A Bad Day With A Camera

Pancake for Lunch

It was a late lunch walk with unseasonably warm weather; 12C. Unheard of. Out the door I went my camera sling bag, intending to use my new to me Helios 44m-2 58mm f2.0 lens on my Canon EOS R5 body to do some dramatic closeups of leaves or berries I ran across. I found some red leaves in front of a green pine that would work nicely, so I opened my bag, and…


It helps if you bring the right lens along. My choices were a 100mm vintage Pentax K-mount macro, a Lensbaby Obscura, and the craptastic Kodak pancake lens I recently purchased. It’s a cheapie meniscus lens that was rescued from a disposable Kodak film camera and embedded in a body cap for my Canon EOS R5. No focusing is needed with this lens, just point and shoot. The image quality is … interesting. I’m something of a lazy twat so I slapped on the Kodak pancake lens and was off and running.

I chose my usual lunch hour route along the irrigation canal that runs alongside Thomas Drive in Strathmore, Alberta. There are a fair number of trees and bushes along the edge of the irrigation canal and I always enjoy the walk to the north end of Gray Park and back.

Anyone sick of seeing more pics of this thing yet, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01
That bridge again, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01

I have gotten some of my most dramatic, most popular, and most beautiful photos in Strathmore with this bridge as the subject. The above images are not among them.

Go play in traffic, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01

I find cheerful people to be especially annoying. Their benches, too.

The friendly giant, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01

I have lost weight, but I love how dramatic the weight loss looks in late afternoon light.

Time to consider branching out, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01
Baring it all, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01
Watch your step, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01

The trees are barren and the ground is a combination of slush and mud. When you fall here — and you will — the trick is to land on your face and not on the expensive camera.

Condo complex, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01
For the birds, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01

Gray Park is a wonderful place for birding in the summer as long as you don’t get mugged by a cobra chicken. There is a real dearth of birds in the winter, however. All I have seen for the past month are those nasty, smack-talking magpies.

Bright spot in the day, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01
Organized mayhem, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01

This part of Gray Park is hard as heck to make look attractive in the spring when it’s green and lush. At this time of year, the pictures all say, “Can you believe I live HERE?” I can’t. I’m a remote worker and my job lets me live anywhere in Canada and work from there, but my wife’s job requires that she work in the office in Strathmore. Blah. We need to change up her employment.

I’ve nothing against Strathmore the town itself, other than it is hell on me as a photographer. It’s flat. It’s bland. There are no historic buildings of note in the town. There are no run-down properties of note. There’s nothing of note. I sometimes wind up photographing dead weeds out of desperation.

Cruft cruft and more cruft, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01

The irrigation canals that run through town are very pretty in the summer, especially when they’re teaming with baby ducks and geese. Right now? Ugh.

This is why we need roving death squads,
Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01

It’s also nice of people to toss their garbage on the ground, especially when they’re only a two-minute walk from a conveniently placed garbage can. Just the sort of thing you like to find on a nature walk. I picked it up and tossed it as leaving it lying there offended me.

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01

The only reason I took this picture of the sign is because it made me think of Talk Like A Pirate Day. I spent the rest of the walk home going, “ARRRRRRRR!!!”

Break your mother’s back, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-01

My mother has been dead for three decades, but I avoided stepping on the huge crack in the walking path just in case. And that was it for the photo outing. I trudged back home to my desk and piled through the afternoon work. There’s not a single image from this shoot I would want in my fine-art portfolio, but it was nice to get some fresh air, some exercise, and to explore the world through a camera for an hour.

I’m looking forward to doing it again tomorrow, however I’ll try and take the correct lens next time.

Note: All images in this post were produced using a Canon EOS R5 mirrorless body coupled with the RF mount version of the el-cheapo Kodak pancake lens (cap).

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© 2024 Sean D. McCormick

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