Fish eye mirror in a Kollupitiya Internet Cafe.
Having a camera makes you look at the world differently. It’s not awareness, but it is a certain form of attention. It makes the mundane interesting, coincidences propitious, the unusual extreme. This new camera (the X100) has a viewfinder, which is an experience I hadn’t missed till I got it back. When you look through (rather than at) a camera, the photograph really becomes your whole frame of vision. It’s a nice trip.
These are a few photos. Above you can see how it works, in the convex mirror of an Internet Cafe. It really is an extension of your eye. There’s a hybrid viewfinder, you’re either seeing through a glass (with Terminator style data overlaid), or seeing a small digital image. Either way, it’s all you see. The photograph is your entire perception.
Sunset from the Mount Lavinia Park
The camera has manual controls, so adjusting stuff like aperture (size of the light hole) and shutter speed (how long you let light in) is easy and fun. The only thing I miss is a dedicated button for macro on/off (close-up) and for flash. Right now you have to, for some godforsaken reason, turn on camera sounds to use the flash. I find this baffling, though there is a workaround.
On this camera I find the menus confusing and try to stick to manual control (ie, real buttons as much as possible). There’s a screen on the back but I rarely use it. Anyways, manual controls let me quickly let in a lot less light, enabling a setting sun to pop out.
Clothes Pin Formation
Body As Zoom Lens
The camera has no zoom, so if you want to get closer to something, you need to get closer. This seems limiting, and I guess it is, but for street photography it just forces you to use your body, ultimately a far more powerful tool than a zoom lens. Hence, I either walk closer, climb on top of stuff, or lie down.
Above is a weird clothes pin formation, shot from below. The camera does a pretty good job of getting that soft-focus effect, though the manual focus is impossible to use.
Anyways, the camera is quirky but damn fun to use. The main thing is that it forces you to use your body, your eyes, your hands, your feet and back and knees. It’s not a point and shoot, nor is it a DSLR. It’s not a small thing that I can just point at stuff, I have to use it in a certain way. At the same time, it’s not so big and clunky that it dominates my entire day. It feels about perfect so far, not that it is perfect, but that it’s becoming an extension of my imperfect limbs.