Sunday included more fun than the recent average — at my age, chilling is often more attractive than partying. Sunday featured vinyl, vintage lenses, Southern guitar boogie, and a photo-assignment. With pictures! (Which may be a little puzzling, but stay with me.)
What happened was, I noticed that there was a Fall 2019 Record Convention and on impulse took the e-bike crosstown to the glamorous (not really) Croation Cultural Centre. I strolled in the door of the big room with all the people and the nice lady said “You want the record convention or the camera convention? This is the cameras.” Who knew? So I went over to the other side and ended up buying five records: Willie Nelson’s Teatro (with Emmylou and Daniel Lanois), Howlin’ Wolf’s Big City Blues, Yellowman and Fathead’s Bad Boy Skanking, James Blood Ulmer’s Free Lancing, and Sons of Kemet’s Your Queen is a Reptile.
It was just a high-school-gym-sized room with a big square of tables facing outward facing the other big square against the walls facing inward, all the tables full of boxes full of LPs. I posted an appropriately lo-rez video on Instagram. A few of the vendors had organizing principles, ranging from genre to alphabet to price. Lots didn’t.
What a bunch of stoners. Except for a few fresh-faced hipsters and the odd grizzled geek like yours truly. Good clean fun.
Photopunk · Since I’d come all the way, I coughed up $5 for the camera show, which was pretty well maximum steampunk. Old cameras! Some with bellows and bulbs, some the size of your head. I have enough cameras but you can never have too many lenses. There wasn’t much chance of anything Fujifilm-related (it’s from this millennium) but I have a Pentax K-mount adapter and as I wrote in that context, “there are an astonishing number of excellent K-mount lenses in every imaginable length and width on the market.” So I walked around the tables saying “K-mount?” to anyone showing lenses and lots had some.
Protip: Nifty fifty · If you’re stingy and want to take lovely portraits it turns out that for basically any camera in the world you can get a K-mount adapter for your camera cheap, and then go to a show like this (or eBay or whatever) and pick up a classic Pentax 50mm F1.4 for almost no money and with a little practice and love, you’ll be making your friends and loved ones look better than they really do.
But I have a nifty fifty already. I’d got two thirds of the way around the camera trail and saw nothing interesting, but then there was this Mittel-Euro dude with an astonishingly small and slim 100mm F/2.8. He wanted $120 Canadian. I walked away and completed the orbit without turning up any gold, so I went back and offered him $100 and he took it. It turns out to be an M 100/2.8, i.e. probably 40 years old.
Allstars! · Sunday evening I had tickets to see the North Mississippi Allstars. So I strapped the 100mm on the Fujifilm and thought I’d try for some electric-stage drama. Only the security guy took one look and said “gotta coat-check professional cameras.” Professional?! Uh…
Anyhow, the Allstars were just fine, post-Allmans southern boogie, more on the countrified side with a killer washboard solo (no, really) and really a lot of very solid guitar. Plus they played Down By The Riverside (“Ain’t gonna study war no more”) which always gets me choked up. I’d go if they came near you, assuming you like electric white-boy music.
Photocrit · It turns out that at Amazon Vancouver we’ve got a little photocritique social group, where someone deals out a weekly theme and we all post pix and suggest improvements to each other. This week’s theme is “long exposure”. So as soon as I got in the taxi home (For the Vancouver-savvy: up Main from the DTES to Riley Park), with a couple of drinks under my belt and a head full of electric guitar grace, I rolled down the backseat window, set the shutter to ⅛ second and the aperture to F/4, and took pictures of pretty well everything. Three made me smile.
And I think to myself… what a wonderful world.