single frame: Yellow flowers

Yellow flowers

Yellow flowers
Minolta XG 1, 50mm f/1.7 Minolta MD
Agfa Vista 200 (at EI 100)

When I was 22 I broke up with a young woman who I still call my first great love. We were such comfortable companions. Our favorite thing was to watch bad movies together on cable well into the wee hours. She was brilliant at heckling them. Her dry, nerdy humor kept me laughing. I don’t laugh easily. She was a real gift in my life.

Yet we couldn’t make other things about our relationship work, important things. I don’t think she ever felt like I really loved her. I showed her in the ways I knew how, but she needed to feel loved in ways I didn’t understand and couldn’t give.  And when I was tired or overwhelmed or irritated I was prickly and difficult. Still am. She never knew how to deal with that and she took it hard.

Sometimes a relationship can’t last because you’re not right together in some ways that really matter. Yet you’re reluctant to end it because it’s otherwise so comfortable. But after awhile comfort isn’t enough, and after a longer while the places where you don’t fit start to grate. More of your needs must be met. We ended our relationship, and it hurt, and we missed each other. But it was necessary.

My many Minolta SLRs have all been lovely and felt great in my hands. Their lenses are sublime. My heart leaps over the images these cameras give me. I want to shoot with them forever.

But they have been so unreliable. I just can’t keep one working for the long haul. There may be photographers out there who enjoy taking their gear apart and keeping them working smoothly. I’m not one of them. I just want my gear to work, period. And that’s why I’ve just sold my last Minolta body and am running right into the arms of reliable Pentax and Nikon.


15 responses to “single frame: Yellow flowers”

  1. Dan James Avatar

    Jim, really enjoyed this post. I often relate my feelings about cameras (and lately bicycles) to aspects of relationships with people, but often shy from writing about it. Your account is very honest and well written and makes a lot of sense.

    Not sure why you’ve just titled it “single frame: yellow flowers” – it deserves a title that describes it better and will encourage people to read more in my humble opinion. Especially as you’ve said before your “single frame” titled posts don’t get as many views.

    Love that last line – “running right into the arms of reliable Pentax and Nikon”…

    On the relationships front, have you ever read any of the “Love Languages” books by Gary Chapman? Very interesting to see how different people express and expect love in different ways, sometimes the complete opposite to the person they’re with! For example for one person a great expression of love might be taking out the rubbish and sweeping the floors, to another it might be buying jewellery, to another nothing beats hugs and kisses.

    You don’t have find a partner who has exactly the same “love language” as you, but being aware of, and understanding, your partner’s needs and ways of communicating is hugely helpful. Anyway, it might be of interest.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Sometimes I like to tuck a heartfelt post away under an unassuming photograph, like an Easter egg.

      Do you read the A Conspiracy of Cartographers blog? That fellow posts film photos, a few a day, and lately has been writing something under each. It’s much the same; sometimes he tucks a real gem in under an unassuming photograph. I love it.

      I was thinking specifically about the love languages when I wrote this but didn’t want to call it out too specifically. I’m not sure what that girlfriend of long ago’s love language was. I need affection and conversation. Seems really easy to me but my first wife could never really give me enough of either. She needed gifts and acts of service and it just exhausted me to keep up with her needs there. My current wife just needs time with me. That I can give, especially because conversation and affection frequently happen then.

      1. Dan James Avatar

        Well it’s great for us who discover the easter egg, I’d just be concerned that people browsing new posts in their email or WP Reader might see the title and picture and think that’s it, and skim on to the next post.

        As well as the love languages I think it’s really important to accept that for most of us, sometimes we just need to be left alone, and we’re just not the most fun people to be around.

        The ability and willingness to give your partner tolerance and space (and be given that in return) is a fundamental pillar in a happy relationship I think. Which you touched on in your original post.

  2. Wayne Avatar

    Hello Jim
    Thank you for sharing-past loves-ah yes the haunting lessons learned…
    but thank God! There were flowers along the way and the perfect one that stayed.
    I share that feeling about Minoltas-especially the nice 7’s and 9’s rangefinders- I really like the Rokkor glass and feel – but they have an
    unreliable edge to them.
    I’m still hoping with my 101.
    Have a nice day

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The glass is great! The bodies, well, not so much in my experience.

  3. JoHawkTheWriter Avatar

    Ah, yes. I fully expect my equipment to work so I can concentrate on doing the things I love. I have no place in my life for faulty or temperamental things. I have enough temper to go around. 😉

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m the same way. Boy and howdy.

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    This one is so well written.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks my friend!

  5. Kurt Ingham Avatar
    Kurt Ingham

    Better the arms of Nikon than the arms of Morpheus…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar
  6. jon campo Avatar
    jon campo

    A classic example of why I love your Blog. So well thought out and written. Also, while I agree about Nikon, I have had about the same experience with Pentax that you experienced with Minolta. Even after service. I love them, but if I really want to get the shot I take the Nikon’s.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I know people who swear by their Minoltas as unkillable! I just haven’t had that experience with Minoltas. It’s no surprise then that some have trouble keeping Pentaxes working! But I’ve never heard of a soul who finds Nikon to be generally unreliable for them.

      1. Kurt Ingham Avatar
        Kurt Ingham

        For a long time most Nikons were pro-grade – built to take abuse and last. Most Pentaxes and Minoltas were consumer grade fine for most use, but not as rugged. – That shows up even today. And yes, I do know there are exceptions to the first generalization

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I could probably drop any of my manual focus Nikons ten feet and they’d survive fine. Not so most of my other SLRs.

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