Posted by Kian Barker
Greetings and Salutations,
Strange how after many years of new and compact technology, we assume that all and sundry have moved into the future or at the very least, are up into the present. Every night on tour I am amazed at the array of gigabytes of technology used by my clients. On night drives, sound is more audible than any of the other senses, including smells and fragrances.At night we hear sounds that are not really run of the mill, or audible in the day. Natural sounds are there all the time. These include the calling of hyena, the distinctive call of the Fiery Necked Nightjar, summer frog calls and the annoying whine of a hungry mosquito or a neglected child. These sounds are almost universal, and there is little or no chance of them disappearing. However there are some sounds that disappeared a number of years ago, like certain musicians or alleged musicians who never really made the grade, even some quite recent ones, when considering The Idols and others who are a blast from the past.
A favourite amongst guests are chameleons; many that we find through the evening create great excitement and interest. When a chameleon is brought aboard our vehicle, there is usually a pregnant pause while a plethora of photographic equipment is hauled from every photographic "carrying contraption" on board. From the mighty 500mm bazooka lens and more, to the not so diminutive cell phone...all quickly armed and aimed. A couple of nights ago I heard a click and grind. I feared the worst: maybe a wheel had fallen off the Unimog in a certain sinister manner! However after hearing several of these clicks and grinding buzzes, I realised we were in the middle of a "blast from the past". In the darkness of the tropical African Coastal bush, a labouring film camera stirred my dusty neural synapses to the point where lucid images come fluttering forward from a fairly dusty past, which includes my father's amateur home movies of our family when we were young. This "crude" equipment is now superceded by a decade of massive technological developments.
But what was that noise in the dark? From time to time I get retired people who have not really bothered to upgrade their equipment. This could be seen as very eco-friendly, less waste of technology because you have to buy a computer and all the other accoutrements to keep pace with digital camera technology. Strangely, new technology is completely mute, but as humans, we generally need a noise to indicate that whatever button we have pushed is acknowledged with a buzz, woof, tweet, peep or pop, or a litany of complaints from other humans. In the past the clap of a single lens reflex making an exposure, or the whine of a servo motor was sufficient to notify the operator that their efforts of clicking had been rewarded with a "picture" that would only be visible days later; or weeks later after their return from holiday. Nowadays it is all instant, but we still want more definition and more gigs. So maybe as I write, the click and grind photos of my client still have to be printed, that is if the film was fresh and the camera settings were correct!!!
There is a lot to appreciate about today's technology out in the bush, but what will we find on tomorrow's technological frontier? One thing for certain is that the haunting hyena call or a cacophony of toads, and the sweet melodious tune of a thousand painted reedfrogs will remain unchanged. Or will it?
Hasta la vista
The Knait Wrydah at Knait
PS I wonder if there is a special camera graveyard for all those abandoned servomotor cameras. Maybe even a Heaven and Hell, because I have heard a couple of complaints about that old technology! Hey maybe even a place for light meters. In conclusion there is a bit of an age restriction on this one, not many kids would have been exposed to this "technology?"