the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur

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But it's a sin if you enjoy it

The subject line is from a post I was going to make the other day. I don't remember what it was now, but the subject line amuses me out of context so I am going to leave it undisturbed.

I've got a bit of a backlog of pictures to process and upload for my "Picture a Day" project, plus there are a couple of gaps I will have to back-fill. The wrapper I posted earlier today counts.

I have also been a bit negligent in my plan to scan and post random negatives from our big box of pictures in the other room. Since this is meant as a "when I think of it" rather than an everyday thing, I am not too concerned.

I scanned two of them today because I forgot to use the Int() function in Excel when I had it generate the number for which print to scan, and it kicked out 2.5xx. Rather than round up or down, I decided to just use prints 2 and 3, especially since print 3 was a much nicer one anyway.

I recognize these from the zoo here, though I am not exactly sure which year they were taken; it would either be '94 or '97. I am leaning toward the latter date since they bear the mark of pictures taken after I learned how to start getting better shots out of my Canon.

I retired my old Yashika in 1994 when its sticky shutter and minor light leak by the hinge both became too annoying. It was an aperture-priority camera with manual focus, and not a lot of other fancy features other than an exposure lock (which I loved). Its other best feature was its 50mm Contax f/1.7 lens. When I replaced it with the canon, it came with an f/2.0 lens. I later purchased a decent Tamron zoom for it, which was nice but zoomed a little too freely, making it difficult to take tripod shots with the camera very far off level.

My first couple rolls of film off the Canon were very disappointing, and they made me go back and rethink a lot of what I thought I knew about cameras. It was my first true point and click camera where everything, including the focus, was automatic. I laid out the first couple sets of pictures and tried to figure out if the problem was with me or the camera - well, I honestly knew the problem was with me, but the trick was figuring out what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to fix it.

The first thing that jumped out at me when I had all the pictures spread out was that they were all composed very poorly. It occurred to me that I was letting the autofocus on the camera dictate the composition. Here is a quick diagram of what I mean. The [] are the picture borders, the O is the main focus of my picture, and the small x's are secondary elements. When I focused manually, I would compose the picture like this and then ensure that O was properly focused:

[ O x x ]

With the AF, a lot of my pictures looked like this:

[ O x ] x

I had become so enthralled with having everything automatically done for me that I was letting the camera dictate the shot. It took a couple more rolls of mediocre prints to adapt, but eventually I got into the habit of shooting in Aperture or Shutter priority rather than full automatic, and adjusting the focus matrix or using the "half shutter button then recompose" technique to get the pictures composed the way I wanted.

I was quite pleased with the results I was getting from the camera by the end, and was somewhat reluctant to retire it for digital when we moved to the Olympus. I don't think it ever gave me results quite as good as the Yashika, but I think the lenses were largely responsible for that.

I remember kicking myself for the couple of snow leopard pictures on my roll, and this was the last one I ever shot where I made the mistake of centring the animal's head in the frame, rather than framing the whole animal. As you can see from the next shot, I even caught myself and adapted as I went.
Negative Roulette 2012-02-20

I rather like this picture. The zoo had a couple of thoroughly fat raccoons (who are, sadly, long gone). I suspect we were there around feeding time because they were emerging and taking a keen in interst in us from their pen.
Negative Roulette 2012-02-20
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