Sometimes the urge to do something out of the norm comes over me from out of the blue; like stopping at the Salvation Army that I drive by literally every day, yet rarely giving a moments heed to. On this day in early March though, the urge was unmistakable. I really didn’t know what I thought I would find but in I went. I cruised past stacks of dishes and coffee cups thinking I might find the odd bit of vintage restaurant-ware (another interest of mine) but as usual, nothing.
On my way to the area where they display sporting goods items I passed by the shelf of electronics and a small black camera caught my eye. Written across the front were the words “Olympus” and “Stylus”. A bit of excitement and nostalgia washed over me! I knew these little cameras had suddenly become the darling of the Insta-hipsters, but it was this same model of point and shoot with which many family vacations were captured in the early days of my now grown family. Sliding the clamshell cover open, it sprung to life! I turned it over to see a price of $1.75. Sold!
We were just days away from a trip down to the Idaho and Utah to visit my two boys and their families (read that as “see the grandkids!”) so there wasn’t time for a test roll. The camera looked good inside and out, all functions worked as they should, so I threw it in my bag for the trip. I knew my 3 grandkids down in Utah love going to the park and I figured that would be a great opportunity to test out the little Olympus.
The day we ventured out to the park was bright and sunny with a scattering of clouds. Based on the conditions, I loaded a roll of Kodak TMax 100. I figured that would also be a great film to evaluate the optical qualities of that little Olympus lens.
To make a long story short, the camera performed admirably. It was indeed everything I had read it was (and remembered it to be). The exposures were spot on as was the focus. I had read the auto-focus was a touch slow but I had no trouble getting shots of my quick grandkids. The TMax 100 and Olympus Stylus were a perfect partnership of camera and film for a day at the park.
Taking the kids to the park for a couple hours was a breath of fresh air for all of us. It was simple and free, completely devoid of electronic distractions. Watching them play reminded me of what it used to be like to be a kid. In a sense, that’s what shooting with the little Olympus was like. I wasn’t worried about artistic composition, aperture, or shutter speed. I was simply creating images of memories with 3 of the most important people I know. It was a Stylus type of day.