While this could easily be a reference to my brother, who will soon be joining me on the other side of the half-century mark, it is in fact a reference to the lens that our photo teacher recommended as a great all-around lens: the 50 mm with a wide aperture for interesting shallow depth of field photos. He confidently asserted that it would not be expensive and would be a good addition to our camera bags.
Not sure what his definition of “not expensive” is but this did not gibe with mine:
At the same time I was pondering this advice, I was puttering around in our basement looking for the lenses from my ca. 1984* film camera — which, like my dslr camera, is an Olympus — and found that I was already the proud owner of a 50 mm (ok, ok 49 mm) f/1.8 lens.
I started trying to figure out how to use it with my current dslr camera. It didn’t fit directly, and the first two calls I made to photography stores that will remain anonymous resulted in the advice that (1) this was impossible and (2) that it would cost me $150 for an adapter. Seriously: just that contradictory. But I went on ebay, ordered the adapter in the (blurry; damn!) foreground of the photo above — for $14 — and voila! I have a nifty fifty!
Clearly I need to learn more about how to use it, but damn it’s going to be fun!
BTW, I actually grew this pepper. But that is for yet another blog post.
* Faithful readers who are paying close attention and/or are related to me will say, “ca. 1984? but didn’t you say you got your 35 mm camera for high school graduation? And you graduated high school in 1978, so what gives?” The full answer to that will have to await another post that I’ve been meaning to write about having my backpack stolen in Singapore with my camera, money, and passport from the lobby of the Sheraton, putting my frantic mother** on a plane back to the States, contacting the law firm I was working for in Taiwan,*** being put in touch with a Chinese pop star who happened to be a friend of one of the partners, who loaned me money and took me out to dinner****, which allowed me to scramble around Singapore in a taxi getting a new passport, visa and plane ticket. I was cameraless until that summer when, back in the States and visiting friends in New York, I bought a new one almost identical to the graduation gift, and carried on with my untutored but enjoyable photographic career.
** You think I could have afforded the Sheraton on my own at that point??[UPDATE: ******]
*** And that is one of the other reasons for this post. Just the other day, I found myself trying to explain what a telex was. It was sort of 1984’s email in a way. You typed into a teletype machine in (say) the Sheraton in Singapore and it would print out momentarily at (say) a law firm in Taipei.
**** If you think the style disparity between me and Miss South Africa was vast, I only wish I had a photo of my dinner with Theresa Teng.***** But, alas, the thief had my camera.
***** Only when I googled her for this post did I learn that she passed in 1995 at a very young age. RIP, Theresa. You did a very good deed for a very lost and scruffy Waigwo student at the height of your stardom. Above and beyond.
UPDATE: ****** For the record — see Comment #1 — this was not my mother’s fault. I violated Travel Rule #1: Always Keep Your Backpack With You At All Times. I’ve also violated Travel Rule #2: Don’t Stay In A Hotel With A Preying Mantis on the Bed. And #3: Always Wear Sunscreen when Lying on A Beach Below the Tropic of Cancer, even in February. And many more, I’m sure. Live & learn!