Monday, 25 March 2013

Last Frame

It's an odd skill to boast of, but I'm fairly good at loading film into a camera. I can load film quickly and efficiently, while standing in a crowded train, or in the middle of other distractions. But most importantly, by pulling very little film ‒ the bare minimum ‒ out of the cassette, I can get the film leader to engage in the take-up spool.

This may not sound like much, but if you pull less film out of the cassette, you can often get 38 or even 39 exposures out of a 36-exposure roll. I like this, because it feels like getting more than my money's worth, like squeezing the last smidgen of toothpaste out of a tube.

After the 36th shot, I expect the film to run out. When it doesn't, it's always a pleasant surprise, and though I'm generally quite economical when shooting film, for the last frame I feel like I can fire off a shot without worrying too much about the end result, because it's free.

Often, the last frame is the best.

This photo was taken in Greenwich Park in London. I like the patterns made by the snow and the branches, and the woman playing with her dog on the hillside. It was the last exposure on the roll, and the last of the dying light. I thought it was the last snow of the season too, but it snowed again this weekend, proving that my spring post was premature.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Kitchen Gifts

Two recent additions to our kitchen from my last trip to India ‒ both gifts from my grandparents.

The pickle is home-made by my grandmother. She makes various kinds, and stores them in Horlicks jars lined up on windowsills. The stuffed chilli pickle (in picture) is my favourite, though it's not for the faint of heart.

My grandfather bought me the mortar and pestle; he went to the store with a magnet in his pocket so that he wouldn't be cheated. We used to grind spices with the underside of an empty coffee jar, so the mortar and pestle is a definite step up. Some day we may go so far as to get an electronic food processor.