Bicycles, Mynahs and product placement…

After a criminally busy week, I return to my precious blog with project updates and news. First up, I received in the post, all the way from Etobicoke, a shiny new leather strap – originally a spare part for a Wista camera, but a perfect fit for my dear old Burke & James View Camera, pictured here: . My dream for this camera, is to have a knock-about tailboard camera to sling into a bicycle pannier, and take on cycling adventures (with a minimum of accessories) – just like when it was “all the rage”, circa 1860. It’s a rather big and silly camera, but made of rather nice hardwood under that modern-as-tomorrow grey paint, and features a handsome set of red bellows! Strikes me I actually do live near some exceptionally lovely cycling paths, and should exploit their awesomeness. Oh, and I’ll need a bicycle too…
Next up, the beginnings of my Indian Mynah trap! For some months, I’ve been watching one of the world’s three most invasive pest bird species jumping into the bird bath on the balcony (often bullying other birds out of the way), and I wondered if it would be possible to make a photo series of these critters that somehow made them “appealing”. After all, they sing, they are very sociable, they squabble amusingly, etc. Is it their fault they are bullies and have displaced many indigenous bird species? Not really – it’s those rather silly early colonialists who introduced them in the first place… But how to make photos of them? Do I have the patience to wait on the balcony for hours at a time?
The answer is an unsurprising “no”, and so I’ve put together this little Mynah trap – consisting of a hardy Canon SLR, and an infrared sensor – the idea is, the birds fly/hop into the sensor’s range, and the pre-focussed camera’s shutter is triggered. I’ll test this on the weekend, and if that doesn’t work. then plan “b” is to use “Personal Function 16” on the Canon EOS 1v, which is a “focus trap” – you preset the camera’s focus, and it trips the shutter itself when a subject (the Mynah) flys/hops into the correct focus point. Trouble is, to access the useful Personal Functions buried in the camera, the 1v requires you use “EOS Link” software – an arcane and not freely available bit of (Windows98) programming that also requires a special USB-to SLR cable. I have ordered a copy from “some guy” in Spain… we’ll see…
Finally – I helped out with photos for this poster for work this week , and managed to successfully insert, as a prop, my favourite, ridiculously huge medium format rangefinder camera – The Fuji GW680III – a rare 6×8 variant of what is otherwise quite a popular professional camera (in 6×7 & 6×9 versions) from the 90’s. It’s the sort of camera you don’t realise how BIG it is until you look twice… so here’s the closeup:

One thought on “Bicycles, Mynahs and product placement…

  1. You and I think much the same; I love to convert cameras to my needs, and have done so with several different format cameras. I’ll be posting a series of images before long of the current crop of cameras converted.
    Let’s talk images soon.

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