What is it with the word “mode” that makes me shiver and never even look in the direction of the instructions about achieving that mode and what I do when I get there?

I’m no technophobe – I lopve a gadget, me – but when it comes to reading the 100s of pages of  manual helpfully translated into All Greek and Double Dutch from the original Chinese-via Japanese,  I tend to tune out and rely instead on my Innate Knowledge of Things and my university degree in Trial and Error. Mainly Error. Why? Because I haven’t read the manual.

Now, you’ll be aware that I bought a new camera this year and I’m delighted with the shots it takes – on Autofocus. But I’d like to take it a stage further and learn about how to do manual focussing and macros and zooming and all those things with words out of context and frightening that make you want to rip up the magazine and pick up the camera usnstead.

All the gadgets are so clever these days and do different things in different modes, though, and I can never remember systematically which mode I’m in and if I’m in the wrong mode how to get into the right one. I’m not the sort who will sit and patiently pick through things – my friend Fiona sat in BYMT reception the other day and painstakingly untangled my alpaca yarn for me, for instance. I could not do that without throwing the whole knitting project across the room and stamping on it.

So, I’ve been trying to discover how to take black and white pictures. The manual takes for granted that somehow you’ve explored this fairyland of integral menus and manuals and assumes that you’re in Picture Mode. Mode, you see. But could I get into the constantly greyed out and elusive Picture Mode? I could not. I tried and tried for hours and did different things, even running down my battery so I had to charge it. I even woke up in the middle of the night disgruntled at my failure to crack this problem.

In the end I discovered that you can enter Picture Mode if you’re in “M” whatever that is. And so I took a couple of black and white photos. They’re pictures of my trainers as they happened to be around before I went to the gym this morning.

And the reason for this sudden quest for technological knowledge? Well, I took a picture of the heavily ornamented ceiling of St. John’s Smith Square last night and, using one of my several confusing forms of post-production software, I turned it to black and white which, I thought, highlighted the relief and made the picture more spectacular. The trouble was that when I tried to upload that edited picture and a cropped picture of the Symphony orchestra from Photos onto WordPress, it kept reverting to the original. So I figured that it was better to take an orginal photos in the best form so that not too much editing has to be done.

As I say, I puzzled over this for ages before coming to the “M” mode, which suddenly means that this intractable problem was well and truly solved. Hoorah for me and for the wit to remember to turn and press all sorts of buttons on my camera to take a photo in black and white.

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In other news, our supporting steels arrived today and I watched 5 able men hook them down from the lorry onto the drive. How exactly they managed to transfer the things to the garden is anyone’s guess. I went to have my nails done.