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Charles and my old 180mm

Written by Gary Proctor, Director ( 2013-03-06 19:25:00 )

In 1992 I saved up and bought a Nikon 180mm tele lens that took a lot of photos over the next ten years. It was a great lens, a solid chunk of glass that sat on the end of my nikkomat and delivered quality shots time after time. Over the years, exposed to the dust and climate variables of the desert focussing became harder and harder until it completely seized, and fungus started growing between the lens elements after a year in Malaysia, where I often worked in the rain forests of the main range.

New lenses have taken its place in my camera set, but for old times sake I asked my (opto-mechanical) wizard friend Charles Bridgewood if he could fix it. He did. He took the lens apart, separated all the elements and cleaned them, serviced and reassembled the lens. I was very grateful, but I put it aside and forgot about it.

I haven't looked through it again until the other day, driving through the Petermans near Docker River enroute to Warburton. For some reason I chucked it in with my other teles just to see what it might be like. It's not as sharp as my new lenses, but the softness of the images really delighted me; almost as if I was looking back into an older way of seeing the landscape image. There's a bit of photoshoping but not much - a very hot day, white light and atmospheric suspension across distances bled out and flattened the colours and tones.

I resist the 'view' of landscape, yet it is always monumental for me, always a space I earnestly want to participate in, to enter and be part of. It always holds meaning and I search for the monumental in the 'ordinary' and non spectacular, especially there. This is probably an odd post for the Warburton Arts Community but I wanted to share photos of country that gently delighted me, made me think of Charles and treasure my old lens again.