Earlier this year when I was in Israel, I was searching for an adapter. The Israeli plug-points gladly accepted South African 2-prong plugs but not the American 2-prong plug at the back of the charger for my girlfriend's Nikon P7100.
After days of searching and going into every possible shop I could see and find that may keep such a device, I found this gentleman and his tiny, awesome, bizarre shop.
I was surprised that Tel Aviv wasn't more geared toward tourists. I mean, you'd think it was a tourist hot-spot and so would have universal adapters in every nook and cranny. Not so. I suppose that the locals assume that tourists would be wise enough to do their adapter buying before arrival or once on the ground and at the airport. Not this silly tourist.
In any event, when I stumbled into this shop I had a feeling it was going to yield some success. He had TWO adapters. Granted they were buried somewhere and he had to scrounge around, but there was not only the precious adapter but a choice. The gods were smiling on me that day. I took the cheaper one.
After making my purchase, I asked the chap if he'd mind if I took his photograph. Not at all, I was told with a marvelously animated shrug.
I had Betty, my Canon 1nRS, with me and the glorious 35mm 1.4L on the front. Inside there was Kodak 400 TMAX. It was dim in the shop and instinctively, I'd opened up the aperture on walking inside all the way to 1.4. I decided to stop down to F4, not wanting to loose the details of the surroundings - there were things hanging off everything available space and the store had the most wonderful, if a little claustrophobic, atmosphere. It was quite a sight. The result of stopping down though meant I was hand-holding at either 15th or 30th of a second. I'm pretty sure it was 15th. One of the best things about the Canon 1nRS is it has a pellicle mirror. This means no blackout during exposure and no mirror that moves up and down causing vibrations.
The shot is exactly as I was hoping it would be. I must say I am very happy. This was one of the few shots on this roll that I was really looking forward to seeing. After developing the roll and hanging it up to dry I looked at this frame and could hardly wait to put it on my scanner. And this is how it came out. Brilliant.
Carrying around Betty while traveling is certainly less comfortable than a compact would be. But when she delivers images like this, I know it's all worth it. Comfort comes second to getting the images we want right? We go out and photograph to capture moments and scenes right? Damn right.
Whenever I carry a compact digital, I know - somewhere in the back of my mind - that the final image won't match my vision. With Betty I know the results will be just what I need, just what I want. And so the gear gets out of the way and I get to relax into the moment and search for the scenes and moments I so crave to capture, allowing me to walk into little shops with quirky owners and unusual decor and just get on with making the image.