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Positive? Every Time

We become what we think, and everything we become is in direct relationship to our thoughts. You know this, the guru and the spiritual teacher teaches the lesson. I would go further and offer the suggestion that losers surround themselves with negative situations and observing those situations and sharing those situations fullstops their lives.

The negative thought or issue is easy to accept. Most often, the negative idea or question is tangible; it has or is occurring and therefore, reality. News media thrives on unhappiness, problems, war, disease and crime. People crave the negative aspects of society: so many desire to be part of the drama. Acting within the theatre provides a sense of being, a sense of reason.

It is Tribal:

Many people fight against the outcome. Voter A has backed the winner and is silent within the party victory. Voter B has backed the loser and now embarks on years of calling voter A an idiot. He cannot see that voter A is happy, is getting on with his life, working toward his future and the security of his family. Indeed, voter B cannot see that his nemesis is prosperous because of his endeavour and hard work. Another (probably worse) aspect of the situation is voter A does not trust or like the griping loser.

A third voter: Voter C is one who has not voted! He has conceded to the consensus. And he also sees voter B’s attitude and unforgiving nature. As Time passes inadequate old voter B’s life becomes more difficult, he seems to struggle at every corner, employment: or if he is self-employed: customers are challenging to find. Every day seems to be a struggle, and all he sees is the negative aspects of society. And of course, the establishment which is charged with running the nation is blamed for his plight. The reality is no one cares about his difficulties only those in the same mindset.

The reality is the people who get on with life, work to their future no matter how difficult the journey: and acknowledge their responsibility to their security have no time to consider the negative aspects of life’s experience. To see and accept reality is often hard and results in sacrifice. And if one’s early years have been squandered, as time passes, feelings of insecurity enter deep within one’s mind. The vulnerability manifests as fear: the fear of ability to pay the rent, buy anything more than essential foods, and forsake the possibility of regular holidays are examples of manifest insecurities.

A and C see the hatred and moaning of B! Who would desire to be associated with, or work with, or spend money with B? Only those who ‘feel the same’. And this is the reason for B’s plight! His negativity is reason for failure.

Fear is as addictive as heroin. As we feel fear, the release from the tension is happiness. But happiness followed by the fear is a seductive emotional merry-go-round and will soon be lost, the ride has to be paid for: time and again. One may see someone with cancer and think ‘I may die like that’ or hear of someone with heart disease and think ‘I hope this does not happen to me’. Truth to tell there will be a final moment: it may be today, or the body could live to 100. And understandably there is a fear of the last sleep for many people. They want to live longer, experience more of life. And yet, they moan about life. Impoverished existence, the establishment which ruins their plights, and for all of the negative observations of life, they are afraid to leave the existence which causes so much anguish. What is wrong with them? They want all – for nothing, no contribution all is ‘self’.

A friend has just separated from her partner. Understandably she is upset, and it is a difficult time they live together in lockdown. What shall I do? She asks. Get on with life, and you have been married before; it’s another relationship. And there will be another, see it as a new beginning, see the positive aspect: You are free to do as you please, sell the house, get another job, tell the world there is a new beginning. Jack’s a nice guy, you’re a tip-top girl, but Jack and Jill have rolled down the hill for the Last Time! Never go back, Jill, Never. Two hours later, she Face Time’s and tells me there is a future; of course, there is a future; the choice is negative or positive. Jill make the positive choice.

Positive: Nothing beats it; it overrules failure and difficult situations. Positive is never going back, learning from actual outcomes, never repeating the same mistakes. Positive is working to the future, making and taking small steps, thinking kindness and love, never harbouring hatred.

Many years ago, a man caused me immense pain. I hated him, and he ruined a problematic relationship. Today, I have nothing but thanks for encountering this man! Without his lies and betrayal, I would not be where I am today. Where am I? Happy, cared for and loved: make no mistake money cannot buy that trio of perfection.

Where am I? 

I have a friend who killed two people: he is the kindest and most generous human I know. I love him for who he is and his compassion and sincere regret for actions made forty years ago. His understanding of the indignity of prisons and greed of the justice system is worthy of a doctorate. I have known two people murdered: Corin and Julie: is the injustice of their deaths in conflict with my friend who has taken life? No, I’m enriched by the wisdom within the tragedies.

I’m 62 this year: the possibility of me seeing Alice, Tristan, Bella and Molly becoming 40 is doubtful. I would love to see their children, successes, homes and families thrive and prosper. I’ll never know their future, and does this concern me? Of course not, this is life; this is the majesty of life. You see: if I entered the final sleep tomorrow, I’d be content to have known them, content to have enjoyed the laughter, and content to have seen the beautiful way they are cared for by their parents. They will encounter horrors, pain and unhappiness, but I’m sure their upbringing will have prepared them for life’s full stop, roadblocks and accidents. They will be surrounded by love and parental safety lines. So why should I fear the inevitable separation?

What a beautiful life! Lizbet, David Bowie, Heaven 17, Jimmy Ruffin, House Music, Havana cigars, pipe tobacco, Guinness, whiskey, The Clash, Kawasaki motorbikes, Isuzu trucks, tarot readings, books, mediations, the Shop and Well Being Shows, fights, drunken nights, anger, Nikon cameras, happiness, debts, money squandered, diving under the sea, Hoover Dam, San Francisco, weeks in France with amazing friends. And all of the people I know and known, the active friendships and ones now closed. Every one a decisive and wonderful moment. And privilege to have lived every second, and yes, I have caused more than a little pain and upset, so what? That is life, that is the wonder of existence.

These words are free-flowing thoughts about positivity and happiness. There are darkness and joy and love and confessions of hatred. Make no mistake, there is only love in my heart and positivity in my inner being. Don’t like me? I don’t care! I have never asked for anything, and I am responsible for my life.

See You Soon

Ian Timothy

Wasp or Bee?

Wasp or Bee?

Sit with friends in any garden for a few hours and someone will encounter a wasp. The poor little flying demon who weighs less than a four inch strand of human hair (wasp 20mg – hair 60mg) brings fear to the bravest of people.

The yellow and black striped fighter-jet can sting multiple times.The strength of a wasp’s venom varies from common wasp stinging nettle sore to European hornet injected acid painful. However, the possibility of being stung is pretty low. If and only if it is left alone. They rarely settle on a humans skin, because wasps love small morsels! We are monsters. And why is the arm waving human stung? Most often because the light weigh wasp becomes trapped in the fine hairs on our arms and legs! When one stands still, moves slowly or ignores the wasp it will fly away.

Unexpected and painful encounters occur in the home during autumn. The so called sleepy wasp falls into clothing or behind an object and an unfortunate human is stung by the unseen insect. The dying wasp enters the home because it is searching for sweet food and our homes are sweet fragrance traps. You see, wasps die before winter of starvation: they are not sleepy they are dying. It is only the fertilised queen which hibernates and begins the life cycle the following year.

Each nest is used once. Good gardeners know it is best to leave the nest alone if the wasps are not causing problems. Of course, the nearer a human house, the greater probability the colony will be destroyed. The social wasp’s too-ing and fro-ing to the nest is because they are tasked with ferrying food supplies to the growing larvae. Knowledgable gardeners know the wasp has immense benefits within the garden. It feeds on grubs and parasites which damage vegetables, fruit and flowers. And yes: the wasp does damage fruit: but as in all of natures wonder, there is a balance. Most orchards suffer less damage from the feeding wasp than the potential of fruit parasite which are controlled by the wasp.

The wasp is a loner, its danger over estimated: the yellow and black stripes instil fear by reputation. Incidentally the so called social wasp has an average lifespan of 17 days. And once it leaves the nest it lives a solitary existence. If one understands the little insect you realise it is of immense benefit to humans. It is castigated for one reason – its ability to sting and cause pain. Most people believe it is a useless parasite and cannot even pollenate plants. Which in most instances (the pollination aspect) is true, there are of course exceptions to every rule and some species do have hair and feed on the nectar of flowers. The majority of the species feed on small insects. grubs and larvae.

The wasp is a hard worker making immense contributions to the health of our cultivated land, crops and orchards. You may not like their tough-guy attitude, but one has to respect their solitary dedication to their natural instinct. Few will love them for who they are and most will hate them for what they are not.

The Bee:

The bee is a difficult fellow to categorise. Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey and beeswax. The honey bee has become an essential aspect of worldwide pollination of plants. Insecticides, certain fertilisers and changes in farming techniques have decimated the colonies. However, a lesser known and more concerning aspect of the decline in number is Global Warming. When combined, man’s interference with nature has decimated forty-percent of the worlds bee population.

The honey bee has become humankind’s saviour. If we lose the bee, the reality is unthinkable. Without the bee’s pollination of plants our crop, fruit and vegetable supplies will become threatened. The social aspect of honey bee’s life cycle and hive is a paradox. It makes the social beehive strong and industrious and also proves fatal to disease and some species of parasite. Although the bee inherits immense strength from its social integration. The close proximity of bees within the hive means a mite or virus can wipe it out in weeks. And there is another weak aspect: the reliance on the government of the beekeeper and the beekeeper’s practice. A poor beekeeper has unhappy bees and unruly bees rebel.

The honey bee is more fragile than one imagines. A poorly sited hive will often result in angry bees. Hives close to a pathway, in busy allotments or places where there is high frequency noise results in unhappy colonies. Derek Jarman wrote of his angry bees on many occasions. He realised they became agitated shortly after weekends when many guests visited him at Prospect Cottage. And their fragility results in anger: My friend Harold Palmer remembers a vet shooting a cow after being stung thousands of times. The unfortunate beast strayed into an orchard and knocking over a hive. The beautiful insects need calm and peace, when they are in agitated environments they are dangerous companions.

The naturally living bees (the one’s whose honey cannot be harvested) are to be encouraged and nurtured. Every opportunity mankind has to offer a place of safe refuge should be taken. Although this is interference with nature, it is one which has to be considered. Providing bee hotels is a great way to boost bee diversity in the garden, by attracting solitary species. Solitary bees lay their eggs in the hollow cavities, leaving a small supply of food for the larvae to eat. The larvae then hatch, pupate and emerge from the stems. Always position bee hotels in full sun. Good bee hotels have a wire mesh in front of tubes to prevent birds eating the larvae.

The inhuman race is in jeopardy from many channels of attack: Just like the pollinating bee. Virus, disease, war, anger and environmental agitation are some comparisons. One should remember the bee’s ability to pollinate plants is more important than harvesting of honey. But wait! Is this true? If there were no demand for the honey, there would be fewer bees: so the honey is an essential aspect of the equation.

Bee’s are fragile and to a degree rely on a symbiotic relationship between mankind and the honey factory workers. It is a relationship is essential for survival. We will do well to consider the lessons learned by considering of the bee colony. It survives through instinct and following an agreement with nature. Each bee knows its place and understands its part in the hive’s success. Should humankind learn to understand most live in a social beehive? And as it has grown beyond the mother Earth’s natural capacity to feed its population, the evolution inevitably means control and policing of the way the hive is allows to live?

Sometimes the bee is mistaken for wasp. Being at a distance or with poor eyesight the mistake is made. One is seen as danger the other as beneficial. And yet, the truth is both can strike a painful sting. And both are beneficial to humankind. One the solo predator, an unsung gardener’s hero. The other a provider, a slave of mankind, exploited by the governing beekeeper.

There is no defined message in this essay. It is one which is written as a cathartic exercise. One which helps to use natures messages to guide one’s thoughts. So many humans fight to live, and believe they should live forever. The thought is unless we all contribute and accept the fragility of our existence there is little hope of long term security. We know the truth of the bee’s plight and do nothing. And yet every garden has a place for a bee hotel. The wasp is seen as a threat so it is killed and falsely identified as a danger.

And yet the two insects are related: the same but different and live within their environment. They have no thought toward humankind or other species. They live with the threat of unforeseen danger without wavering from their daily tasks. As with all creatures they follow the path of life. Birth – existence and death. Nature demonstrates it is the living, giving and following of the individuals path which results in positive evolution. There is no interference with natures evolution all flows to the benefit of the ‘whole ecosystem’. One impatient species who lives opposed too: or who has forever lost its real nature. And these selfish and impatient and greedy beings live in fear of the inevitable outcome of their diseased, ravaged and failing social beehive.

You may comment: ‘I already know the sentiments within this essay: it is boring’ and the reply is ‘So what have you done to rectify the situation?’ ‘What have you taught your children?’ ‘Can you accept your fragility?’ ‘Is reality a stranger?’ ‘Do you think you can overwhelm the course of nature?’ ‘Are you immortal?’

Are You Wasp or Bee?

Ian Timothy

Nikkor 50mm f1.4

I wanted to explore the capabilities of this lens a little further. I wrote about the condition in another post it has light fungus on the front element. However the images are acceptable and sharp. All pictures are taken between f4.0 ~ f8.0 @ 1/250 of a second – Film FomaPan100 developed in Rodinal 1:50 ~ 20º for 9 minutes and 30 seconds.

Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Ian Timothy
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Ian Timothy
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Ian Timothy
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Ian Timothy
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Ian Timothy
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Ian Timothy
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Ian Timothy
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Ian Timothy
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Ian Timothy

The lens is indeed capable of producing excellent images. As usual the comment is ‘wet printing’ in the darkroom would reveal greater detail and resolving ability. When reviewing the images, remember the close focus means there is a focal point. Look for the resolution in the eye of the dragon. My choice has always been make my prints high contrast and fairly dark exposure. And I always print full frame and ‘straight’ (no dodging or burning).

Photographers will learn about composition better and faster when they learn to review the whole frame of the taken image. It is all too easy to crop the image on the enlarger baseboard and lose valuable negative area. When we review our ‘taken’ images we learn to crop in the viewfinder. And this makes for a better photo technique. And we’ll never get every frame right. I remember reading an article about contact sheets which suggested if eight frames per thirty-six are useable you are doing well.

Here are two interesting articles about contact sheets:

The Guardian

The BBC

Many Thanks for Reading

Nikkors 24mm f2.8 + 50mm f1.4

This short article demonstrates the ability of old and abused lenses to resolve decent images. The lenses are the Nikkor 24mm f2.8 and 50mm f1.4. I discovered the 24mm optic on eBay and paid £55:00 including postage. The 50mm cost £43:00 including postage. The filter ring of the 24mm is damaged and the rear element is scratched. A filter is now forced onto the thread and it is secured with insulation tape.

I own five Nikkormat cameras: Whenever I see one for around fifty pounds it is snapped up. The last one purchased is the lower one in the picture below and is fitted with a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 – A thirty pounds bargain ~ This lens is in poor condition with fungus:

Below is an example of the 50mm resolving ability:

Nikkor 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

Below is an image from the 24mm. 1/125 sec @ f5.6

Another an image from the 24mm. 1/125 sec @ f5.6

The images demonstrate one can risk the purchase of old and rough Nikkormats and Nikkors. If you are on a tight budget go for these underrated cameras and lenses. I have never purchased a Nikon which could not be returned to life. The light meters in the cheaper Nikkormats have a reputation for being troublesome. I have been lucky, only one of mine has resistor failure. The other four work faultlessly.

The film used is PanF developed in Rodinal 50:1 – 20 degrees for 11 minutes. I think the development time was too short! I’ll time it at 15 minutes next time. The negatives are very sharp and would ‘wet print’ very well indeed, providing far better images that the scans in this article.

Thanks for reading. Consider cheap and heavily used Nikons – Nikkors and Nikkormats. Most will reward you better than over priced ‘collectors pieces’.

See You Soon

Takumar 50mm f1.4

This lens was stripped and cleaned some time ago. Although the outward condition is inferior, optically it is in first-class order. I have chosen to scan the negatives at a low resolution to see how the images look on the site.

As you can see lens is well worn:

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

The close up reveals the condition of the lens: During the overhaul the optics were subjected to a 48 hour UV bath, and are now gin clear, without a hint of the yellowing associated with the thorium lenses. The UV bath removes the time related yellowing of glass containing thorium.

Pentax Issues:

I have eight screw thread Pentax cameras, and all have enjoyed full clean, lubrication and adjustment carried out by Eric at Pentax Repairs. He is an outstanding technician. However, I’m now coming across a fault with the Pentax’s. On two cameras the shutter curtains are beginning to show slight light leaks in very bright light. If I am to continue to use the Takumar lenses, I will consider purchasing a Voightlander Bessaflex TM – Or move over to Nikkormats and Contax for my 35mm work, and sell my extensive Pentax collection. This would be a sad move, as I have used SVs and S1a’s for many years. A compromise is to use the M42 to K Mount adapter: The image below shows the same 50mm mounted on an MV using the adapter:

Ok: We now have another issue to consider when choosing an analogue camera. Light leaks in the rubberised silk shutter curtains would make a repair expensive and in some cases impossible. It is interesting how something out of our control can force us to consider available options, even ones that overrule emotional attachment.

Film and Developer Choice:

For this test, I used FomaPan 100 developed in Ilford ID11 (20 degrees C for 9 minutes). This is a change from my usual developer: Rodinal. During the last six years, this classic developer has given me beautiful negatives when using FomaPan. And I have come to expect the sharp acutance (edge sharpness) of the grain using the Foma 100/Rodinal combination. ID11 does not give this ‘edge’ sharpness, of course one should not expect the ID11 to do so, it is a ‘solvent’ developer which smooths out the grain during processing.

The old tractor on Cromer beach is an indication of how a simple image can be full of information. It is for the viewer to realise the story being told. My thoughts are redundancy and end of service.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

Another tractor image: In fact, boring and without great interest: The Composition would benefit from a closer crop and a different angle. An important lesson is the negative is sharp, and a wet print would have more excellent resolution. The conclusion is low-resolution scans are not beneficial when assessing lenses for the internt; although low resolution scans are fine for reviewing composition. Low resolution scanning has a time advantage. The scan time is less than a minute at the low setting on Silverfast 8 software, usual scan time is three minutes per frame.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

The portrait composition of the Muir-Hill machine works reasonably well: although a second ‘square-on’ record would have been worthwhile. I had limited myself to one cassette of film for this day’s work, and therefore, one frame per subject was the rule.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

In this image, we see the tractors in use. It is a reasonable record of the scene. Unfortunately, it also betrays the shutter curtain’s deterioration. Look at the two white lines in the bottom left of the picture. This is extraneous exposure made while composing the image. My Weston Euromaster Meter indicated 1/500th at f11.0 for the correct exposure. So while the composition was being made with an open aperture, light seeped onto the emulsion. Look at the other images in this series, and there is no indication of curtain issues. Only when faced with extreme light does the rubberised cloth leak light and ruin the picture.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

We can see the ability of the fifty-five-year-old lens to resolve a sharp image in this capture. Consider the composition. The sea horizon is level and therefore the alignment is ok: the composition is mediocre and nothing more than a ‘snap-shot’. Many photographers make the mistake of ignoring horizons. Think about the way we see our world, it is with level horizons and (for example) squared walled buildings. When the inner-being suggests to the conscious mind: ‘there is something not quite right with this picture’ The background and ‘angled’ horizons often answers the question ‘why don’t I like this image?’ This is not a hard and fast rule, it is an important consideration in ‘open-framed’ pictures.

The final image is of the Russian cannon outside of Ely Cathedral. This image is all about exposure. The cannon is black, to show the gun as black, the technique is to under-expose the frame: this results in a less exposed cannon on the negative. When printed in the darkroom the thinner ‘under-exposed’ cannon is darker on the print. I closed the aperture by two stops to achieve this end. In the darkroom, I could give the cannon a little more exposure using the burning-in technique. Although I’m very keen on straight printing, which means getting the best negative possible. Straight printing is the process when prints are not manipulated during printing. One prints ‘straight’ from the negative to the paper. Good exposure technique helps with ‘straight-printing’.

Many photographers extol the virtues of print manipulation, indeed there are those who worship the so-called master printer. I have no interest in refining the print. If I desired amazing and easy to take monochrome images, I’d sell my collection and buy a Leica Monochrome!

Edward Weston dismissed photographers who used sloppy technique (straight printing), dodging and burning prints were an essential aspect of his final image. And there are many who follow his lead. Bresson liked his Leica and 50mm, Tri-X and f8.0. He felt the deal was composition, in fact, he did not develop or print most of his work, although he demanded excellence of printing. I go with Susan Sontag: in her book ‘On Photography’ : she comments that ‘straight’ printing is a valid photographic method.

In Conclusion:

The Takumar 50mm f1.4 is an excellent lens. All images in the article are exposed using small apertures and fast shutter speeds. So the full opening of f1.4 is not explored in the pictures. From experience, the glass is sharp wide open at the point of focus. It is excellent over most of the frame from f2.8 and loses the edge after f11.0. There is no point in taking a series of frames of one subject sequentially closing the aperture to demostrate the different ways the lens resolves the picture. My preference is to explore the lens’s capability in the real world.

When one is walking around with a camera and lens, you have immense control over exposure setting combinations. However, In the real world, when wandering, we are recording images and considering composition. My prefence in this instance is to set the apature to f8.0 and change the shutter speed to the suggestion made by the meter.

The principal requirement is to expose the film well. Use Sunny-16 or a light meter: and keep an eye on the settings. After the exposure is looked after: pre-visualise the picture and compose as best you can if you desire imagery with either a story to tell or visual impact. The process IS this simple.

  1. Keep an eye on the light: Refer to the meter often
  2. So, use the Sunny-16 rule AND light meter. Learn to see and understand light
  3. Adjust settings often – In this way you become used to light and camera adjustments. Eventually you’ll set exposure by intuition!
  4. Compose tightly and concentrate on focus
  5. One camera and two lenses can capture most images (added as an after thought!)

The images in this article struggle or fail to impress: all demonstrate compositional faults. When we have a ‘bad’ day not all is lost: By reviewing one’s compositions changes can be made. But remember one crucial point: We can never take and make a good image on every frame or on every outing. However, we can learn from every frame we take!

See You Soon

My Cupboards Are Empty

One Hour or A Thousand Word Limited Essay:

If ever there was evidence of the hidden dangers of society, it is seen in this country over the last weeks. I watched the parasites strip the shelves bare with no account for the poor and elderly who could not afford to stock a little extra food or even get to the stores.

Some years ago I had a friend: You cannot be liable the dead, so I name him: Des West. I met him during my evening drinking sessions. Initially, we exchanged glances, and later we spoke in-depth about our differing views of the world. He was a sharp and caustic minded man.

Des drove a Mercedes sports coupe, and I discovered he owned an expensive home. Unmarried and seeming to be indifferent to female company, Des became an excellent friend. There is one other aspect of Des: he was rich, and I mean rich. Whenever work came into the conversation, his stock answer was ‘I have finished work for the day’.

I suppose we’d known each other for a year or so when he said ‘Shall we have a takeaway at my house?’ I agreed and away we went. The house was terrific. One could not ask for anything more: good-sized indoor pool, beautiful kitchen and designer perfect living room. I did not review the upper floor, although Des told me there were six-bedrooms, four en-suite. If the downstairs rooms were anything to go by, there would be no doubting the upper floor would reflect the living space’s opulence.

We drank good wine and took our time eating our Indian meal. The takeaway meet-up became a weekly routine. I enjoyed Des’s company and friendship, for indeed we had become close friends.

One evening he asked me a question ‘You no longer ask me about my work’ my reply ‘well you do not want anyone to know: so I assume there is a grey aspect’ ‘Oh! Yes, Ian, there is a grey-area alright, certainly the wrong side of the law’. ‘Then do not tell me Des! It’s difficult to keep a secret when you drink as much as me.’ He looked at me with vacant eyes and smiled.

Sometime later I’d hit a difficult time financially. Like most people, the initial weeks were a brave face and hope for the best. ‘Take-away Ian?’ ‘Des, I cannot afford my share, so the answer must be no’ ‘Are you taking the piss? A tenner its nothing to me and you are my friend. Come on, let’s go’.

After we had eaten, Des left the room. He was away for around ten minutes and when he returned he was carrying a plastic supermarket bag ‘There’s twenty-grand in there Ian. It’s yours keep it. It’s your birthday present’. I needed the money, but no way could I accept the gift, and I declined the offer’.

‘Ian, I earn between ten and twelve thousand pounds a week. I do not know what to do with my money. I have it everywhere, in building society accounts, bank accounts on the Continent. My mother owns her home, and my brother owns his home, I’ve paid for it all. There is two weeks work in that bag, and the money will keep coming in, week in week out. I have over six-million pounds, twenty-grand is nothing, and if you want some more, ask’.

I took the money, my problems over, my life turned around. A year or so later I realised my friend was ill. He had terminal cancer, the evening he told me I sat in my car and cried. He asked me if I would come and see him in the hospice when the time came. And indeed, I did. Des was an exceptional man and an incredible friend.

During the last week he told me about his work:

‘I’m a pornographer. I have three adverts in soft-porn magazines. They read ‘Continental Magazines by Mail order: PO Box 25 Leicester’ I have a list of titles and my clients pay twenty-five pounds a copy postpaid. My business associates in Denmark and Sweden post the magazines to my customers in this country. I have about eight-thousand clients’.

The idea was an effective way to become a millionaire; he asked me if I wanted the business! ‘Believe me, the temptation was there, but the idea of a long prison sentence did not appeal’ Des smiled when I declined ‘You’re a fool, but that’s your strength. I’ll bet you’ll be in your fifties before the penny stops dropping!’ we smiled and I held his hand.

I asked Des about his work, and he said ‘There is nothing to it: it is like all business’s supply and demand. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of the potential. Here’s is something to think about Ian, there are millions, and I mean millions of pounds made in my industry, and you’ll not find anyone who is a customer!’ I can still hear his laughter. ‘Best of all is the control I have over the two officers who take their grand-a-piece to leave me alone. I like the idea of corruption. Everywhere you look there is morals and blind-eyes, and it will become worse. Your future is to live in a world of greed.’

Des left me a decent amount of money. And I wasted it, as he knew I would, I could see him smile when the last thousand became nought. He was a wonderful man, and many would have judged him severely thirty-years ago. Today he wouldn’t have made a penny from his method. These days most who knew of his work would not give him a second thought or concern. These changes are the way of life, the way of the evolution of society.

But when I see those empty supermarket shelves. The trolleys full of pasta, tins of beans and tomatoes: I think back to Desmond’s customers and their hidden vice. There would have been people from every avenue of society making my friend his millions. And you’d not get a one to admit to their purchases. We do not know who we live amongst: What are their vices: What are their truths: Nothing changes once the seedy sex magazine and now a hundred rolls of toilet paper.

Few will admit to their vice or greed. And to my mind, the greedy are a worse danger than any virus.

See You Soon

Pentax 40mm Pancake

Out to play with the Pentax 40mm SMC Pancake lens attached to a Pentax MX camera. When it comes to 35mm camera choice I’m torn between four cameras. The Contax iia – Pentax MX and MV and the Nikkormat. But most important of all is the lens choice. The 40mm SMC Pancake is a fine lens with great contrast and resolution. Many reviewers knock this optic’s ability to produce sharp and sparkling images. I would question their understanding of the sequence of the analogue process.

Ilford HP5s – Processed in ID11

I’m not a fan of fast film. My preference is for the 100 iso speed group: Fomapan 100 being my number one choice. I had three rolls of Ilford HP5s remaining from a project completed earlier in the year which involving low light. So I decided to take the MX – 40mm – HP5s combination out into the streets of Nottingham the day before the ‘holiday’.

1/30th @ f4.0 The Exchange Nottingham

The City was indeed deserted. I waited until the two strollers were nearly out of shot before capturing the image. I’m not pleased with the composition. However the atmosphere of the usually busy arcade is seen in the record of history.

Snap Shot

This man had the message. He is an ex Jehovah’s Witness and has an interesting message to give. The flip chart style message board is a great innovation. He has a few more startling messages for humankind ready for display. A snapshot and just what street-photography is all about.

On The Run

I saw the runner a few moments before the image was taken. Taking the chance he’d run in front of the camera I knew he would look at the subject he thought I was recording: not realising he was the centre of the image. I’ve used this technique many times and it rarely fails to produce an interesting photograph. What you cannot see is he looked back, because he believed he’d missed something!

In Conclusion:

Use any lens and camera combination. Remember, analogue photography is holistic and as good as the weakest link. If the exposure is out, the processing time or temperature too much or too little or the lens is out of focus the final image will suffer. Above all, the composition is king and queen of the process.

See You Soon

Contax iia

Oleg of OK Cameras in Russia has serviced my Contax iia. So I can now begin to renew my friendship with this amazing camera. It is complemented with an optically perfect 50mm f1.5 Sonnar lens, although it has a slight ding on the filter ring. The intention is to finish a full and in-depth review of the camera. I’ll save the pictures of the Contax and lens until the review is finished. So for this short post, I post a few images taken with this amazing lens.

The mystical way the Sonnar resolves images is unique and to my mind almost unsurpassable. I consider a 6X9 inch print as a perfect size for viewing images taken on a 35mm negative: either for arm’s length consideration or for close up scrutiny this print size makes sense. The scans of the negatives are of low resolution: the printed negatives are fantastic, simply beautiful. The images have the most beautiful luminous look.

Sonnar 50mm f1.5 – Lens made in 1957
Sonnar 50mm f1.5 – Film FomaPan 100
Sonnar 50mm f1.5 – Developer used Ilford ID11
Amazing Resolving Ability

One can see the unique and powerful way the lens resolves even the most mundane of images: Photographers who can find a Contax ii or iia with either Sonnar 50mm (f2.0 or f1.5) will be rewarded with beautiful photographic images.

See You Soon

Fear of Virus – Bet Your Fragility On It

I watch the morons wearing masks and living in fear of the mild flu. And I’d bet my few pennies of savings I’l not know one who dies of the disease. And nor will you” I see the masks as signs of insecurity, lack of intelligence and an overestimation of self-worth.

The millions are chomping on dog meat, monkey brains, sparrow feet and chicken innards without a thought for the possible inherent disease. Tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs. London smog quantities of dope inhaled daily. Dog crap on the pavement and cat paws covered in rat blood. All healthy, safe and without apparent danger. A thirteen-million to one chance of dying of a strain of flu. And the fear of a next-door neighbour who has just returned from a ride on the train. Half-wit thinking, press and media-induced bollocks

Listen to the Message

Eighteen-hundred people were killed in traffic accidents in the UK last year: Thirty-six people each week: five a day! I’ll take my chance with Corona and stop driving. And Hey! There were six-thousand deaths from ACCIDENTS in the Home last year: that’s fifteen people a day falling downstairs, plugging themselves into the mains or falling asleep in the bath. I’ll take Corona and move into a fucking tent.

One mention of the new flu and fear runs wild in the imagination of fools. They worry about their deaths and fragility. So they should, because they, like you and me, are fucked. Your life expectancy is no more than three months. You’ll stave and die without your prescription insulin, blood pressure inhibitors and angina relief. You’re walking dead for sure: and the morons proved without a doubt the fragility of your existence.

Some years ago there was a petrol tanker drivers strike. Ten days into the strike, the troops took over the full supplies. This country dried to a petrol and diesel supply standstill. No fuel boy and your Ferrari or Bentley is a heap of useless scrap. And in thirty years when the electric car has bankrupted the Arab, your collection of classics will be on the way to the steel recycler. Yes! Chum! The deal is all about supply and demand and need.

Streets will run with Blood

A bunch of greedy fuckers can clear out a supermarket of toilet rolls in two days. Supplies are soon gone. Now the shelves of baked bean tins are empty: the pigs at the troughs will take everything, and without supplies, you’ll starve.

So your life is about six weeks safe: this is the reality of your fragility. No food supplied to the shops because panic buying clears the shelves. Riots in the street and looting follow. Finally rotting corpses poison the water supplies and the death deal is complete.

I wouldn’t worry about Corona chum. I’d start thinking about your actual life expectancy and total and absolute reliance on supplies. No drugs? No need for doctors. No food? no need to work, no need for teachers. You are safe as the balance of society. Starvation and horrific death are literally weeks away. You can be as fit as a butchers dog or be living a cancer death sentence.

Without supplies, you are six weeks safe. And make no mistake: This truth will not go away or be forgotten like the Coronavirus.

See you soon: You are not as safe as you think.

No Competition

Nine Minutes Read:

Titles: 
Why Enter a Race?
Why Compete?
A Third Way:

Without participating in a race you cannot win or lose. This meditation offers the suggestion if a free-minded individual refuses to compete on societies precepts: happiness, security and wealth become active aspects of one’s existence  An open-minded individual understands the rules of life, and after careful considerations, weigh’s up the balance of any situation. And even if the scales of truth are weighted against one’s hopes and inspirations: an open-minded person makes the right and sometimes difficult choice based on reality rather than emotional desire.

Open-minded thinking sometimes causes temporary isolation during transitional periods. Friends and family fail to accept open-minded assessments and the move from illusion to reality. The possibility of losing friends causes resistance from the emotional mind: So one should remember initial setbacks include: Closure of friendships, relationships, and moving away from established situations. Readers or listeners are reminded major changes to one’s relationships are difficult for an emotional mind to accept: and this is why an emotional account will resist the idea of becoming none competitive. 

Recording of This Article

From the beginnings of the first comprehensions of life: we are encouraged to be competitive. We see parents, compete with family, friends and neighbours, fathers follow favourite teams and talk of promotion and work and money. Parents offer suggestions of superiority with comparisons. Proving their superiority with comparison to others less fortunate. “look at that heap of junk, look at that terrace house, how can they live like that?” These are the phrases of superiority. An unfortunate child has grandparents who reinforce ideas of attainment: talk of the university, good jobs and qualification. The child is being locked into a system.

Furthermore: teachers over-see tests: school classes are competitive with two main factions: either: best and smart and fast OR weak and unintelligent and slow. Inevitably achievers gain attention: failures become punished, ignored or branded as trouble makers. Later in life, there are extremes with the top of the class becoming a successful professional. The bottom of the class becomes a successful criminal. The majority watch and understand nothing other than conformity.

Injustice seeps into the system: Adoration for attainers’ and dislike of the failures: The tragedy is we are rarely guided to reference personality or character. How many times have you listened to a cruel comment: Something like “He’s a hard worker, but he’s just plain stupid”? How do we explain this cruelty? Consider the character Forest Gump to discover the seed of an answer. Do you know why the film is so popular? It is because millions of people can relate to Forest’s character. They know they have more to give; however, their belief is they have no purpose. Consider the message that Forest does not have a purpose: episodes of his life are flowing and without defined purpose. His fortune is dictated by chance meetings. Truth is Forest’s prosperity is down to chance and lack of empathetic connection to reality. He has no fear because his mind only knows how to run! This is his initial life lesson: His mind knows it must keep on running and moving on and is life like a box of chocolates? No more than it is a bowl of cherries. Life is tough, unfair and without compromise.

The free mind asks why people adore the arrogant success story and ignore a kind and caring non-achiever. Who would you prefer as a friend and associate? I know my preference never waivers: A kind, caring, transparent and honest person wins my heart every time. My friends range from compassionate wealth: too will ‘o the wisp spirituals. Only one gauge matters, the question: “Do I enjoy my friend’s company?” Incidentally, I’m thankful for their patience and graciousness, these are two character assets needed to put up with my strange attitudes and thoughts.

I do not believe who we associate with restricts our lives: Many sages suggest we become the same mindset of our associates. Not if we follow the third way: you see the third way guides one not to judge or compete. Therefore if there is no competition to gain or attain friends, it becomes easy to separate one’s self from those who cause hurt, pain or unhappiness.

For most, life’s potentials and promise become set in the mould of conformity toward the end of teenage rebellion. As the renegade disappears in shadows of hopelessness: Social protocols and society’s master plan takes over. Poor relationships, children, marriage, divorce, joy, happiness, failures, houses, apartments, jobs, cars, debts, loans, anguish, sorrow, occasional celebrations are expected and accepted. The cycle begins again when children grow up and follow the plan taught by parents and teachers. Millions are caught in this net of perceived normality.

Every race is won when it is run alone. Having no interest in the successful, the failures or middle-grounders frees the inner being from all levels of competition. The winners, losers and the indifferent minds all have their level. And most of them unknowingly make the choice to be in their place. The free-mind see’s people enter daily races even though they’ll lose or not finish. Races of ambition, wealth, possession, academic attainment are never won outright. Jack will have more money than Jill. Branson will have more money than your neighbour who lives in the mansion. Einstein is has more genius than the university lecturer. There are few outright winners and of what importance is another human’s victory to you? Admiration for another man’s endeavour acknowledges competition and winning. The fact he has the accolade should be the end of any interest. Closed minds follow the idea that winning and attainment demonstrates success. An open mind sees beyond this idea setting its own standards, ethics and ethos.

Before one can follow the third way, there is need to understand the truth of entering the race. Attempting to see the reality means being brave enough to see entering the competition is an illusion of dreams and hope and false promise. Those who enter the race, become fit to become winner. And the fitness is harnessed by those who organise the race. When ten men strive to become top salesman, the company wins from everyone who has entered. Even the salesman who makes the least sales has contributed to the companies profits. The race is designed to benefit the organisation, society or government not those who compete.

We can win every race if we compete with personal standards. Setting personal standards is easy to think about and difficult to establish: Today you choose to save your wages and begin to pay off your bills and tomorrow you see the item of illusion you must have! A simple phrase helps the mind to be free: It is: To be free every debt should be satisfied. Many will find the idea almost impossible to comprehend. Allow me to cast a spell of wellbeing: being without obligation will make you happier than any other state of mind. In other words: To be free every debt should be satisfied

To be within debt is means you have nothing: There is no need to have any more than needed. How much do your need? Use this formula: add up your monthly out goings: rent or mortgage, utility bills, car and travel and food. Add twenty percent to the figure. This is you actual financial need. If you save everything earned above this figure you will be rich. Use the savings to pay off mortgage early. Then you will be very rich.

Setting the mindset sets the desire, set this objective: choose to only enter a race you can win. To be free, think of the freedom of being without debt. Consider the idea for hours; write about the feeling of freedom. All one needs to do is divert excess into the money you owe. Do you say you have no savings? There will be no excess where there is a waste. Fast food, bottled water, excess of pleasures all are lures to debt. Two bottles on Friday, three on Saturday and the takeaway meal total the costs. Understand the waste and you’ll discover the ways to become debt-free.

In time following the third way becomes empowering. The free mind needs no-one, its power and best friend is security. Nothing comes close to the freedom. Money accumulates, and soon the home becomes one’s own. Without debt, there is freedom. 

And while I talk about money, remember two aspects of capital:

You are money. You earn it with your life hours. You convert your work into tokens which are used to buy your home, warmth, water, food, clothes. You are money: And secondly: when you spend cash, thank it for its ability to turn life hours into security. The more you respect your money, the higher your ability to see how to use its power and see it grow. When you appreciate the money, you recognise your life hours. 

Here is a harsh and difficult consideration: People who do not earn their money have no respect for themselves or life. They borrow and enter into debt because they are selfish. They want everything and do not want to exchange their life hours for the thing they wish to own. When you borrow money for pleasures, you are selfish and impatient. And there is no respect for the purchase. When there is no need for excess, borrowing or debt one becomes free because, by default, one accumulates savings and security. Never waste money earned with your life-hours: remember you are money: every penny wasted is a waste of your life hours. Here is an example:

My nine-year-old MacBook, eight-year-old interface and twenty-year-old microphone are used to make this recording. This equipment is my conduit of wealth, the microphone, interface and Mac allow me to sell my thoughts. And life is good because many minds have an interest in my thoughts. I mention this to suggest we do not need the newest or the best to achieve acceptable goals. The thinking mind learns how to use every possession to best advantage. An important consideration is the thinking mind, learns how to see the truth of all situations realistically. 

The Third Way is a paradox: It seems to be to do but it hard to keep on track.  So before considering the possibilities of the third way. A thinking mind should train itself to be intellectually biased. Emotional considerations have already enjoyed free reign and caused havoc on many occasions: A moving account is supported by illusion and desire: A thinking mind understands the wisdom of reality and active communication. The emotional mind resists being set aside and will play all manner of psychological tricks to reign supreme. The thinking mind asks one question “Are these thoughts needs, illusions, possibilities? If the answer is yes: the dream is emotional.

Do not worry: remember worry is manifest from the emotional mind. The intellectual mind looks and listens for clarity, honesty, integrity and ethos. 

The Third Way changes life: and dissolves the past. Learning about the third way takes time: to help you with the idea of Third Way, think of yourself as a gardener of the mind. See your view as a ground which needs clearing. Brambles and weeds of issues, hurt, and poor memories require burning and uprooting. Think in this way: and soon, the garden will be ready to plant seeds of great thoughts and trees of strength. You can grow a garden of will which cannot be affected by the winds of change or storms of despair. In time the garden will become a forest of security and the paths of the third way will lead to the centre of intellect.

The intellectual mind understands certain wisdoms:

It is impossible to repay debts owed to people you have hurt. You cannot make amends to those you have betrayed: face the reality people never forget, and trust is not a fallen wall which can be rebuilt. No way you can change the truth of the darkest moments.

Does the intellectual mind consider the meaning of acceptance? One has to think and understand aspects of why acceptance is key to a golden gate of freedom. For examples: can you accept you are often wrong, accept you will not always be liked, accept failure, loss, and the fact life is not fair? Most important, can you recognise you are responsible for your life.

No one needs a know-all, guru, life-expert. They tell a different tale: one of unconditional love and forgiveness. And yet in our societies: Murderers are electrocuted, social media groups demonstrate hatred, people take revenge. Where is the marker between acceptable or not? Consider the idea of a clean sheet: bankrupt your failures, mistakes and wrong-doings. Say today “that was yesterday. Those lost to my life are gone, will not return and they are better without my presence. Today is new: I’ll work hard to live and be happy and be thankful for those who are part of, and contribute to my life.

All one needs is standard. What is the standard? It a way of living which meets a predetermined agreement with oneself—known as a standard of how to live. What could more natural than a: warm home, happy relationship, content family. And this standard is not the easiest to attain, and yet, it is all one needs. Why would the standard be challenging to achieve or maintain? Because it is simple and does not require competition or attainment. An emotional mind finds this aspect impossible to accept.

When a situation or objective or anything is simple: many cannot believe it to be true. Too good to be real: too simple to be true: so good it is hard to believe: Few accept that something easy to attain has worth. And this is why many people are unhappy: they are seeking pipe dreams, illusions, the need to win the race, instead of meeting an easy to attain the standard.

Once one understands and sets the standard, the battle of life becomes easy. Battle of life? Yes! Think of yourself as the standard-bearer who marches ahead of the soldier’s on a battlefield. But consider the image differently. Know that your standard protects you from the opposition, the enemy whose sole desire is to take from you and help you into a life of hard work for no reward. The net of debt is the enemies most powerful ordinance. The enemy does not desire to take your life: their objective is to enslave you, to their will.

When one lives free and outside the chase: there is no need for excess: nothing more than basic qualifications will earn a living. A driving licence, simple vocational levels of education, and a determination to work and live within one’s means will provide an adequate lifestyle. And all the better if the effort is shared with another. There is no need to become involved with outside influence. By living solo one wins the race. Set a standard, attempt to meet or exceed the standard during every moment of life, and the competition is won.

These ideas are the third way: and the direction of least resistance: the way of non-competition: the power of acceptance—the way of the free mind.

Thank you for listening to my thoughts. I accept the idea raises many questions and will be considered as selfish. I have no interest in critics: they are welcome to their opinion. I do not write to make friends. My words are cathartic exercises and reflect my mindset. Life works for me: there is no debt and money flows into my life. The cash and in my pocket and the card in my wallet are an extension of my ‘being’ they are energy which lightens and lights the path of life.

Once I lived a life of deception and illusion and I was poor. Now my existence is ethical and real and I am wealth. Am I happy? Of course, I’m surrounded with friends and business associates. I respect them and enjoy seeing them prosper and find happiness, love and security. Life is good. My mind is free.

See You One Day.

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