Richard Alton isn’t the only Macfilos contributor who got caught out this week without a camera. It happened to me also. Now I confess I seldom venture abroad without some sort of camera — and the smallest one I own is the little Ricoh GR. But I have been known to get caught out without a camera. On Friday evening I happened to be walking through a very chilly Paddington Station in London. Regular readers will recall that I’ve written before about Paddington and the Great Western Railway — known to real anoraks as God’s Wonderful Railway. Well, it wasn’t so wonderful at Paddington on Friday when I came across the Great Western Railway Paddington Band valiantly puffing away in the middle of the concourse.
I didn’t even know the railway had a band, let alone a musical sub-set based on the great terminus of Brunel’s masterpiece. I confess it was more Salvation Army than London Symphony Orchestra, but it warmed the cockles of my heart as I trudged from the Hammersmith & City Line station in the direction of Praed Street. Sadly, the ambient noise was such that the muffled musicians had to puff and scrape well beyond the call of duty. On a dismal December Friday evening, though, it was a real tonic.
There was just something compelling about this winter concert, the eclectic variety of headwear, the puffed-out cheeks and the smartly dressed conductor in his Father Christmas hat. For me it epitomised the rather eccentric nature of the British. Just when you least expect it, you find a group of dedicated amateurs working their socks off to give a bit of winter cheer.
As I mentioned at the outset. I didn’t have a camera on my person. So, like Richard Alton in the heat of Zambia, I fished out my smartphone. Currently I’m using the new iPhone X, so this was an opportunity to try it out in rather poor light. According to the data, the shot was taken at f/1.8 and a leisurely 1/6th of a second (what, no camera shake?). For a quick shot, it’s no great shakes; but for a hurried record of a moment in time it has its attractions. The moral of the story is that the iPhone X is a very good camera in your pocket, perhaps the only one you need to carry. Or not.
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