For a whole variety of reasons, 2016 has been a horrible year for the Robbins household. Sticking to the photography-related ones, I just can't get going at all despite constant attempts to jolly myself along. It's just not working for me photographically-speaking. Sometimes when a striker finds himself going through a barren patch in front of goal the manager will say he's not worried because the player keeps getting into good scoring positions. I'm not even managing to do that. It's not that I'm skying it over the bar from six yards out but rather that I just can't seem to "see" a photograph at all.
Regular readers might remember that this has been going on for a year or longer where I'm concerned. I've written about it a couple of times. There's what seems like a malaise hanging over me that's killing my enthusiasm and my creative eye. I'll just have to keep plugging away and hope that it turns around at some point. Today was a case in point. I dropped Cath off at a friend's house in Fife and had a few hours to while away, a bit of freedom I used to revel in.
The light wasn't looking great but I thought it was a good opportunity to get back in the saddle after Christmas and see what I could come up with. Very little was the answer at the end of the day. What light there was was out over the North Sea so I headed to the coast to see if I could make the most of it. It remained resolutely over the water and barely touched land. This wasn't the miserable and moody weather that I don't mind but just that bland, featureless greyness that turns every scene into the equivalent of a photograph of your cat or that tulip at the bottom of the garden. Pointless, in other words.
I was well-prepared as well having the night before looked out my Olympus gear and filled a large bag with a comprehensive outfit knowing that it would be mainly confined to the car boot. I ended up in Lower Largo, home of Andrew Selkirk upon whom the Robinson Crusoe character seems likely to have been based. This was a bit of a walkabout so I had the 50mm f2 Zuiko macro on the OM1 and a 24mm Zuiko in my coat pocket, the rest staying in the boot. The film was the usual Tmax 400.
Lower Largo is a strange wee place, a fishing community stretched out along the coast but with an incongruous viaduct dominating the scene behind the harbour. Apparently, the viaduct was built to provide a railway link for all those mad Victorians who were desperate to see Selkirk's home town. This seems decidedly weird behaviour to me but I suppose you had to get your jollies where you could in those pre-internet days. Maybe it equates nowadays to something like making a "pilgrimage" to the Kardashians' mansion. There's a sign somewhere in the town, which I couldn't find, that points to the island 7000 miles away where Selkirk was marooned.
|The viaduct to nowhere.|
|The Railway Inn (very well thought of, btw) which must have enjoyed a brisk|
trade pre-Beeching - and the Premier shop where I enjoyed an egg
mayo sandwich post-photography.
|General Greyness - Scotland's most decorated soldier. The ugly building in the|
background is the Crusoe Hotel.
Dr Beeching, the butcher whose cost-cutting report on the nation's railway network killed off hundreds of wee stations in the 1960s, did for Lower Largo's link to the outside world as well, leaving the disused viaduct as a cruel reminder of what used to be.
I took a few shots of the harbour, looking into the sun, but I don't think there will be anything special there. It didn't help that the meter needle on my OM1 was jumping around like Beeching would have been doing had I been able to attach electrodes to his gonads and wire them up to the mains. This had me in a bit of a foul mood because it left me without a functioning Olympus body - and I've got five of the buggers! Take a look at that useless lot below.
The big Minolta SRT 101 is excused as he's just waiting for a roll of film but the four OM2s are just useless lumps of metal at the moment. I had them on my desk as three of the OM bodies and the Minolta all needed new seals. The three chrome OM2s should hopefully be fine once new batteries arrive next week but the black one, which was my main 35mm SLR, still has a slipping problem when winding on. Supposedly (so says internet wisdom) this fault can be circumvented by using a motor drive to wind the film on. I gave that a go and it seemed to work but now the camera occasionally jams with the Winder II attached. With the OM1's St Vitus meter needle becoming increasingly irregular (it'll be twerking next week) I'm now a bit stuck as far as Olympus goes.
I picked up the chrome OM2s in various auction lots for not a lot of money and I've never used them as they all needed seals, batteries and a good scrub. I'm hoping there's nothing amiss with them when the batteries arrive as it's not economically viable to have them repaired. The OM1 can still be used along with a handheld meter or just Sunny f2.8 as it is up in Scotland at this time of year but it's not ideal really.
Thankfully, or sadly depending on how you view these things - I vacillate between the two, I've still got more than a few alternatives where SLRs are concerned. I bought a few packs of AA batteries for the Contax 137MA that ran out of juice a couple of weeks ago and for it's siblings who sit unused in an aluminium flight case waiting for the draft. I've got a wee Pentax K outfit and some Nikon gear as well - and my growing but as yet untested Pentax screw outfit - so the Olympus thing is more like a half-hearted rebellion than a serious coup.
It wasn't so long ago I was bemoaning the fact that I'd accumulated far too many 35mm SLR cameras and lenses but now I'm glad I did. I got them when prices were rock bottom but they've been steadily climbing for a year or two now and it would cost me quite a bit more than I paid to replace them. And they won't half come in handy as the odd SLR body gives up the ghost.
Of course, all this blather will be fairly irrelevant if I can't stop my enthusiasm giving up the ghost first. There are numerous ways of overcoming the doldrums but I'm going to stick with dogged determination. After all, it worked for Andrew Selkirk and helped him find his way back home from the middle of nowhere and I'm not quite that lost.