My Summer Fling
On June 23, 2012 I posted the following on my Doug Thornhill Photograph LLC Facebook page:
Ok, I did something I shouldn't have! Now I'm sooooo hooked! So now I need to come up with up $5500 to $6500 fast, ok in the next year will do! I just can't put it down! I can't wait to use it again! What was I thinking to have done this? I may be addicted to it now! For the rest of my life i will crave using it again! Uggg!
I posted that in the middle of my summer fling and infatuation. I think an explanation is in order, my side of the story I guess you could say.
Way back in January, when the temps were colder outside then inside my freezer and the snow was blowing and being whipped up into drifts taller than my cats, a reservation for a summer rendezvous was made. First, I was counting the months, then weeks, and then the last few days. Finally, the moment of truth was upon me. I knew I would get an email letting me know things were indeed fine and would proceed as planned. I couldn't wait for that email! So, when I got a call on the appointed day telling me what I had reserved was no longer available, my spirits were a bit crushed to say the least. Then, just as quickly as my spirits were crushed, they were raised! I was offered a bigger and longer one! I jumped at it, and said yes indeed that one will do! Now, what guy would turn down a chance to use a bigger and longer one? Things were back on track, and in a few days I would meet my summer fling! The lovely Kath was fully aware of what I was doing and was fine with it.
I got an email that contained the tracking number and telling me in two days the delivery would be made. I started checking almost on an hourly basis. At first, there were lots of changes to the current location but then that stopped upon arrival at the airport. I started asking myself, "what was the reason?". Stuck in California? Customs maybe? No, that couldn't be the case since it originated in the USA. So what was the deal? I'll never know and no one ever talked. Finally, after a sleepless night I checked in the morning, and a location change had occurred, Memphis! Yes, closer now but still along way away, at least Memphis is in the same time zone. I was once again checking hourly. Indy, Flint and finally the last location given was my local area and it was out for delivery and she would be here by 4:30 that day. At the end of my lunch I checked the status and low and behold the drop off had been made! At the office when we get a delivery the secretary, whom we will call “Miss Vicki”, calls to inform us that Christmas has come early. But no phone call! Uggg! I was not going to wait so off I went down to the front desk. Just as I was getting there Miss Vicki was picking up the phone to call. She was away from her desk and missed the delivery and somebody else had signed for her.
The box was big, brown and now I was face to face with it. Months of waiting and waiting had come to an end. I slowly started cutting the packing tape with the knife Miss Vicki handed me and hoped not to damage the contents. I put the knife down and slowly pulled back the flaps! My eyes widened and a smile slowly spread across my face, for there inside was a shiny new case! It was a very nice case, two handles, stainless steel latches and the size of my traveling photo hard case. But what was inside was the prize, not the case. One click, two clicks, and it was unlocked. As I lifted the top, I swear I heard a swoosh of air rushing out! Strange. But no matter, there she was in all her cream colored glory! A Canon 500mm, f4 IS lens and she was all mine for the using! The infatuation had finally begun!
Our time together started on a Wednesday, and it would last about one week, but oh what a week it would be! I took my baby back up to my work area and placed her in an empty cubicle and began showing her off. Co-workers went oooh and aaaa. They could not believe what they were looking at. I explained to them how she had come to me, that she was a rental, that I had to send in photos of my credit card, drivers license and a few bills and only then would this very nice company called BorrowLenes out in California release her to me. I had brought in my 5D II body to try on her and to see if they would play nicely together. After attaching the camera it only looked like a small appendage, an after thought in the design. I tried a few shots out a window, and sure enough, it was a prefect match. The bummer for the day was I couldn't stay in town after work that night and really get to know her. So home to the guard cats I went. The lovely Kath also went ooooh and aaaa in much approval of my summer fling! The following day I took her back to the office, hoovered down my lunch and was off to the nearby river to try a few more test shots. Found out how to steady her on my monopod. She was a bit shaky at first but quickly calmed down. Then I learned how close I could get and still get her to focus. Seems she is a bit stand offish, like me, and only wanted to get within about 12 feet. Now there were few buttons I didn't play with because she didn't come with an owner’s manual. I'm a guy and came from Mars and she is a lens that came Japan so we didn't talk at all, that truly is a big divide to try and cross. I was fine with that because only going for the basics anyway. As long as I could get her to focus for me and engage the IS, I would be happy. Words fail me in trying to describe the joy and happiness I was having. With 30 minutes of practice I felt ready for Friday, and to use her for the need only she would be able to fulfill, to photograph the 25th annual Bay City River Roar boat race. I was feeling the power of the glass side!
Those next few days became a blur and I'm not just talking about the speed boats whizzing about on the river. We took walks together around the course. Pointed at things and people. Cruised together when we missed a shot and tried to stay dry when the rains came. She was so fast to focus, nicely tracked the boats after locking on them, the IS was spot on and so tack sharp! I have a 70-200mm f2.8 IS and a 2x teleconverter I have used in the past and that has worked fine. The only complaints are the photos sometimes are a bit soft when it is racked out to 400mm and it becomes an f5.6 lens. That was not going to be the case this year. In fact she was the only lens I used for the whole weekend. I brought others and back up bodies but they never made it out the truck.
So there I was looking all “pro photo guy”, my big lens, media pass and brimmed hat. Every so often I would have somebody wonder over and ask my about her and who I worked for thinking I was with a local newspaper. I would just say, “no I’m freelance” or “an independent," and explain that the she is a rental, that I have a very understanding wife who likes me having this kind of fling, spending my money this way and not on a trophy wife.
One thought kept coming to my mind as I was reviewing some of 7,000 plus photos while unloading them, I won't be doing much cropping this year! So then came the hard work, play time was over, weeding though them all. Each one was a memory of my summer fling, so as I deleted a shot here or there, my recorded memories of this short time together got smaller and smaller. Still, I would have some overall memories, the rain on Friday and trying to keep my baby safe and dry. The people that asked about her, the looks on their faces when I told them she was a rental and how much the full costs would have been. On the following Monday I did take her out to a local natural preserve to have some last quality time together, and tried my hand on some birds, bees and a few deer. That made me love her for even more reasons!
Tuesday was a very sad and dark day. That was the end of the fling. It ended nicely with not a word being spoken, both knowing what would happen next. Monday night I packed her up, preparing her for the trip back to California. I knew this time was coming but I had to keep the thought very deep in the back of my head. The time was now here and I had to deal with it. So I took her to work but I left her waiting downstairs, so I wouldn't be reminded of what I had to on my way home. Then 5:00 clock came. Quietly I picked her up off the floor, took to my truck and with one more last drive we were off to the Fed Ex building. A very nice gentleman took her from me, gave me a receipt, and told me to have a nice day. That was going to be hard. I was already having separation issues and a touch of depression was setting in. I had more one thing I could do for her and that was to keep checking the tracking number on an hourly bases to make sure she arrived home back safe and sound. She has, and I'm still in recovery. I keep reminding myself that yes, she is gone now never to be seen again and she how changed my life for the better and that we will always have the River Roar from 2012!