I’m lucky. Once in a while a good friend of mine invites me over to the English Lake District. I get to stay at his place with other friends, drink beer, summit mountains and take photographs with cameras given to me for free.
Twice in my life I have opened a parcel to see the shy, clam shell face of an Olympus XA looking at me. The first time was unboxing a brand new one on the occasion of my 18th birthday, bought for me by my brother; such a thoughtful and generous man, he had seen how much interest I had taken in his OM cameras and just knew I would love a camera of my own.
I used that XA for about 2 years before trading it in (but not ‘up’ arguably) for a Minolta SLR. I probably didn’t get as much for it as I could have. I was a bit naive I would say, and I came to regret the sale.
Fast forward around 30 years. I had done some paid work for another friend on a website. The work was done and I had the cash. One Saturday morning, postie arrived with a parcel of brown paper for me. I was puzzled. I wasn’t expecting anything. I unwrapped it, and there, once again, was an Olympus XA, which had belonged to my friend. He had decided to give it to me. It was quite a moment. I splashed a few tears on the thing as I inspected it.
It was with this camera that I took these 5 photos, on Skiddaw, the third highest peak in the Lake District. These mountains are small in comparison to many ranges overseas, but they are to be respected, particularly in winter. The XA goes to ISO 800, so that’s what I exposed the T-MAX P3200 at. It was developed in Adox FX-39II for 9 minutes. I am delighted with the results. I dropped some of the negatives when retrieving them from the shower, but got away with it. Luck again.
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