I’m still not fit enough to yomp around woodland or moorland but I’m taking more interest in life, am much more active and have even started thinking again; or that half-baked process that passes for thought in my universe.
Today I’m ruminating on gear. Not surprising as I recently had to close down and empty my darkroom so it could be used as a bedroom for the ever growing tribe of grand children living at Whenham Towers. Room has been found in the spare (or guest as my wife calls it) bedroom but not as much room as I enjoyed in my, now ex, darkroom. So, it appears that I’m in the process of down-sizing as I believe the modern term for having a good clear out is nowadays. I’ve already carted one black bag of rubbish, or at least newly-categorised-as-rubbish, to the local tip but still have too much for the available space. I know it’s procrastinating but I’ve stored two boxes of stuff under the desk rather than sort it out. It won’t fool the Boss forever but until she does spot it I can put off the inevitable for just a bit longer (if I’m being realistic she’s already spotted it but is waiting to see if I sort it of my own volition).
But why procrastinate? Cerebrally I know that much of it will never be used again, at least not by me, nor will it be of much use to others. I have a huge box of Cokin filters for instance that I once gave away to a fellow photographer. Eighteen months later, convinced of the value of on-camera filtration, he upgraded to Lee filters and returned them! Not only that he’d added to the collection too in those eighteen months so the box floweth over.
The trouble is that in the past I’ve been too quick to declare items no longer required and then subsequently regretted it. The most obvious example was the 1000+ vinyl LPs, some of which I sold and some of which I gave away when I no longer had room for a turntable. I was lucky that around fifty of my absolute favourite LPs went to a good friend who when he heard I’d bought a new turntable kindly returned them to me. But I still have nightmares about the other 950+ which represented my teens and early twenties more acutely than any diary or even photograph could.
It’s not just personal possessions I’ve hoarded in the past. When we moved up north I left behind a collection of left over timber that would have filled a skip, indeed probably did fill a skip (I left it for the new owners with a note saying that I hoped it would be of use. The three biscuit tins laden with screws, nails and nuts and bolts made it on to the removal lorry and are still sitting on the shelf where I placed them sixteen-plus years ago upon moving into this house.
But I digress, I’m supposed to be talking about photography gear or at least my aversion to throwing out or passing on anything. I think the biggest problem is that some, a very small some it has to be said, of these accumulated items have proved useful at times. Take the two tripod heads from cheapo tripods. When the legs inevitably collapsed I salvaged the heads, themselves cheapo pieces of kit, and put them away “just in case”. Last week these came in very handy as makeshift flash stands when playing with the SplashArt kit. Small enough to sit in the midst of everything, robust enough to hold the flash unit and not likely to be over taxed in the process.
I wasn’t sure where this blog post was going when I started, and I’m not sure where it’s got to now I’m almost finished but one thing I do know is that the boxes still need sorting and it’s only a matter of time before senior management get on my case!