Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Easter, new camera, trip, school

Forgot it was easter today, until I was on a long walk and wondering why everything was closed. I can’t really remember the last time I celebrated the holiday, except for maybe ordering Chinese food because that’s all that was open. Someone was talking about the Paaz egg dye kits the other day, and I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I used one. Maybe when I was ten? No idea.

Weird Easter memory, apropos of nothing: 1999, I woke up sick in a Best Western in Plainview, Texas. I was up on the second floor, had taken a heroic amount of NyQuil to knock out a horrible head cold that had been chasing me the entire trip across the country. The hotel’s alarm clock didn’t go off, and I lost another hour because of the daylight savings switch. I thought for sure I’d get an earful about easter as I tried to load up on continental breakfast and hit the road, but I managed to get out fast and not talk to anyone, until about an hour later when I got pulled over for going two over the speed limit with out-of-state-plates. Welcome to Texas.

That hotel reminds me a lot of the hotel we stayed at in Denver in 2007 when we came out to do the buy-a-car/find-an-apartment dance right before we moved. It was the Stapleton Super 8, another double-decker motel where we got stuck upstairs. I didn’t really notice the altitude in Denver… until I ran up the stairs once, and was completely wiped out.

* * *

I picked up another film camera, an Olympus XA-2. It’s a fun little camera, nice 35mm glass and no zoom, manual advance, no settings other than film ISO and a zone focus three-way switch. It’s about the size of a deck of cards, with a clamshell that opens up and you’re ready to shoot. It also has a flash that screws on the side and uses a single AA, which is neat, but I’ll never use it outside. It’s a great mostly-manual camera. Many of the compact cameras of the 80s are more automated, and wind film or have a clunky motorized zoom that’s probably about to die, like the Vivitar I have. Earlier rangefinders are big on mercury batteries you can’t get anymore. Cheaper compact cameras are all plastic toys and don’t feel as nice as the Olympus. Only real problem I had with this one is everyone wants one, so they’re not cheap. I’ve run a few rolls through it and it takes great pictures. Looking forward to doing more with it in the future.

* * *

I have a big trip coming up this week, and I have been slightly cagey about saying where, so no spoilers. I’m working on packing stuff now, and have fallen down the rabbit hole of feeling I really need a different camera bag. I picked up a Peak Design packing cube that is basically the guts of a camera backpack, so I can throw that into a 40L backpack and check that in, but then I can take it out of the backpack and use it as, like, a backpack when I am there. I am bringing my main DSLR, the main film SLR, and that Olympus, along with five lenses (I think). I have a lead-lined back I’ll use to bring a dozen rolls of film with me. Picked up some Ektachrome E100 slide film, which will be fun.

* * *

Something else I have not mentioned yet: I went back to school, again. The place where I did my MBA has an MS of Management and Leadership that is mostly all the complimentary people-skill stuff that wasn’t in the MBA, with an overlap of three classes. So I decided maybe those courses would be useful, and I like writing papers more than I like cramming for tests, and this is mostly papers. School started on April 1, and I have completed the first class, plus the overlapping ones, so I am 39% done. Much like last year’s trip to Sweden, I will be studying on a long plane ride and writing papers in a foreign country.

Not much else. It’s actually really nice out, and feels like winter is over. So of course I’m going to fly 15 hours to go back to freezing temperatures for a week. Should be fun though.


2 responses to “Easter, new camera, trip, school”

  1. Joey Junger Avatar
    Joey Junger

    Not sure if you took that shot at the top, but it’s beautiful. It looks like an Andrew Wyeth painting, the “wheatfield” look Roger Deakins was going for with “Assassination of Jesse James.”

    1. Thanks, yeah all of the pictures on here are me. That was shot on film on a cheap Vivitar point and shoot from the 90s.

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