Abandoned Memories Part 4 – The Wedding

I recently won two Canon EOS 300D’s for the outrageous sum of £10.01 including postage. I didn’t really have a reason to buy them other than they were going cheap, no one seemed to want them and they were listed as spares or repairs. For £10 I didn’t think there was much to lose by trying to mash two cameras together to make one working body. A little more thinking and I realised they’d be great for a DIY infra-red conversion project. Having had to mash together 300D bodies previously to make one single camera that works, I knew that they are really rather easy cameras to work on and there is nothing too crazy in the disassembly process.

This seller, whoever they are, seem to just have a warehouse full of old cameras.

When they arrived, other than being slightly dirty and having the classic sticky grip problem where the rubber coating degrades, there really didn’t seem to be a great deal wrong with them. Usually, on older digital bodies like this, either the CF card slot pins have been brutalised or the shutter button gives up the ghost.

I gave them both a cursory scrub up with a toothbrush soaked in isopropyl alcohol and removed the sticky residue. Sticking a battery in to each body revealed that there was absolutely nothing wrong with either of them. Not a thing. Shutters fire, modes change, images expose and focus correctly. I have to admit to being slightly disappointed that there was nothing more to do, other than check out the bonus free memory card that was inside the Digital Rebel body.

Cleaned up and ready to go again. It almost seems a shame one of them is about to be taken to pieces.

512mb of Sandisk’s finest

This is not the first time I’ve been sent a camera with a memory card full of images. Way back when I reviewed the Canon 20D, that came with a rather nice 16gb Sandisk card in which was full of someone’s rather rainy camping holiday pictures. I guess its easy to forget to take out memory cards in old cameras, but unlike a film the consequences of doing so could be quite awkward for the original owner. Memory cards, as we all know, can hold many hundreds of images and even when formatted you can still run recovery software to extract old and deleted images. I’m actually more surprised that the card wasn’t noticed or removed by the seller – I think it says more about their testing process and quality control than anything else. Put it like this, I wouldn’t trust them when they say “fully tested” when two fully working cameras are listed as broken.

Either way, in the interest of being a nosey sod digital preservation, I decided to stick the abandoned card in the reader and have a look at what had been left behind.

Nice day for a wedding

It turns out the memory card is full of photos from a wedding that took place on the 15th March 2012, according to the EXIF data. A quick bit of reverse image searching shows that this took place in Nottingham at a venue called Woodborough Hall. The place itself has quite an interesting history, built in 1660 it’s been through a few renovations and changes in ownership – including being used by the RAF during the war and later as some form of army training centre from 1936 until 2004. Since then, quite obviously it has been turned into a posh hospitality and wedding venue.

There’s the usual waiting around before anything actually happens, with a great selection of family and friend photos showing people who are in various states of boredom. The little girl being admired by King Charles himself above is now at least 12-13 years old and if that’s not a terrifying reminder of how quickly time goes by then I don’t know what is.

Personally, I cannot stand weddings. The whole day for your average guest consists of wearing incredibly uncomfortable clothes, lots of standing around doing nothing, lots of being very hungry, 15 minutes of action during the ceremony followed by another inexplicable wait whilst everyone gets hammered enough to endure speeches that will age extremely well when the statistically probable divorce happens in the future. No wonder, then, at 13:50 these three are already at least a pint or two in before the ceremony has taken place and honestly, who can blame them?

But wait, it gets better, here’s my favourite picture of the whole lot:

Can we all take a moments silence to just appreciate the utter madness that is this hat. The beautiful selection of onion rings aside, just… just look at it. It’s at least 4-5 sizes too big and there is no way she can see a thing through that, its down to the bottom of her nose for goodness sake. As absurd wedding wear goes, this is an absolute gold standard, prize winning effort. Madam, I salute your choice to turn up but refuse to actually look at a single thing that’s happening. Notice in the background the girl who, in any of the photos she features in, is not in any way happy to be there. I know how you feel, it’s ok.

Five past 2 and we’re all inside for the ceremony. Can we all salute the absolute drinking prowess that is taking place at this wedding? The time stamp on the previous photo was 13:50 and that pint was full. In less than 10 mins, those drinks have been downed and we’re all in our seats ready for some action. Credit where its due, it’s been so long since I had a drink that if I downed a pint before your wedding, I’d not remember the ceremony.

The whole thing took 12 minutes and then we’re in to the pretend signing of the register with a classic, school standard issue Parker fountain pen. I do love the strategic placement of the flowers in case anyone is to get a picture of the details on the register. Good luck with that on a 300D with the abomination of a kit lens, you could take a front on shot and still struggle to resolve enough detail to actually read anything later. The congregation haven’t had a pint in 20 minutes, it’s getting dangerously close to sobering up territory, we best get to the reception fast.

They haven’t long to wait. Three minutes later we’re outside again and the champagne is flowing, thank goodness, and it produces this absolute cracker of a shot:

Smashing. Absolutely love this.

It’s time for some obscure close up details. It’s the little things that matter and I had been thinking earlier, if only we could see that absolutely beautiful pocket decoration in more detail.

And we do not in any way disappoint. These are the kind of enduring memories of the happy day that I’m interested in. In years to come, they will look back at this moment and thank their lucky stars that important details like pocket decorations were not ignored. Actually, they probably won’t be looking back on these particular photos as they gave their memory card away by accident…

Anyway, it’s been a few minutes, have we all got a drink, ladies?

Yep, 6 whole minutes after the ceremony ended. Good effort!

“How long did that drink last, Mom?”

“Seven minutes, son. Seven minutes. Keep up, there’s bloody speeches yet.”

Two hours since the last action and everyone has had plenty of time to reach an enhanced state of refreshment. The hat has returned and let no one say that it is in any way impractical. I won’t hear it.

“…and it seems to meee, you lived your liiiiiiiiiife, like a candle in the wiiiiiiiind.”

“for the love of God, dad…”

By 6.30 things have got out of control, but we’re not even at the dancing stage yet.

“Dancing? Dad, it’s not even 7pm and everyone has had at least 6 pints each.”

“I’ve waited all day to ‘throw down some sick moves'”

“You’re no longer my father.”

“Well. That escalated quickly.”

Hit me with those laser beams! It’s first dance time. Bets on what the first dance song was? With this much laser action I’m going for the Sonique song “I put a spell on you.”

You know how we’re always told never to shine a laser pen at a person or, worse, in their eyes because you’ll blind them? How anyone left this wedding with their eyesight intact is a mystery. It must’ve been one hell of a party.

By 20 to midnight it’s going home time, they’ve lasted well. At least 11 hours drinking is enough for anyone and I love the expression on the guy just poking into the frame on the left. “Ta’ra, Steve lad, safe journey home, yeah?”

Anyway, what’s really odd is that’s the last image on the memory card for over 11 years until in July of this year they cracked the camera out, took a picture of their fruit bowl and then promptly sold or threw the camera out – a second chance to realise that maybe the memory card should be taken out but alas no. Anyway, we enjoyed their wedding.

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