Christmas this year was a bit of a washout due to me coming down with a rather severe cold on the Thursday before the day. It therefore follows that my birthday a few days after Christmas Day fared no better but then church services apart, when you get to my age and without youngsters buzzing around your feet in a state of constant excitement, it really doesn’t matter that much as an event.

Birthdays Past

When rather younger, something that I was determined to do over quite a number of years and even when working abroad, was to have my birthday in London’s West End with a bunch of mates, have a meal somewhere and generally have a good laugh.

It was a good time to do it as Christmas was ‘done’ and the venues were preparing for New Year’s Eve so tolerance and good deals on your spend abounded. By all accounts my 50th was rated highly by all, started at midday and ended at midnight with everyone scrambling for the last trains home well the worse for wear ! Nice to have the memories of people and places from the past, a sign of a life well wasted or well spent !

There is something else I did with the period between Christmas and the return to work in January which was use the time to plan or at least sketch out projects for the year ahead and today is no different.

Cathedrals and Christianity in Britain

Although still very much in the melting pot as far as the exact form this will take, I have a series of ideas that will form the backdrop to a project and will start relatively locally with Wells Cathedral which I find an amazing place. Now as this will inevitably involve photography and I have photographed the interior before with fairly standard lenses, my thoughts have turned to how to do it better.

The most obvious conclusion comes down to Tilt-Shift lenses because architectural photography is one of their main uses overcoming the awful ‘converging verticals’ that a wide angle lens will otherwise produce. They are manual focus only, highly specialised and therefore due to the lower sales volume this implies, rather expensive, not on your standard wish list for amateur photographers starting out.

Canon do a number of these, 17mm, 24mm, 45mm and 90mm and the focal length I’m after is the 24mm. Now new, a 24mm is just a fraction under £2,000 so that’s not on but you can pick them up second hand, the MkI for around £500 and the MkII for about £1,000 and after a lot of thought and a bit of research I have decided it is this latter that I want but even £1,000 is a stretch.

Trading In

A favourite prime lens of mine was always my Canon f4 300mm L IS which I have used extensively and particularly at airshows. However Covid has effectively put an end to most airshows over these past 3 years, whilst Duxford is back, our local show at Weston has been cancelled for 2023 due to costs. Additionally I question whether at the age of 77 I will be visiting too many in the future so the 300mm was a trade in candidate.

However when I got a quote and my example is in prime condition boxed and all that good stuff, I was rather disappointed and given its potential for wildlife use by me decided NO. It was not a sentimental decision just that if I later decided that I wanted to buy one again in the future, it would cost me twice what I was offered as a trade in so best to hang on to it at least for now.

Save For It

As to financing my Tilt Shift purchase, I decided to ‘go old fashioned’ and save up the cash to buy that. It may take me a few months to accumulate the money but frankly that’s okay, I won’t really be needing to use it until the Spring at the earliest anyway because all sorts of other bits and pieces will need to drop into place first.

I have plenty of room on my credit card to order a brand new one today and if it were a ‘commercial imperative’ as in a paying client needed those images now, I would if it made sense. But that’s not where I am and just owning any “thing” that you have no immediate use for and then worrying about paying it off on your card or paying exorbitant interest rates on the balance if not, is just total nuts ! Perhaps that’s the OAP in me speaking.