Friday 24 October 2008

Back To The Eighties

I haven't been out much over the last week on account of being a bit under the weather. That hasn't actually changed today, but I thought I'd better post something on my blog to prevent it stagnating completely. I am, as you are probably aware, dead keen on this new fangled digital photography, it's just all made so easy isn't it? Back in the 1980's I got my first (well actually ONLY) SLR camera for my sixteenth birthday. It was a Zenith E, a Soviet 'masterpiece of engineering' which in an emergency could easily be utilized as a hammer! It was practically indestructible! I dropped it down a cliff once!! I wanted to take pictures of wildlife, especially birds so also acquired a monster lens, actually I don't recall the exact size, I think it may have been a 350mm. I do remember it was very heavy and also difficult to use. I don't recall ever getting the hang of it really. I took some pictures with it and for some reason was really pleased with them at the time. Here's one of the better ones, and its bad, really bad:

Wow, another stunning close up!

I'm not showing you any more, they're far too embarrassing. Here's one taken without the 'benefit' of the long lens, one of my better efforts:

A Genuine Vagrant Wood Duck

The good thing about the Zenith is that you didn't really have to think about the aperture setting too much, because a method which almost always worked was to open the aperture fully, focus on the subject, then stop down the aperture until the view in the viewfinder was just a shade darker than in the real scene 'et voila'! I was too lazy to do all the photography thing properly. It probably shows! This is why I love the new 'foolproof' digital cameras of today, take my Canon S3 for example, just whip it out of your bag/pocket, point in general direction of obliging bird and press shutter. Then you don't even have to wait, just look into the viewfinder, select playback and enjoy frame filling shots like this:

Typical Canon S3 Fare. What could be easier?

While looking through my old photos I also found this one, a duck I didn't even remember having seen.

An armchair tick!?

Obviously another genuine wild bird, which only appears to be ambling around on a lawn. I really don't remember where or when this was taken, but I know it's a Red-crested Pochard and I also know it's on my list!

I had my trusty Zenith for many, many years and it saw me through all the fieldwork for my degree. As I was studying geology its rugged build ( and inbuilt hammer capability) was particularly appreciated. The lens cap was an invaluable tool for showing scale in my many fascinating photographs of fossil burrows. "Fossil burrows, wow, that sounds interesting" I can hear you thinking, so I'll treat you to a sample, like so:

This picture shows a superb example of a Diplocriterion parallelum burrow, taken at a location just to the east of Weymouth called Bowlease Cove. Yes I know the burrow's upside down!!!

I also found this incredibly embarrassing photo, it was taken in 1985, when I was nineteen and at college in Derby. I was lucky enough to be a teenager in the eighties 'the decade that fashion forgot' and so got to wear fabulous ensembles like this!! Those of you who know me, also know I tend to have a penchant for stupid hats. I started this many moons ago, as you can see! Laughing isn't compulsory!

Eighties elegance!?

I think that cone up the tree is a nice touch. Yes, look at the cone NOT the hat!

I'm going to see some birds of interest tomorrow, Ring Ouzels or better I hope. I'll have my S3 so watch this space.....


Gavin Haig said...

Very chic ;-) Biggish hair perhaps, too? What is it with students and traffic cones?

Karen Woolley said...

Biggish hair!!! I was a stranger to hairspray I'll have you know. :)