A reminder to myself first…
When celebrating special religious or secular or personal events, be, first of all, present for them. Be active, participate, take part. The memories you build with be of far more value to you, your loved ones, and your fellow participants than anything else.
If you must take along a toy, a phone, camera, or other diversion—make sure it a) is unobtrusive, b) does not distract you from being present, and c) that you know what you can expect from it.
Take me, today, for example. I hemmed and hawed about which camera and film to take along for several days prior to today. Late yesterday, I settled on the LC-A: it’s small, relatively unobtrusive, and is capable of reasonable quality. I checked it this morning, and found that, indeed, the batteries were dead; luckily I had some on hand and replaced them this morning, early.
I also decided on taking along a couple of rolls of Labeauratoire’s Kodak Hawkeye 400: it’s decent, relatively fast, the rolls are short, and it’s the only 400 speed film that I had decent stock of. I wanted to shoot, develop asap, and get to sharing anything good as soon as possible, and shorter rolls mean that finishing one off a half-shot one would go more quickly than, say a 36 exposure roll.
I left the LC-A in my pocket for most of the time, and shot at moments when I wouldn’t disturb anyone too much, including myself and my participation in the events. I haven’t processed most of the pictures yet, but I ran into a couple of issues. First…
There were two, two frame sections that were completely blank. That’s roughly 20% of the roll… I’m not sure what happened. Two of them were taken indoors with a rather strong backlight. The shutter snapped quickly and I expected correctly exposed window and underexposed subjects, but instead they came out blank. The other two were taken outside, in the middle of the day, under bright sun: one of my wife’s skirts billowing as she walked, the other of some roses outside one of the houses we visited. Both should’ve come out and I see no reason why they wouldn’t. It’s almost as if the shutter didn’t open or something.
Second, the last roll of Hawkeye that I shot had about 22 or 23 frames on it, and so when the LC-A stopped winding at frame 19, I assumed it was jammed, hit the winder release button and continued winding and shooting. When it hit frame 25, I figured something was probably wrong, and so went into the closet, opened the back, and felt around a bit: I was at the end of the roll, and the film was just spinning around the take-up spool as I wound… The last 5 or 6 frames were exposed one on top of the other (it’s yellow because I did no color correction on these blank frames…):
So it was the end of the roll, that little bit of hesitation I felt at frame 19 was the end of the roll, and I shot the next 5 or 7 frames on top of the exposed bit of film Labeauratoire uses to attach “his” film to the recycled spools, and so that little yellow bit on the left with the colored stripes is all that remains of those last frames…
No idea what happened with those 4 completely blank shots, but it was something that wouldn’t have gone wrong with, say, the FG, and something that would’ve been of no concern at all with, say the X70 that I bought to carry around to events like this: it’s nearly as small, and, while digital, is capable of greatness.
But Capture One doesn’t support the X70 yet, and I tend to shoot too much with it and didn’t want to be distracted with technology instead of participating in this holiday with my family.
Alhamdulillah, at least I was (mostly) present. I ran out of social energy after 5 houses and about 6 hours of constant interaction: better than any previous Eid, and my personal best. Alas, I had two more houses to visit, and was somewhat less present at both. (I’d realized my error by then and loaded a second roll of Hawkeye into the 35 ZF, so maybe there will be a few more pictures one of these days, though I’m so far behind it’s crazy).
Again, a reminder to myself first: be present, don’t let your presence be mediated by technology, don’t force your family to take a backseat to some toy, and don’t let some commodity get between you and God.