Friday, October 14, 2005

More Light

It's been raining for days. Camerawoman and bicycleman are depressed. The promised return of the sun gets pushed back daily. Late Saturday, maybe, the weatherman says, oddly tentative. We suspect he is lying to bolster public morale. We suspect he knows something we don't know. The sun has gone on permanent hiatus, or at least a lengthy sabbatical. It's been replaced by old steel wool.

"The sun will return," the weatherman crows, his voice edged with hysteria, "and then it will be breezy."

Breezy ! fumes camerawoman, picturing grassy seedheads pitching wildly back and forth in the viewfinder. Great. More blur.

Camerawoman is beginning to understand blur. It has taken her deeper into optics than she has cared to venture. Focal length ! "Fast" lenses ! My God why didn't someone TELL her that "zoom" is not the same thing as "telephoto" ! And what the hell is EV anyhow ?

Camerawoman bought a fast lens, a prime lens -- the fabulously sharp and fabulously cheap Nikon 50mm f/1.8 -- at the local Very Serious Camera Store. She approached the Dour Serious Men at the sales counter, hoping not to flub the jargon, hoping not to appear the neophyte that she was. She was doing fine until Dour Serious Man said, answering a question she'd ventured, that obtaining a reversing ring for the 50mm 1.8 would be "interesting."

"Interesting ?" she asked.

He said muttered something fast, pithy and incomprehensible about "metering."

Oh yes ! I see !

She didn't, actually.

Camerawoman has a long history of blundering enthusiasms.

In high school camerawoman, a bad marching band clarinetist, somehow came into an old trumpet. She taught herself a few scales and begged Mr. G., the band director, to let her play third trumpet in the band's next half time show. How hard could it be ? Some half notes, some rests. Left right left.

It did not go well.

By the 30 yard line, left right left became pfft, gasp, pffft. There was little or no music. There was jaw pain and dyspnea. It was camerawoman's first and last gig as trumpet player.

Then there came the saxophone. The battered, silver alto sax. How cool was that ? Mr G., remembering the trumpet fiasco, drew the line at the sax. Camerawoman would show him. She and her buddies would form their own band ! After all, the high school talent show was coming up. They'd enter ! Marjorie would play drums, Carlene was a fellow clarinetist and Marilyn -- the only real musician in the bunch -- would play the piano. Camerawoman, of course, would play the battered silver saxophone. They rode the Greyhound Bus into Boston and got some sheet music at Carl Fischer's. Marjorie's Mom sewed up four matching hot pink cotton dresses with psychedelic polyester sleeves. They practiced. Giggled. Ate oreos.

They were geeky, grotesque, and their rendition of "I've Got Rhythm" and "Windy" won first prize. Camerawoman has the trophy to prove it.

She just wishes someone -- equipped with a fast telephoto zoom and blur-reducing tripod -- had thought to take a picture.

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