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In photography circles, it's not at all uncommon to hear people talk of new camera gear more than they talk about photography. You may think this is an affliction suffered only by digital shooters who are faced with a never-ending succession of newer and better cameras, but that isn't true. Us film shooters are just as susceptible to the onset of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), however it manifests itself differently. There aren't many new cameras to lust after, but there is a vast supply and variety of old cameras to be found at used camera stores, pawn shops, consignment stores, flea markets, thrift stores, antique shops, auction houses, estate sales...
A couple of weekends ago, my wife and I visited a local antiques mall. My mission: see if there were any interesting cameras. There were. Frankly, much of it seemed overpriced. I wasn't interested in anything which takes obsolete, hard to find film because whatever I find is intended to be a "user" camera at least sometimes, and bar ...
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It would be entirely reasonable to say that I'm not really an outdoors person, historically speaking. Much of my later childhood was spent hunched over a computer, squinting at a fuzzy TV screen in a darkened room, blattering out line after line of BASIC for my experiments in back-room software engineering. I made that a college education, then a career which has now lasted over 15 years, and when I went home from work, I killed time by...sitting at a computer.
I didn't get out much, really.
Photography, and particularly my tendency toward landscapes, has forced me to re-assess my former aversion to the outdoors. It's hard to get a compelling landscape photo when you're keeping your couch warm, after all, and sitting around watching TV or posting to internet forums isn't making me feel like a fulfilled human being. This has meant doing things that I'm largely unaccustomed to, such as hiking along narrow woodland trails in the heat and humidity of a Virginia summer with camera equipme ...
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Earlier in the summer, I had a Sunday morning opportunity to spend a couple of hours in Lynchburg, Virginia, about an hour east of where I live. It's not really somewhere that I'd have put high on my list of places to spend time with a camera, if I'm being honest, but circumstance put me there for a morning.
I planned ahead and decided to go for a walk along the James River. I opted for the 1959-vintage Yashica A twin-lens reflex, tripod mounted as my camera for the trip, ably assisted by the Gossen Luna Pro F meter, some Ilford FP4+ film and my usual contrast filters.
Sometimes, plans don't quite work as you expected, and sometimes those plans-gone-awry turn out to be better than you'd intended. I never did find out how to get to the river, but I did explore what turned out to be a rather large public park, with some very characterful old trees (what is it about square format and trees?) and a bonus railway locomotive.
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