Flash, Bang, Wallop!

Other people’s kit is always interesting – I’d go further and say that other people’s anything is always more interesting! Ever sat in a restaurant watching other diners and noticed that their eyes always seem to spend more time looking at what those around them have on their plates? I know I do – I’m always thinking to myself that I wished I’d ordered what they have – it looks nicer and there’s more of it!

The same holds true for blokes using urinals – but that’s another story!

Enough of all that, back to the subject in hand. I’ve been asked lots of times about the camera gear I use and, as I use it rather poorly, I’ve often wondered why. There’s no denying that I get a lot of fun out of the kit and the more buttons and functions it has the greater the fun! I started with a little plastic thingy with a fold-out viewfinder when I was eleven, and over the years I’ve played around with a Kodak ‘Box Brownie’ and a Kodak Six-20 ‘Kodon’ bellows. There was also a Yashica Twin-lens reflex that was followed by the brilliant Pentax M. Many of you know how difficult I find it to part with anything so, much to J’s despair, I still have the ‘Brownie’, the ‘Kodon’ and the Pentax!

one day they might be worth a small fortune!

My first digital was a very cheap Konica-Minolta Dimage that fell to bits within a short period and led me to my first Canon – their original entry level 300D. Against all my hoarding instincts that kit is on its way to UK to a young wildlife enthusiast – I hope he shares with his sister and becomes a better photographer than I’ll ever be. I also hope it leads on to a lifetime of fun and interest.

My present kit is shown below – an EOS 7D; EF 70-300mm; EF 50mm 1.8; EF-S 60mm macro; EF-S 18-135mm STM. I love the flexibility it offers and I know that good kit doesn’t make a good photographer.

the kit including ‘legacy’ lenses and adaptor rings

That said, I love messing around and experimenting and part of that fun has been to modify my old Pentax lenses, which are wonderful bits of glass, and using reversing and adaptor rings I’m able to use them in a conventional way sans any auto-focus (or auto anything).


fitted with Pentax 50mm f1.7 a beautiful bit of glass

pentax 150mm zoom lens reverse mounted and acting as a super macro

By reversing the 150mm zoom it becomes a super-macro lens which is magic to play with. Sitting on the sidelines in the UK whilst I figure out how to get it to Turkey is another ‘legacy’ lens. Built in 1964 for the Tokyo Olympics (and a now defunct model of camera) it is a 500mm Reflex (or mirror) lens. it is said to be the best of its kind ever made – that said it will never match the performance of a modern EF lens but at about 5% of the price never mind the quality, feel the width!!

reflex3_1It’s in pristine condition and is complete with its original leather case. I have had a special mount built with optics that will allow it to fit my EOS and focus from very close to infinity! Now that really is going to be fun!

And the ‘Flash, Bang, Wallop’ bit? Take a few minutes to enjoy this clip . .

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü


‘Wow!’ – Ed’s View Whilst Wandering Wild Places

Yuvarlakcay_1Ed is a new friend who has a deep affinity with our part of Turkey. He is drawn to mountains and wide, open vistas which I understand. Ed is from the US – California to be exact and he says ‘Wow!’ a lot. Then he says it backwards ‘!woW’ which may have more to do with his age and California Dreamin’ than the view!

So it was that J and I offered to take him to one of our favorite ‘!woW’ places where, once upon a time, seldom did the shoes of outsiders tread – Girdev Lake which, at 1800 mts, is a long way up and over Ak Dağ mountain near the small town of Seki, not too far from the Fethiye-Antalya road in SW Turkey. As so often happens with wild, unspoilt places that take a bit of effort to get to, tourism catches on and has the effect of altering or, in some cases, totally messing up what Toprakana-Mother Nature seemed to think was really pretty good in the first place.

getting to Girdev – how it used to be

Access gets ‘improved’ and before long ways are being found to commodify and exploit the place by upgrading the environment.

girdev panoramio

So it is with Girdev which is a sort of crater lake in that it is totally surrounded by mountains. Rain and especially snow-melt feeds the seasonal waters. No rivers flow from the lake and it drains through a sink-hole near the north end before emerging as the Kazanpınar Spring some 18 kms away near Elmalı in Antalya province. Nature’s balance meant that as the lake dried great swathes of wild flowers emerged, particularly Orchis palastris – the Marsh Orchid. Girdev is also home to many different species of birds and insects as well as the great flocks of sheep brought up there each season by the traditional nomadic herders.

That was then, this is now – tourism has come! A permanent ‘camp’ has been built to house those who want to visit this unique place for longer than a day-trip. Nothing wrong with that I say.

Girdev dam (land of lights)

What is sad is that, pandering to money from those who know no better, a shallow dam has been raised restricting the flow to the sink-hole and creating a permanent lake where one never existed before and this has been stocked with carp. Nature will adapt and species will change – my question is ‘Why does money always have to trump nature?’ There will always be consequences – nomadic herders have lost much of their traditional grazing grounds; to make ends meet will they have to resort to opening restaurants and gözleme (pancake) stalls around the lake? And what about the water quality at Elmalı as tourism expands? That said, Girdev is still yet a lonely and wildly beautiful place – as long as you miss the Jeep safari crowds!

al fresco lunch – trout a la çoban

Anyway, enough of that, back to Ed and the ‘!woW’ factor. As I said, he loves to photograph vistas which means that getting anywhere can take a while longer than with most people. That said, seeing the familiar through Ed’s fresh eyes was truly refreshing and reinforced the reasons that J and I love this country so much.

So, Ed, we owe you – although I do think that that lunch with a family of herders was ample compensation!



local heading home – no ‘Wow!’ being polite

Reflections (

half way to the top looking down to the Antalya road – ‘Amazing! !woW’

chicken coop – ‘Wow! Will you look at that thing!’

‘Oh, !woW’

Boffer bugging off

Ed’s Rock – and no sign of ‘Alice’ – WOW!

So, there you have it, a mere drop in a veritable cascade of Ed’s views of this trip to the ‘wild, blue yonder’ of Girdev.

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü