Packing for the Desert (and constant heartbreak of broken cameras)

I have blogged so many times about the utter heartbreak one suffers at shooting with film equipment, and I am tempted mope back to that maudlin tome telling momentarily, given that I am struggling to pack some cameras for a trip.

My beloved Baldamatics (all four of the matching models) are broken and they’d normally be the first in the bag.  They leave an open and suppurating wound in my heart, they were, nay: are, my photography mojo.  Maybe one might avail itself to me soon -  ah, nota bene!

Instead, I will completely cherish what I have that can capture the charisma and light of where I am coming to.  I’m off to a place with desert light and dreamy days.  A place promised to be healing for its madness.  Abu Dhabi, here’s what I am packing for you and why.

  • 4 rolls of Kodak Portra 160
  • 4 rolls of Kodak Ektar 100
  • 4 rolls of Ilford FP4 125
  • 20 frames of Fuji Instax Mini 

I don’t think I am going to find myself short of light in the desert, and so slow ISOs and films I love are going in my bag.  I’m going to be spending time with some friends, so candid, personal and shared memories on Instax are planned too.

Fuji Instax Mini 7s

For various reasons of whatever I don’t want to elucidate here, this photo causes me a lump in my throat and a rock in my stomach.  But, it is the best evidence I have of the capabilities of the little Fuji to capture sheer brilliance.  Credit card sized memories on call - yes please.

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Olympus Trip
I always neglect this little piece of photographic potential.  So it will be carried in place of a Baldamatic, they offer similar thrills.  Easy to use, almost no say in the matter of exposure and bombproof handling of light.  I’m taking some black and white film, so I want a reliable camera that can handle it.

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Canon 300D - Modified for Zuiko
It will carry either the 50mm or 24mm Zuiko and takes lovely photos with both, now that I’ve figured the exposure issue out.  Whilst I love film, sometimes I want to take 30 shots of the same thing, chimping and adjusting away until I achieve (being very humble here) perfection.
I can get it to do both hi-key low tonality and contrasty richness, straight out of the camera, as my hated of post processing is will documented.

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Olympus OM1
My OM1 is perfect, full stop.  This is a photo from a touristy trip to Japan, loaded with Kodak Portra - the tones and lusciousness are dreamy. The metering is foolproof, Zuiko glass makes me weak at the keens and with a 24mm and 50mm loaded I’ll be able to reportage and street photo to my heart’s content.
I repeat: my OM1 is the perfect camera.

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Pentax Zoom 70
I didn’t realise I would be taking this camera (still love ya, Mum).  And the more I think about it, the more I realise how much I will be shooting with it.  Don’t get me wrong, my self-imposed prime lens only maxim has been amazing to learn with.  But, late 2013 I am all about saying goodbye to each and everyone of my precious axioms, and so I will enjoy having 35-70mm and a flash on me.

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Clive SomervilleComment