It's busy at work, in part because I'm taking a week off from the end of next week; we're going to Sweden to celebrate Midsummer with my parents and my sister and her family (who all live in the USA, and who have never met Ritsuko, nor have I met them). This weekend is the last opportunity for me to do any real preparations for the trip, so blogging has had to take the back-seat for a while.
One thing I did today was to pick up a lens for my brother (camera equipment is still quite a lot cheaper in Japan than in Sweden even if prices have evened out somewhat). And as I was buying the lens I did the mistake of looking over a few of the used equipment shelves. And there it was: a Yashica Twin-Lens reflex camera in near-perfect condition.
Digital SLR cameras are great: quick and easy to use; easy to bring along and readily adaptible to most any situation from portraits to sports. And it's digital, so you can take hundreds of images without worrying about space or cost. The problem is, those are all drawbacks as well. When it is so very quick and easy, it's so easy to just snap away without thinking through your composition, without thinking about what it is you want to show the viewer; without, in fact, thinking at all.
So using film, and medium-format film like this, is a good antidote. A TLR (twin-lens reflex) camera is by its nature fairly slow to use. You see the world back to front on a ground-glass screen at the top, not directly through a viewfinder. It's a fixed-lens camera so you have no zoom and no way to switch lenses. And a roll of medium-format film will give you 12 exposures in total, so you had better make each one count.
At the same time, pictures from cameras like this really are easier to get right than ever. Just bring your digital camera along, and use it as your combined light meter and polaroid back for test shots to see that your exposure is right. I'm looking forward to this. But no, I'm not taking it along on the trip, tempting as it is to do a "one picture per day" kind of thing with it.