I don't know if this is something for the Creative thread but does anyone here just like to tell stories? Just everyday things, no embellishments, but with tons of flavor added? I keep a journal and basically just BS with myself about anything and everything but sometimes I gotta tell a story. I can't make stuff up very well so I just take my life happenings and flavor them into a long, descriptive, narrative. Even my exposure log turns into a narrative of the whole evening once I get home and put my exposure notes together. Anyway, this is the latest from my wandering mind. Seeing as it's about a camera I figured I'd go out on a limb and share. It's long, it's goofy, but it's honest. And the story ain't even over yet.................... -------------------------------------------- So I've been dying to get a medium format camera for awhile now and Voodoocat busts out for 'show and tell' what? Not one, but 2 Yashica TLR's. Was there 3 maybe? I was so enthralled by the first one he brought out I only barely noticed he had another one in his hands while saying "I got this one on ebay for only $50". So the search began. Being the ebay whore that I am I tagged every Yashica TLR I found to see what the going rates were. $100 here, $200 there, $300+ way over there. In the meantime I began my search for every bit of information I could find on these little cameras. The pictures I found of these little guys only conjured up imaginations of myself composing an image through the waist level finder, surounded only by the perfect light that comes out to play with larger format film. I searched and searched until my head was bursting with new information on how to load the film, how to compensate for the higher voltage batteries that are only available now as the original mercury 1.3vDC are now illegal to produce. Lens history, body history, feature history, and even color history, I absorbed it all. But I knew I would never fully understand until I owned one for my very own. So the bidding began. Outbid first by an overseas bidder, that upon further investigation was a liquidator for camera items in 3rd world countries. He bought up about 90% every piece of medium format gear available that one day. The next day I was outbid once again only to later find out that the serial number of that particular Yashica 124 was of the first year produced. Outbid once more by someone very serious about getting a "New In the Box" 124G where the seller had mis-spelled Yashica and only had 6 views in the first 5 days of a 7 day bid up until the last hour. As the bidding reached $250+ I bailed out. I didn't feel bad as the final sell price was $485.00 with the original bidder winning with their first bid. Along came one Yashica 124G that stood out from the rest. Poor pictures posted and hardly no description of the item but it seemed to say to me "I will take the best pictures I can if you give me the chance." The seller had ZERO feedback. I was very wary at first and emailed the seller a few questions. She was very proud of yer Yashica 124G it turns out. Being the original owner, I felt she didn't really want to sell it. It was "in great shape" she said. "I hope it goes to someone who really appreciates it as much as I have over the years" she continues. She describes how the paint is worn on the corners only from being in it's case, that there is one small mark "not a scratch" on the viewing lens only "but the taking lens is perfect". "I lost the lens cap I just realized. Apparently from the last time I used the camera. I remember having it before that." she says. I can feel how appoligetic she is as we have now emailed back and forth 4 times in as many days. We have shared images posted online of things she has shot with the camera in question. We talked f/stops and shutter speeds most favorable to the little camera and its favorite films. I told her of my ambitions to take long time exposures at night and showed her examples of my recent work. She seemed pleased that her camera might go somewhere appreciated and do new things its never done before. With that she let me in on a little secret. This was her first ebay item ever for sale. She told me that she had set the reserve way too high by putting the decimal point in the wrong place and was unable to edit it. I watched, I waited, no one else bit. During the last minute I placed my bid. $100 over what I wanted to pay. If a swooper came in at the last minute and hiked the price I wouldn't have been upset. I myself am an ebay swooper, armed with a cable modem, and almost 5 years of ebay purchases awarded in the last 5 seconds of a bid. "It would be only kharma that would prevent me from owning this camera" I thought to myself. I had the highest bid but of course did not meet the reserve. Moments later I received via email, a second chance offer from ebay to buy the camera at the current bid amount, a choice given to ebay merchants if the price is close enough. The little camera was mine................... For 4 days I awaited the arrival of the little Yashica. I had continuing images floating through my mind of the places I was going take it. I went ahead and bought a roll of E-6 to run through it to get aquainted with all the buttons and knobs and to see what type of personality it had. The day arrived that the little camera would reach its destination and come to rest in its new home. Monday afternoon finally brought the end to a long day of work. Knowing the little camera was waiting for me on my doorstep made the whole day worth the wait. As I climbed the staircase leading to my front door, anticipating a brown box to come into view as I climbed the stairs, I was not disappointed. Tucked away in the corner, out of the view of passer-bys was a little brown cardboard box with my name and address on top. I reached down to pick up the little box, ready to uncover my new treasure, but felt a pang of horror as my fingers felt the underside corner of the box not yet in view. The corner was completely smashed in. Then I noticed that the top of the box was taped shut with 3 rows of electrical tape. The bottom was taped securely with the brown packing tape we've all seen before many times. This is not right I thought. I took the box inside for a closer inspection. Working in an industry where 90% of my problems come from shipping, my heart sank as I recognized just how far the corner of the box had been smashed in. I carefully peeled the shody, 3 layer electrical tape job away to uncover the same brown tape that was on the bottom of the box. This box has been opened and then closed again. There was tons of padding in the form of closed cell foam and that expandable packing foam wrapped around the camera. Very well packed indeed but the accordian like folds on the corner told another story. I lifted the little camera out of the box and already my heart sank. Pieces rolled around inside the camera as I turned it upright and placed it on the coffee table. I opened the back and out came the rear element lens hood. A few more turns and shakes brought out the last piece I heard rattling around; a small spring. I looked over the exterior of the now travel wearied camera and noticed the shutter realese button was not gone but in its completely depressed position, flopping in and out as I turned the camera over and over. At least we know where the spring goes I thought. The rear element hood had threads at its base and I could see where they went. "There might be hope" I thought. I immediately looked up the phone number and called Tempe Camera to see if they worked on Yashica TLR's. "We do and can give a free estimate, but at the same time we can't guarantee a successful repair due to parts availability." Knowing it was a 50/50 chance that the little camera would see any light again I took the camera in for its "free estimate". A life or death diagnostic was what it felt like. I emailed the seller that the little camera had arrived DOA due to shipping damage. She said nothing along the lines of "AS-IS" or "Refund" but only of repair costs. Her only concern was "can it be fixed?" So now the little camera sits in a numbered cardboard box, probably on a shelf in complete darkness, with only a work order underneath it, and other broken cameras to keep it comapany in its time of despair. "It's only a piece of metal with springs that holds film" I keep telling myself. But the images in my mind of what that little camera could do only conjure emotions of time lost, even if only for a fraction of a second at a time.