  Here’s a little snapshot of summer where I am (click images to enlarge):

What’s it like where you are?  Leave me a comment and let me know ♥

Bordeaux in pictures

We visited the city of Bordeaux this weekend and fell in love with the place.  Grand buildings, interesting architecture, elegant wine bars, plentiful cafés, restaurants, shops, the impressive River Garonne, and of course lots of opportunity to discover the local wine.  Here’s a little photoblog so you can see for yourself.Bordeaux 3

Bordeaux 2

Bordeaux 4

Bordeaux 7Bordeaux 1Bordeaux 5Have you visited any interesting places recently?  Leave me a comment and let me know ♥

Friday photo – name that plant

One of the things I love about living in the middle of the countryside is being able to take a walk with my camera and see what’s new.  Changing colours, new crops, different plants and flowers that pop up and then disappear with the seasons.  It’s quite magical.

Sometimes I recognise the flowers and blossoms I see but I often have to look them up.  This time I thought I would ask you, my dear reader, to see if you can name my latest finds…

Any ideas?  I’d love for you to let me know in the comments.

Happy weekend wanderings ♥

Turn life upside down

Upside down

I love to see things from a different perspective and standing by the pond yesterday evening with my camera in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, I realised how we can so often miss the beauty of a moment when we look only for what we have always seen.

I’m a great fan of turning life on its head, shaking things up and doing something different.  You never know what you might get or how things might turn out…..

We’re off to the southwest of France and the Pyrenees tomorrow.  As usual we have nothing booked and no real plans but we have a car, a tent and a map.  What else do you need?  Mountains, lakes, beaches, forests, food, wine, walking, exploring.  Looking forward to it!

Happy April everyone ♥

As I walked out

Come and take a walk with me and my camera on a winter’s day in La Vienne, Western France…

I think I’m looking forward to spring!

Happy winter wanderings ♥