Know your gear, and stay in practice

Lake Merritt Channel, Double Exposure

Here are some of the fantastically stupid things I’ve done or allowed to happen lately while shooting

* Double exposures
* Lost exposures from forgetting to insert darkslide before changing backs
* Lost exposures from forgetting to remove darkslide before exposing
* Watching ill-attached lens hood roll hundreds of feet down an extremely steep hill, to the bafflement of passers-by
* Jammed shutter due to premature winding
* Complete and utter bafflement upon realizing I have forgotten, yet again, which way to turn the crank to rewind my XA

Why have all these things happened to me? Is it because I’m an irredeemable moron? Yes, of course it is. But it’s not just that. It’s also to do with the fact that I’ve been shooting with all my cameras lately. Instead of doing what I usually do, which is shoot with one almost exclusively for several weeks at a time, I’ve been switching between my Koni-Omega, my RB67, my Bessa, my XA, and, to a lesser extent, my Nikkormat and D40. This makes it easier to lose track of the working rhythms that make operating each camera a smooth process. That means it takes me longer to do things, and it also means I’m much more likely to make mistakes.

Perhaps it’s a case of me owning too many cameras. I don’t think I’m quite ready to concede that, however, since none of my cameras are really redundant — unless I someday stop shooting birds, at which point I could perhaps sell off my Nikon gear. And certainly none of them is an exorbitant expense — all were the cheapest representative of their class, and almost all used. : )

In fact, what is probably called for is not avoiding camera changes, but getting more accustomed to swapping between cameras, and making _that_ working rhythm something which is habitual, and something which I can count on myself to bring off efficiently.

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