Flash Fail

I don’t like using a flash when I take pictures. I just don’t like the way it looks. I use it sometimes, all of the indoor Christmas decorations pics from yesterday (except the owl) had the flash on, but generally speaking I avoid it as much as possible. When I was a kid and we had our cheap little point and shoot camera I thought the flash was a requirement. When Dad bought his SLR he had a separate flash that mounted on top of the camera but I don’t really remember him using it at all. The only times I remember him using the camera were outside during the day. Specifically, our one trip to Niagara falls where he let me use the camera for a while and I realized I kinda loved it.

When my sister found the camera in Dad’s dresser the flash was there and I took it with the rest of the stuff. I never tried to use it though, until today. I knew from my million or so viewings of how-to-use-your-manual-slr videos on the youtubes that there is a shutter speed setting for using an external flash. What about the aperture though? How do I know how to set that? Back to the youtubes I go. I watched a couple of videos this morning and it made perfect sense. The flash has an ISO setting and when you set it to your current film speed it tells you what aperture to use and the approximate distance the flash will be effective.

I set up my film camera, which currently does not have any film in it, to see if I could at least get the flash to flash. The unit wouldn’t turn on so the batteries must have been dead. I found the battery door, opened it up and… The last time the batteries were changed was probably some time in the mid 80’s. They have been sitting there all of those decades and one of them leaked like crazy. I was pretty surprised that only one of them leaked, but it was enough. The terminals are all corroded and changing the batteries didn’t work. I watched still more youtubes on cleaning battery connections and I know what I need to do before I try again, I am just not entirely sure I want to bother trying. Like I said at the start, I don’t like using a flash. I might try to use it on Christmas morning, or something, but other than that? I don’t really see myself going through the trouble of setting it up. Maybe this weekend I’ll try to clean the terminals, just to see how that goes. Until then, I am not going to worry about it.

On an unrelated note, our plans for New York this weekend have been canceled. Not because of Covid-19 paranoia, but because of some back pain issues. We’re still planning to go to Bellana’s concert in Vermont on Sunday. We’ll have to see how it goes. I doubt I’ll bring a film camera there. It’ll be too dark in the room and I don’t want to use a flash.

Harry is Home

Harry is home and it’s glorious!

Not sure what we have on the agenda today. Jen and Harry are going to go shopping for desserts for tomorrow’s mini-thanksgiving. I am going to make short visits to both parents. Also, in film camera news, there are train tracks running behind the rehab facility that Dad is currently visiting and I have black and white film in the camera… cliche, anyone?

I did 30 minutes of faux running today already. My sort of plan these days is 45 minutes on weekdays and 30 on weekends to give my feet a little bit of a break. I haven’t closed my calorie/move ring, but it’s 2/3 closed. I’ll close it today, no sweat.

What else? I want to play some guitar today, but I want to hang around doin’ nuttin’ with Harry and Jen more so… National Solo Album Month may be dying on the vine this year. I might try to get up stupidly early this week and spend an hour or so recording using DI and amp sims rather than my Deluxe Reverb. That feels like cheating after all these years of only using a real amp, but what can you do.

I mentioned yesterday that I had a really bad time with lunch. The same thing happened with dinner. I dished out a little less than four ounces of food, took 2-3 bites, and hit the pain/nausea failure point. I ended up pausing dinner for an hour or so and then I was okay. I was nervous about breakfast today after two bad experiences in a row, but I am almost finished an I feel okay. Here’s hoping lunch and dinner go okay too.

All right, kids. Time to go get my shit together and go visit a couple of parents. We’ll talk later, m’kay? M’kay.


Dad’s camera is loaded with a roll of the cheapest film I could find. It fought me the whole way. It just wouldn’t stay on the track and roll on the roll. I’m guessing I flashed a bunch of shots, but we will have to see.

I took one picture of my beloved wife. I’ll wait for Halloween to take more, and that will probably be just a shot of the lit up pumpkin on the front step.

The film is ISO 100 which is super slow. I’m nervous that anything less than full sunlight is going to be too dark. Fortunately dad’s 50mm prime lens goes to f2 and let’s in a ton of light.

Things I’ve Learned Today

I have learned two things since getting my four rolls of film scans today. Both are very important.

First, the Ebay Nikon works fine. The lens feels like it’s starting to fall apart, which is concerning, and there is a little bit of a rattle in there somewhere when you’re moving around. Both concerning. I half expected all of the images to be destroyed by light leaks. I was seriously nervous.

Nope, most of the pictures look fine. Some are way better than just fine. Some are blurry messes. I think that might have been due to me fumbling with low light and slow shutter speeds. It is legitimately hard to focus that lens. That’s part of it too. User error to the max. Those failures are a statistically relevant percentage of the whole, but for the most part things look great. $17.50 well spent. Now if I can just get a 50mm prime with a really wide aperture. Nikon Acquisition Syndrome rears it’s ugly head.

The second thing I’ve learned is kinda stereotypical, kinda infuriating, and kinda really freakin’ funny.

I may be the King of sticking my finger in front of the lens. There are a bunch of pictures from both cameras where there is something in the way in the lower right hand corner of the image. It’s a bit of my left index finger. Most likely my knuckle. I picked up the Nikon and focused on a couple of things and then stopped myself to review where my left hand was sitting, and sure enough my big fat knuckle was sticking up and in the shot. Dumb ass. It doesn’t really ruin any of the pictures, but it’s something I am going to work on never ever doing again.

One bonus thing that I learned, setting the camera’s ISO to 200 when you’re using 400 is not really the end of the world. The first time I changed film in the Nikon I took out a roll of Kodak Gold 200 and put in a roll of FujiFilm 400 and forgot to change the ISO setting. I didn’t notice until after I had taken 6-7 pictures. I expected them to be train wrecks. They weren’t. They seem a little overexposed, but not terribly. They all look pretty good.

Overall, I am pleased with what I see. I’ll post them on the other page and then reblog them here. I am going to try and limit myself to one or two a day. These puppies need to last for a while.


I took my little Nikon film camera with me to visit my mother. The idea being if Waze took me home through downtown Andover I would stop and take a pic or two. Waze did not take me home through downtown Andover but it did almost kill me. Well, the schmuck who tried to pull out of the breakdown lane without getting a running start almost killed me. The camera was on the front seat and slamming on the breaks to avoid death hurled it off the seat and onto the floor.

So I was sitting here, in the living room, in between episodes of Stranger Things, and Patches was just sitting there on the floor watching me. I took a pic with my phone and then tried to take a pic with the film camera. You know, just to make sure it still works after the trauma of the car ride.

Just as I was about to hit the shutter button Patches stood up and started walking. The shutter speed was pretty slow so I was pretty sure the images was going to be a little blurry. The first thing I did after hearing the click of the shutter was look at the back of the camera… which is where the display would have shown the image if I had taken it with a digital camera… instead of taking it with a film camera, which I did.

I am such a tool.

Friday at Last

It wasn’t really a long week, but now that we’re up to Friday it suddenly feels like a long week. Eight hours and 11 minutes to go until the weekend. Who’s ready?

I was hoping for some car music today but I didn’t get a chance to write any lyrics last night. Maybe tomorrow. The plan as it stands now is to go to see a matinee of the new Thor movie tomorrow. That is both exciting and nervy. It will be our first visit to a movie theater since the pandemic started. That’s why we’re going to the first showing of the day. We’re hoping the place will be empty. We’ll see.

I thought about asking the bariatric surgery facebook group about the pros and cons of small amounts of popcorn, but then I re-declared the facebook boycott so… yeah. I’ll stick to water, thanks. Wicked smaht there, Robert.

I am going to visit my mother tonight. Hopefully I’ll get there once or twice more over the weekend. I need to stop by Dad’s too. We’ll see how things shake out.

I want to do some music, preferably car music and guitar playing and some lyric/melody/riff writing. The faux 50/90 is still happening, but I am about an astronomical unit* behind schedule. There are only six songs in the pipeline right now and none are even remotely close to finished. Also, July ends next week. I should have 13 songs complete by the end of the month. Not happening. Not even close. Still, it’s fun. I just need to get into the groove somehow. I was feeling pretty good on Wednesday. Let’s channel that and do some more.

Photography… I don’t know. Downtown Andover? Downtown Lowell? Boston and Cambridge? We’ll see. I want to have one or two more rolls finished (I have two finished now and one in progress) before I ship off to a lab somewhere, but that could take ages at this point. We’ll have to see.

Okay. Let’s get through the work day before we worry about any of this stuff. Happy Friday, folks!

*An astronomical unit is defined as the average distance between the Earth and the Sun. That is a perfectly accurate description of how far off the pace I am at the moment.

Photo a Day Weirdness

So I am not doing a third consecutive photo a day thing on Flickr. Nope. I am not two months away from completing a third year with at least one photo taken every single day without exception. Nope. Not doing it.

The film thing makes it weird. I took like 15 pictures today that will not get to Flickr for weeks at least, and will not even have exif data with the dates embedded into the file and the camera and lens used and the aperture and ISO and shutter speed. They are going to be just like… pictures… only. How strange is that? I am going to have to remember which cameras shot which images and which lenses they used. Well, the Nikon only has one lens but the Pentax has two.

So weird.

FG-20: It Seems to Work

I put film in the new/ebay camera. It was a little difficult getting it to advance. It moved okay when the door was open, but not at all when it was closed. I think I need to roll it back a little to tighten it. It seems that way at least.

I also have to remember to half-push the shutter to get the light meter to work. That has gone wrong once as my attempt to half push accidently turned into a full push. Woops. So far it seems to be advancing the film correctly. Hopefully that continues for… forever, I guess.

Now I just have to shoot the whole roll and get it developed so that I can know the whole thing actually really works instead of just feels like it works. I also need to know if there’s anything fatal with the lens. It seems okay, but focusing feels a little difficult.

It’s all very interesting.



Welp, I gots me a film camera that I can use when I would otherwise be nervous about dropping and breaking Dad’s film camera. The Ebay listing described the lens as wobbly. The focusing ring feels a little loose, but everything else seems okay. Fingers crossed, right?

All of the mechanical parts seem to be working fine. I don’t have film in it yet, but I will at some point soon. Lunch break just started, don’tchaknow.