Thursday, June 04, 2015

Of Cars and Cameras

Note: this is a blog entry I started at the end of April and didn’t get back to till now.

This one’s going to ramble a bit, but I’ll get you where I’m going if you bear with me. :)

I always enjoy reading Down the Road, one of the few blogs I still regularly visit. Jim Grey in Indiana keeps it rolling along, and touches on a number of things that interest me. What first attracted me to it is that Jim and I share an interest in old roads. Jim has a particular interest in the National Road, which I saw referenced in a US history book in high school but never found mention of again until I read Jim’s blog. Jim also has an interest in cameras that has by far eclipsed my own in recent years. Jim also writes about spiritual matters from a low-key, middle-of-the-road Protestant perspective that I find compelling and look forward to, despite my own journey taking me down the road of agnosticism. I’m not on the team but I find myself cheering for this player.

When I started writing this blog, it was around the time I was starting to get into digital photography in a big way. I’d had digital cameras for nearly ten years at that point, but I was on the verge of really stepping up. I’d had a Kodak DC 4800 for a few years, but it was something I took out occasionally. In 2005, I took the plunge and bought one of the earliest DSLRs on the market, the Canon Rebel XT, which I still have, and is arguably still my “best” camera. But the shutterbug was really getting its hooks into me and I bought a cheap Kodak model small enough that I could carry it around in a fanny pack… something I wore for the next seven or eight years. I took pictures of anything and everything, even stuff at my desk at work. I got interested in HDR photography and decided I needed a camera that could automatically step through a set of dynamic range shots, and that’s when I bought the Canon S80, probably the camera I’ve loved the best, and almost certainly the one I’ve taken the most photos with. During the couple of years I had it, I took something just shy of 30,000 photographs with it. That astonishes me now. Makes me wonder when I found the time to set it down and brush my teeth.

I went through a number of other cameras after that, mostly to augment things I could do photographically. I also got into infrared photography and I still have a couple of Canon P&Ss that have been reconditioned to do that. I moved on to the G9 for better shots, then the HXV5 because it did panoramas and geotagged the photos automatically, and then S100 when Canon finally budged and started moving the S line beyond 80, where they halted for a few years.

I carried all those cameras on me, up to and including the S100. Around the time I got laid off, I stopped wearing the fanny pack because I was going to interviews. I just never went back to it. My cell phone now is only 6 or 7 mm thick and fits in my pocket beside my wallet. And I’ve stopped carrying a dedicated camera around. With the exception of intentional road trips now, essentially every photo I take is with my cell phone.

I’ve noticed, too, that what I stop and take pictures of has changed. Ten years ago, I could barely walk down the street without taking a picture of every interesting sign, piece of graffiti, or cityscape that impressed me. Walking the trails near work at lunch time, I took thousands of pictures of brooks, plants, fields, interesting front yards, stuff kids had chalked up on sidewalks and fences. Anything. Now I hardly ever do that. What changed in me? Is it just that I’m that much older now and that stuff no longer catches my eye, or just that it does but I can’t see the point in recording it?

The same goes with this blog. Seven or eight years ago, I hardly did anything on the weekend or went anywhere interesting on a weeknight that it didn’t end up written about here. Now months can go by. I’m not sure why that is. I wish I could reverse that.

Well, here’s the destination of the ramble. On Saturday (note: April 18th, 2015), P-Doug took me out on a road trip to the east end of the GTA. Didn’t tell me where we were going. We just went. We ended up in Oshawa at an automobile museum.

The automobile industry has long been at the heart of Oshawa. What I didn’t realize until we were there is just how long it’s been at the heart of Canada generally and Ontario in particular. I was under the impression the automobile industry here really started in 50s when it sort of spilled over out of Detroit. I was impressed to see cars that were built here, going back to the beginning of the 20th century, and possibly even earlier.

I can't really comment on most of these cars, other than that I was thrilled to see an actual Delorean "in the flesh" and highly amused by the 1950s Saskatchewan license plate that gives Idaho's "Famous Potatoes" slogan a run for its money in leaden lack of inspiration; and present them here for your enjoyment.

As well, afterward we went to a rib joint in Oshawa that P-Doug was interested in trying out before its new location got rolling in Toronto itself. It's Buster Rhino's Southern BBQ. This location was on King Street, although there are three other locations now; two others in Durham Region and now another on College Street in downtown Toronto. It was a little hole in the wall sort of place but a good, nicely-appointed one, and the food impressed. I had fun with the signage and the names of some of the local beers they stock.

The beers, as listed...

Batch 1904
Octopus Wants to Fight
Love Fuzz
Nut Brown Ale
10 Bitter Years (first 8.5% alc. vol. beer I've ever seen!)
The Grain Merchant
Perry Loves Mary
100th Meridian