Thursday, September 08, 2011

A Random Act of Kindess

Today was a most interesting day. It all started late last week when Kirk Tuck posted on the Flickr Olympus E System Community forum that he'd boxed up his last E-1 body and "sent it off to some lucky soul on this forum." He went on to further write that he want it sent "to someone who would appreciate other than it's market value." And of course, someone who he already had their address.

It all sort of added up to me, and I wondered if that was the case when I first read the posting and some of the replies. I sent Kirk a teasing email asking if he'd autographed it, and he sent back a cryptic "Wait and see...."

I basically forgot all about it until today, when my wife called me late morning at the office to tell me that a FedEx package had arrived from Austin, TX. I felt a small electric shock on hearing that and immediately remembered the forum posting from last week. I thought the rest of the day would drag but work conspired to fill ever minute until I realized it was time to leave.

When I got home, sure enough there was the box. I opened it and nestled inside the box, in lots of Austin newspaper crumpled pages from the September 2008 issue of PDN and bubble wrap, sat an E-1 body mounted on an HLD-2 grip. He'd also included the BLL-1 charger, which he had carefully stowed in a Zing black bag. A letter sat on the top addressed to Mr. Beebe. I won't quote the letter verbatim but I will say it was very well written and special enough to hang onto for quite some time to come.

Being a gearhead I'd take some special photos of the newly arrived equipment just to post, but not this time. Just take my word for it that the camera is in immaculate condition and worked flawlessly the moment I turned it on and started to use it. And that, my friends, is the best thing you can do with any camera; create photographs with it, not of it.

The Spider and the Orchid

It was late in the afternoon here in Orlando when I finally started to use Kirk's former E-1, first with the ZD 12-60mm and then the ZD 50mm macro. One of my orchids was in bloom again, and I happened to see the little white spider on one of its blossoms. Because it was very late the sun had already set, so I set the ISO to 400, dropped the EV down 1.7 to darken the background, and created a small series of the orchids. In post I increased the black to fully drop the background, raised the recovery a bit as well as the exposure, and there you are.

Squarespray

This second image is just another experiment, this to see what kind of detail the lens and camera together could produce at ISO 400. This image is pretty much straight out of the camera, just passing through Lightroom to convert to JPEG and then save to disk.

Why did I take that second image? Because I liked it when I saw it in the finder. And that's all that really matters.

Words alone can't begin to express my gratitude for what Kirk did. Some cynics might laugh that I'm so excited to receive an eight-year-old five MP DSLR, but I am. I truly appreciate the high-end Olympus FourThird DSLRs. And I think that's one major reason why Kirk sent it to me, because he knew I would appreciate it, take good care of it, and really use it. As he said earlier he wanted to bequeath it to someone who would appreciate it for more than just its market value.

Kirk, I too enjoy knowing you on the web; you (and several more like you) remind me that there is value in the whole big mess.

2 comments:

  1. Well, congratulations on your "new to you" E-1! What wonderful old cameras those were. I have mine sitting here on the table next to me, but it's feeling a little bit "unloved" right now because I purchased as "new to me" E-3 that arrived last week, and I've been using it almost exclusively since pulling it out of the box.

    Yeah, there's are loads of super-duper DSLR's on the market right now that produce super-clean files at ISO 12,800 -- but so what? The important thing is that you have a camera that works, and that you like what comes out of it. All the rest is meaningless.

    Glad that Texas E-1 found such a good home in Orlando.

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  2. glad to hear you got something positive happen from the net; and glad to hear you see that there can be good come from the seeds you plant.

    Nice images.

    I happen to like 4/3 as a format size and the E-1 is a great camera for robust needs. I reckon all you need is the two great SWD zoom lenses and a couple of OM legacy (available for a song) and you're almost totally photographically covered.

    Except for shallow DoF normals ... :-)

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