I have a new camera. Well, it’s a few months old now.
It is a Fuji Finepix S9600 – it’s an almost-but-not-quite SLR. It’s pretty darn heavy, weighing in at about 750gms without batteries inside, which is somewhat contrary to my plan to get a camera to take hiking with us. It’s also pretty bulky, having a massive, don’t-mess-with-me zoom. But it’s the best on the market for what I want.
We took it with us to Sweden where we spent a mere weekend in Stockholm and then proceeded to hike through Swedish Lapland, inside the Arctic Circle, where there was 24-hour daylight.
What does round the clock daylight mean for photography? The wrong light, always. Never that slopey-angle orange toned light of dawn or dusk, always that overbright, overhead light that makes playing with the exposure of a photograph complicated.
Also, because we were impatient fools, we forgot to set the camera to store photos on its highest quality setting. Many of our photos (and there are many) were a bit disappointing. Not because we are not brilliant photographers (ha!) but because we used the second highest quality setting. That edge of great images was just ever so slightly lost. Woe, woe, woe.
Just means we have to go back.
My partner is the landscape photographer. I do not seem to have an eye for landscapes. Rather, I am the details photographer. You can always tell who had the camera at what stage because there will be a series of landscapes, some with Oanh in, (my partner has the camera), then a series of close ups of flowers and a shot of my partner looking off in the distance or mucking about with the tent or otherwise keeping himself occupied while I contort myself for the perfect shot of a flower in situ (I have the camera, of course).
Another reason why I am not the landscape photographer is that I have an unerring ability to render my horizons … slanted. There are any number of series of photos where the horizon or ground gets slowly, inchingly, straighter. Even with the camera set to display lines, I manage to take slant-angled horizon photos. Just a talent.
I am also the director of photography. While my partner holds the camera, I sometimes say, “Make a photo of that!” Or I am trying to take a photo of something but my height prevents me from making the shot that I want, so I hand the camera over to my partner and ask him to take some shots from his height. Occassionally, we have a bargy over who took which photo.
When I was travelling with my sisters in Viet Nam, we each had a digital camera and together, took rather a lot of photos. One photo in particular, The Accountant really liked and proclaimed that she took it. We were on a walk alongside the beach at Vung Tau. In the background numerous Viet flags fly. In the foreground walk my sisters, my mother, my aunts and uncle and cousins, all spaced out in a very aesthetically pleasing fashion. I argued with the Accountant, trying to tell her that I took the photo, but she refused to believe me. She insisted that she took it. Finally, I resort to stabbing at the figures in the photo – “Look! There’s the Vegetarian! There’s Um! There’s Y*! And Vuong**! Where am I? There YOU are! You CAN’T have taken the photo!” She conceded that perhaps she was wrong.
My partner and I cannot have such clear proof of who took what photo, although a negative version of this argument occurred over a photo of what I thought to be nothing in particular.
My partner: It’s of you!
Me: Me? Where? I’m not in this picture.
My partner: [pointing at a blackish shape on the left hand side of the picture, beside some bluish shapes] There you are. It was Alesjaure. You were chillin’.
Me: What? Oh yeah, Oanh like a rock. There I am indeed. So you took this photo? It’s one of your crappier photos, man.
Me: Oanh has the camera! Nice buttercups. Lovely depth.
My partner: I took this photo.
My partner: Yes, I did.
Me: Oh. Okay, perhaps.
The following are definitely photos I took:-
My favourite of the myriad wildflowers (fjallblumen, lit. mountain flowers) we saw. I’m naming them ‘Bog Cotton Flowers’.