"What is that and where can I get one," I asked Carl Richards. We
were on the stream bank of the famous North Branch of the Au Sable
river in Michigan. The year, about 1970. We fished often together and
were both interested in photography of insects and in fact, most
anything involving fly fishing for trout. Carl had a new toy, a Rollei 35
camera. Cutest little 35mm I had ever seen. What looked so great was
it used full sized 35mm film but was hardly larger than a pack of cigarettes.
Well, a little but pretty close.
The camera had several important points, but the most major ones were
quality and convenient size. Convenient size to me means, small enough
that I will actually carry it with me; a lot. The problem with the standard
size 35mm camera I owned at the time was its size. Just too big to drag
along on the stream and other related events involved with our recreation.
Carl had gotten ahead of me. I couldn't stand that for long. Within a week
I had my own and 'never looked back.'
That little powerhouse went almost everywhere I went and did what I
wanted it to. It gave me the option of taking a grab-shot picture whenever
I wanted to. I babied it for years and only put it to rest when I loaned it
to a buddy who took it on a deep-sea fishing trip and got salt air into it;
rusted its tender guts all to you know what. I went a few years and fell
for the digital era and soon had the latest and greatest of those.
You know the drill, they keep getting better and cheaper almost daily.
But I did a bad thing. I forgot the second half of the equation. Size. I
went with the first digital cameras that used the floppy disc, seemed
like a good idea. And it was for a short time. Then out came all of the
new memory devices. Much of my photo work involved close up
pictures and I needed a lot of mega-pixtals too. So I went with the
ones designed for that.
My photography was suffering and I knew something was not right
but just couldn't put my finger on it. I was not getting the shots I wanted.
I carried my latest camera when ever reasonably possible or at least
convenient. One thing that bugged me was the time it took to turn on.
Select 'On,' press the button and then wait for the lense to pop out. I
was realizing that it was too bulky, too heavy, too slow to get going
and I was not getting my job done.
"Hey, let me borrow that for an hour or so, will you," I asked Vicki.
This was Ron Eagle Elk's wife, Vicki. Several of us were sitting around
a outdoor table at the city campground at the Central Washington Fish-In
at Ephrata, Washington. She was taking some pictures. This was about
two weeks ago. My new camera will arrive this week. Oh yes, my new
"Sure Jim, take all the pictures you want. I have a two gig chip in there,
lots of room," she said. I explained that I did not want to take any pictures
with it at all. I just wanted to have to have it for a while; right then and there.
Vicki handed it to me and I was delighted to see how light it actually was.
Slim too. What I liked was the lense. It didn't do anything, just stayed there.
No popping out and dragging back in. Turn it on and it was ready, now. So,
I had some options. Shirt pocket? Jacket pocket? Hip pocket? Hey, options.
How cool is that. Options are good.
Two hours later she asked me if I was done with it. I dug it out of my hip
pocket and gave it back to her. I had forgotten it. Case closed.
Now, I don't want this to sound like a commercial for Pentax. They will
never know I bought one. But it is a commercial for cameras that will fit
in a pocket. One that a guy will actually take with him and use or have the
option of using. And, being a fly fisherman, it doesn't hurt anything that it
is waterproof. Hopefully you will see more pictures in the future from us.
It even has a special feature for stabilizing the shot. Not a bad idea for an
old guy trying to take 'in focus' pictures.
Oh yes, a confession on my part. The pictures of my wife landing a nice
rainbow last week. She got the fish on and I asked her if she would just
quit pulling on him while I ran back up to the parking lot and got out my
camera. She did. The fish rested. I ran up and got the Nikon Coolpix 4300;
for the last time. Be watching the 'For Sale' section on the bulletin board. ~ James Castwell