Monthly Archives: September 2015

Oh how many, many feet you meet!

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Trucker’s feet, Daikoku-Futo, Yokohama.  Tri-x / HC-110 “E”

Feet are amazing. They carry you through life and all its adventures.  Sometimes they need a rest too.  Don’t forget to put your feet up and take a rest from time to time:-)

You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.  – Dr. Seuss

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Is that an XA in your pocket?

XA

If you like film and want a great little travel camera, then this is the one for you.

Not another Olympus XA review (groan).. True there are plenty of good ones on the world wide web.  That’s why I won’t bore you with a long review.

What I like:

  • Compact and light; made of durable plastic with a metal (aluminum?) base
  • Has a proper rangefinder focus (3 stage zone focus for XA2)
  • Feels good in the hand and fits right in your jeans or coat pocket
  • It is pleasing to look at
  • 1.5 stop backlight exposure compensation, self timer,  and audible battery check (located on the bottom)
  • Nice f2.8 35mm lens (f3.5 on the XA2)

Maybe not so great:

  • Film selection only to iso 800; 1600 would be nice:-)
  • Fiddly shutter button that sometimes seems to not want to trip when I want it to (I noticed this on my XA2 as well- maybe mine are a bit faulty. Or my technique?)
  • It has a knurled film advance wheel like a cheap disposable- not the fastest and pros maybe didn’t like it much back in the day, but today who cares really?
  • Supposed to take 2 x SR44 batteries. I use LR44 which supposedly changes the meter reading slightly- I have found mine to underexpose a bit so I compensate with the ISO selector switch. The XA2 was designed for the LR44 I understand.
  • The XA2 vignettes a bit more than the XA I think. Depends what you like- I like it.

 Film Advance and Zorki Photo have nice detailed reviews, so check them out if you want to learn more. There is a also a site dedicated to the XA called diaxa.  There is no shortage of love for this little camera, and for good reason.

Because of their size and how much I enjoy using them I often take one with me when I am not specifically going out to take photos, and often this is when I come across something that makes me glad I have it with me. I enjoy using my XA and XA2 equally well.  The XA2 is basically a point and shoot so the aperture and shutter speed are left up to the camera.  You get to set the zone focus.  This can be fun too! You can pretty well guess what the camera is going to do based on the light levels and film speed.

Go get yours today!

Here are a few photos that I have taken with mine over the last year or so that I like.

Engakuji

Photo 1) Agfa Isolette/  HP5/ HC-110, Photos 2, 3, and 4) Olympus XA/ Tri-x/ HC-110

Engakuji is a beautiful Zen Temple about 10 minutes walk from Kita-Kamakura Station, which is about 25 minutes by train SW  of Yokohama Station. It was founded by a patron of the Kamakura Shogunate in 1282. There are over a dozen different buildings and the public are able to participate in zazen, lectures, and tea ceremonies among other things.  It is quite nice for a relaxing stroll around, soaking up the “zen”. If you ever have the chance to visit the Tokyo/Yokohama area definitely don’t miss Kamakura.

On the brochure it says the following:

The fact that we are living here, now, in the present- this is the true meaning of the existence of Buddha. Nothing is more precious than this. How marvelous this is! How important it is to realize from the bottom of one’s heart! This is the way in which all of us, each in our true fashion, will awaken to the truth and each live, in our own way, a cheerful and happy life. This is the teaching of Zen.

I am guessing but I think it is likely that not many read this at all, but of those that do a very small percentage might wonder what it means.

Well for anyone interested and reading this this far I will attempt to explain as I understand it.  Essentially in Zen Buddhism we are taught that each of us have Buddha nature, and are enlightened already, however the problem is that we cannot see it for ourselves.  Most of the exercises done in buddhist training such as zazen and koans (koans are kind of like riddles meant to stump you and make you think outside the box) for example, are tools which if used over time wear down illusions, ego, and other superficial obstructions we have so that we can truly see. Enlightenment, among other things, is finally seeing this and being able to live in harmony with your true self, nature, and fully appreciative of the present (since that is all there is anyway).

A well known book called The Three Pillars of Zen (by Philip Kapleau) gives an example story from a Zen Master called Yasutani Roshi called The Parable of Enyatta. It goes something like this (long story short):

A girl loved her face so much she looked at it in the mirror all the time.  One day she looked in the mirror and her head was gone. In a panic she ran around everywhere asking who took her head. Of course they told her she was mad and that her head was of course there where it had always been.  She wouldn’t believe them since she couldn’t see it so they tied her to a post before she might hurt herself. With the body bound after a time the mind becomes more tranquil (Yasutani Roshi mentions that this this is comparable to zazen practice). Eventually she came to half believe that her friends might be right. Then at just the right moment someone hit her on the head and said, “There is your head!” At that moment she realized it and ran around telling everyone, “I’m so happy, I’ve got my head after all!” This, Yasutani Roshi says is Kensho (or enlightenment).  He goes on to say that it is really kind of delusional state since you are simply going around overjoyed at having found something you’ve had all along. Eventually this “delirium of delight” subsides and you are able to live a truly natural life. Nevertheless, unless you go through the process you are unable to find what you have had all along.

Ok, well that concludes tonight’s broadcast.  Nighty night:-)

Best!

Jordi