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Birch-averse | by Fray Bentos
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A man of strongly defined tastes, the birch, or "Lady of the Forests" is, for me, not the most admirable of our native trees; nor have I greatly esteemed the beech. I know this is because neither is a typical tree of my native regions, though not infrequently encountered. They come to me as something alien and as the emblem of my scission from those lush, mild regions of the West that were the place of my nativity. Birch is endemic to the parched, swine-infested, tractor-grooved, agoraphobic, Scandinavia-resembling easterly extremity of England where I have made my home. I like these older trees, with their thick, fluted boles and striated bark.

For a bit of a change I've been going back to my 35mm roots. My contact DH73 mentioned a bit back that he'd acquired a Ludwig Meritar f2.9/50mm lens. I thought, "Hang on ...I've got one of those". I'd used it a couple of times but the f-stop ring had then seemed to jam so that I could get only the two widest apertures. "DH" however ...more clued up on these matters than me... had spoken of his lens as being a "pre-set". Uh? What was that? I had another look at mine, which I'd actually bought to use with an adapter on a digital SLR, partly because I thought its chrome barrel would look rather snazzy against the black plastic of the camera body. I now discovered that the f-stop ring was spring-loaded and retractable. Well, I'll be jiggered. Thick or what? So I now had, in effect, an extra usable lens and, naturally, was keen to try it out again. It is M42, so I screwed it on the front of my Pentax SP500, bunged in the second of the two obscure Orwo N74 films I bought recently off an eBay seller and took it out on dog walks &c. to take photos of "just anything". Results varied greatly, the worst being usually the result of my own incompetence particular my forgetfulness concerning the pre-set mode of functioning.

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Uploaded on November 6, 2016