it from him

Whilst moving the amp from behind our sofa to a small corner in the vast ParentLoftSpace counts as a major space-saving move, bringing my old film camera back to Lincolnshire saves little space but does at least reduce the likelihood of it falling foul of a conversation containing the questions "does it still work?" and "are you ever likely to use it again?" and possibly even "is it worth anything on eBay?" in reply to which "not properly", "probably not" and "bugger all" would be the honest responses, making "do we have to keep it?" a likely follow-up question. I already maintain a fair few boxes of useless crap for sentimental reasons but when they have measurable errors in their shutter timings their ability to survive clear-outs and crap-purges is much reduced.

Though not the last picture I took, this is the last usable frame of the poor-quality colour film I stuck through it when not buying a couple of rolls of B&W in Edinburgh before heading south turned out to be underestimating the uselessness of the shop in the village. My pneumatic remote release turned out to have perished and been disposed of some time ago but I managed to get the shutter held open with a paper-clip and some tape so that the camera could be left in the garden pointing up at the exceedingly clear sky for half an hour or so at a time, though the results look quite like unexposed frames. After a popular high-street chemist make a complete fuckup of the printing (introducing exciting modern techniques like digital noise and sharpening artefacts) this had to be extracted by making a little negative-viewing device from a cereal box and some tracing paper, so in a way it's handy that not many of the frames were usable.

The original plan had been to get an old Nikon 35mm analogue SLR from eBay in order to be able to use it with my existing lenses to get some nice long exposures of the non-light-polluted rural sky without the noise problems a DSLR would have over an extremely long exposure but the Royal Mail excelled themselves in ensuring that the parcel containing the camera remained well out of reach until out return to Edinburgh in the new year. Had I not attempted to use the Praktica BX20 for long exposures there might have been one or two more usable shots but even in ideal conditions (and using decent film) I don't think the combination of a dodgy shutter, slightly out-of-alignment focus-handicapping focussing screen and slightly loosening lenses are capable of what they once were, though the large and bright view through a full-frame viewfinder still works. At some point I'll fish out some of my old negatives or prints, starting with those taken on the day this camera was bought; I remember being quite pleased with the relatively extreme sharpness of the twigs and branches in the picture of a tree, though it took a while for me to stop looking at things like that and start thinking about the arrangements.

As it's nicely arranged in a bag (the original bought alongside them, a fetching black cuboid with red piping) with all its lenses it should hopefully be safe, and has already survived discovery by parents when they moved everything out of the room I left it in during their ongoing redecorations. It did occur to me to take a picture of it but I never got round to it, so it'll hopefully still be on a shelf somewhere when I next visit.

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