A Bad Day With A Camera

To Boldly Go

The very first Star Trek episode I watched was weird and boring. I was about seven and I was looking for space battles or phaser battles. What I got was aliens who were white on one side of their face and black on the other. The two groups of aliens had the tones reversed on their faces and they were at war over it. The message of the episode shot straight over my preteen head and I’m sure I flipped channels until I found The Pink Panther or Battle of the Planets instead.

There’s no such thing as the unknown, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29

I didn’t make a strong connection to Star Trek until my early teens, in the 80s when I was in junior high school. By this point, I felt like an alien stuck on a planet full of humans. I didn’t share their physiology or physical abilities because of my crippled heart. I didn’t share their sense of humour. I didn’t share their interests. (Sports? Bleh.) Of course, it was Spock I identified with and idolized. I would not be surprised to learn a lot of other neurodiverse people do as well.

One thing I can say is that by this point in my life I understood the message of the first episode of Star Trek I had briefly encountered by accident as a small child. Acceptance. That was something that was lacking in my interactions with my peers in my youth. What a lovely world we would live in if we could all be more accepting of those who are different from ourselves.

Boldly Going, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
To seek out new life, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
FX6-1995-A, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
Go where the aliens are, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
To explore strange new worlds,
Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
Stop Deflecting, Vulcan, Alberta,
Solar Flare, Vulcan, Alberta,
These Are the Voyages, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29

As to the Enterprise herself, well, what a Lady. Effects from the late 60’s still held up quite well in the early 80s and I greatly enjoyed the show. I remember making it home from school just in time to pop a blank tape into our Betamax and hopefully record an episode I didn’t have yet (I never did get them all). The show brought me a lot of pleasure and I was immensely proud of my bootleg Betamax tape Star Trek TOS library that was well-watched and well-worn.

Welcome, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29

Vulcan, Alberta, is a town in Southern Alberta, Canada, that is trying to use its name to capitalize on the ongoing popularity of the Star Trek franchise to draw in tourists. There is a half-decent large Enterprise model on the east side of town along the highway that everyone stops at to take selfies with to post to Instagram. There are also some additional displays, but they are getting old and tired.

Speaking of old and tired, the Vulcan Visitor Centre (closed for the season) is also long in the tooth. It was expensive as heck to build and I’m sure it’s a maintenance nightmare. Aside from the statue and ancillary displays, it is the main Trek feature in town.

Visitor Centre, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
NCC-1801-8, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
Vulcan Tourism, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
Visitor Centre, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29 (B&W)

There had been an excellent Trek-themed museum in Vulcan called Trekcetera, but it couldn’t make it in its original home and the owners moved it to Drumheller where there were many more tourists to draw in. The debt they carried with them to Drumheller from Vulcan was too much and they are gone now.

The majority of the images in this diary entry were made with a new-to-me Canon EOS 10D that I took a gamble on. The eBay seller didn’t have a battery and was unable to test it, but confirmed it had worked previously. It looked great in the pictures so I figured I would take a chance.

Canon EOS 10D, 17-40mm EF L USM f4 Lens,
Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-29
Canon EOS 10D, Badging, Strathmore,
Alberta, 2024-02-29
Canon EOS 10D, Top, Strathmore,
Alberta, 2024-02-29
Canon EOS 10D, Back, Strathmore,
Alberta, 2024-02-29

This was a camera that I could not afford when it first came out, so I purchased the consumer-oriented Canon EOS 300D instead. I was happy with it, but there was always this longing for the other camera that was out of my reach. Until now.

Using the 10D today was an absolute frolic. It is an incredibly well-made camera and it feels good in hand. The 6.3 MP files are high-quality, especially when paired with my Canon 17-40mm EF L USM f4 lens.

Welcome to Starfleet, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
Starship Street Lamp, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
Faster than Light, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29

The other lens I had in hand was my Canon 70-300 EF IS USM f4-5.6. This is the Mk I version that came out in 2005 and it has often been referred to as Canon’s “hidden L lens”. The optical quality and build quality are equivalent to Canon’s professional L lens line. All this lens is missing is the advanced weather sealing and the red band. I used it to poach some details from the Enterprise and also to get close-ups of the adorable Enterprise-shaped street lamps that dot the town.

I keep meaning to get to Vulcan for a full-day shoot and perhaps to even stay overnight, but I never manage it despite the town being less than an hour away from where I live. I guess that makes me a sad excuse for a Trekkie. At least I did get some shots of the visitor centre I was happy with this time, both on my recently acquired Canon 10D and also these five from my Bonzart Ziegel:

Visitor Centre, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
(Bonzart 01)
Visitor Centre, Vulcan, Alberta, 2024-02-29
(Bonzart 02)
Visitor Centre, Vulcan, Alberta,
2024-02-29 (Bonzart 03)
Visitor Centre, Vulcan, Alberta,
2024-02-29 (Bonzart 04)
Visitor Centre, Vulcan, Alberta,
2024-02-29 (Bonzart 05)

The centre had been crammed with trucks parked in the wrong places, which obscured the building and ruined my shots during my previous visit. I gave up and resolved to return in the off-season, which worked out well.

One of the best things about Star Trek is that the show is still going in various incarnations, and I have gotten my daughter hooked on several of them. There is a real joy in sharing one of the best parts of your childhood with your kid. I’m hoping I might talk her into spending a night in Vulcan with me the next time I visit so we can shoot together.

Note: The majority of the images in this diary entry were made using a Canon EOS 10D except for those specifically identified as being shot with a Bonzart Ziegel. The faux 120 film frame on the Ziegel images gives them away. Well, that and the image quality.

Next Post

Previous Post

© 2024 Sean D. McCormick

Follow by Email
Copy link