Obscure corners

0637/6th March 2023

Technology seems to be doing it’s own thing today.

Attempting to download images from my camera, I was frustrated to find the system paused, as in not doing anything.

Not cooperating.

At the same time, I discovered that photographs which I took with my phone this morning had magically transferred themselves without any urging.

Now, I know this is possible if you make the appropriate adjustments to certain settings, but all of that being beyond my limited capability, I am happy to plug the phone in and transfer manually.

As I took those images early this morning, I was juggling buckets of peanuts and bottles of water. I was dazzled by the early rays of light that turned the snowy ground into a carpet of diamonds.



“Yes, and they are all mine!”

In my fumbling, it seems I selected auto-transfer because as I sat glaring at my paused screen, I thought:

“Hang on. Those are from this morning.”

Momentarily, I was annoyed by the fact that images from my phone have to be converted to the sort of file that can be copied to WP.

It takes precisely two steps. Perhaps I can manage!

Having examined those images, I returned to dealing with my camera download. What exactly was the problem?

Close the photo file, re-open. Still stuck.

Remove chip from camera and insert direct into PC.

In the past I’ve done this without success, but today it worked and I discovered what the problem had been…



“Got to dash! ‘bye!”

My fumbling fingers don’t always produce good results. I had put my camera down on the kitchen counter yesterday, inadvertently depressing the “record” button which resulted in 29 minutes of nothing.

Good job we no longer have film.

Film had many draw-backs, especially for fools like me.

Almost half a century ago I found myself with Tim at the Red Fort in Delhi. It was colourful and scenic and I took a lot of pictures.

Finally, I thought I must be near the end of my film.

Well no, because I hadn’t re-loaded the camera.


Sometimes it was as if I had a hex on me. Maybe something else I inherited from my mother.

My father got Mum a brilliant camera . It was tiny so it fit in her handbag. You could make small adjustments but I don’t believe my mother ever bothered. It was basically a matter of point and shoot.

One film had 50 frames. The results were good.

Mum’s Minox had been developed for spies in WW2.

1958. Dad was on home leave and very cross about it.

Dad’s leave marked the renewal of his contract which happened to be in January. No way he was going back to England in winter, so Mum and I would go leaving him happy to enjoy local leave.

At the very last minute my parents found out that unless my father went home also, our return fares would not be paid. Presumably some contractual agreement with the airline.

This news was not well received! Frosty words were exchanged as I cringed behind the veranda wall. We had not seen my brother for 18 months. If Dad would not come with us, we’d remain in England.

Maybe that’s when I learned about compromise. Mum and I departed as planned. Dad would follow later, spending just a night or two in London, then we would start back toward milder climates, though he was required to check-in at his headquarters in Paris.

We had a brief stop in Rome to visit parents of my father’s Italian colleague but it was far too cold for Dad.

Surely it would be warm in India? We stopped in New Delhi to visit the Taj Mahal.

As it turned out, it was “cold”in India too. My father had difficulties with the airline over excess baggage, so for him it was an altogether disagreeable journey.

As it happened, my mother had injured an ankle while we were in England. A doctor had diagnosed a bad sprain and recommended exercise. Father was a keen walker, so walk we did, in Europe and in India…

Six weeks later, back in Cambodia, my mother went to a doctor with an infected finger. While she was there she casually mentioned that her ankle was still giving her trouble, so it was x-rayed.

Mum had been exercising a broken ankle for six weeks.


But what she was more disappointed in was that when she had her roll of film processed, she learned that a piece of a previous film had got stuck in the camera and most of the 50 images were black.

What a long way around, to explain what I meant about inheriting my mother’s “hex”. In her case, it only manifested the one time, so not really a hex.

My problem, though, was re-current.

It wasn’t just a matter of my ineptitude. I know my limitations, but it wasn’t that I got the focus or the aperture wrong.

Or that I didn’t load the camera.

At certain times, my camera simply refused to work. I don’t mean the images were bad. I never got that far, because the camera simply jammed. And always when I particularly wanted to capture what I saw.

On reflection, I realise that in more than one case, this involved animals.

For instance, I really wanted to see Tibetan yaks. We travelled overland from Nepal to Lhasa, approximately 700 kilometres. Where were all the yaks?

My camera was working well. I have the pictures to prove it. But the moment a yak hove into view….no deal. No yak pictures. Why? Next day, the camera was fine.

In Yellowstone I had the same experience, attempting to photograph bison.

Additionally, I failed to get a picture of mountain goats, but that was because I was in the wrong place. So, no hex there.

It is curious that my photographic failures mostly involve animals.

Until I came to live upstate I had never really considered whether or not animals dislike being photographed. Without researching the subject or being told so, my sense is that wild animals in particular are camera shy.

And not as a matter of proximity. I often see deer in the field below my house and can focus on them without going outside. It is some distance, but the deer always know.

It is very bad manners to photograph people without their consent because many really do not like it.

No-one ever asks animals.

In my mind though, and I readily admit that my mind has a few obscure corners, taking a photograph captures something of the essence of the subject, be it human or otherwise.

So perhaps my experiences are less a matter of hexes or coincidences and more a matter of my mind overriding my abilities, in order to prevent what I unconsciously believe is wrong.

Wrong? We treasure photographs of those we love, including other species. There can be no wrong there.

What about photographs of people we don’t love?

When someone betrays you in some way and causes you pain and suffering? Don’t you want to tear their picture up or deface it?

Personally I don’t, not because I am morally superior but because I am superstitious. Now where did that come from?

Maybe I just spend too much time in my head!

7 thoughts on “Obscure corners

  1. Whatever you did to your phone camera settings, it worked! The photos are so much sharper, and the squirrel shots are outstanding in that light. Try not to alter the settings again. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I’m so glad we moved on from using film. I was expert at taking double exposures, particularly when the pictures were really important, like close up pictures of The Queen!

  3. I like the sun and snow together in your photos … and the squirrels (especially the one in flight). Oh my, I can only imagine how disappointed your mother must have been about those ‘black’ photos. My problem is that sometimes something is so beautiful (eg a sunrise/sunset/animal) that I forget to take a picture while standing with the camera in my hand … it’s only later that I think “oh , I should have actually taken a picture”! Luckily you don’t have that problem – I always enjoy your photos!

Leave a Reply