Tag Archives: Jack

Step Away From The Camera

It was a cold and blustery morning. I was on my way to work and was looking for some pictures for my Photo-A-Day project as well as my Kodachrome-A-Day. As sometimes happens, I saw in my mind a shot, a shot of an old building downtown with the mass of clouds as a backdrop. I decided to pull in to a parking garage across from where the target building was located and made my way past the suits and dresses arriving for work and up to the top level of the garage. There would be an excellent vantage point for a few shots and it would be a bit different from my usual take on the subject. I parked the truck and pulled out my new camera, a Canon 30D.

It had just arrived the day before, gleaming in it’s jet-black-ness. I’d thought long and hard about that camera and had belabored the research and my choice of it. It’s arrival meant I could retire my 300D and the finicky shutter release that had plagued me of late. I’d missed a few shots because of that button. Now, the sweetness in my hand was ready and willing. Along with me was an old Pentax K1000 SE loaded with Kodachrome 64. It was the last roll of a set of five, only a few exposures expended. I slung the 30D over my shoulder and raised the K1000 to my eye as I peered over the ledge of the garage and framed my shot. I took several, bracketing the exposures. Satisfied, I attempted to swap the old film camera for my sleek 30D. That’s when it happened.

Somehow, while moving from one camera to the other, something happened. I felt a thunk. I grimaced. The cameras had collided. I inspected the K1000, it was ok. I pulled the 30D up and there it was: a slight ding in the finish, on the top of the camera, revealing the bright metal under the black finish. I was heart broke. Just yesterday I had lovingly unwrapped that camera from it’s protective cocoon and admired the workmanship in my hands. I hadn’t even had it for 24 hours and I’d done it wrong. I took a couple pictures, my heart no longer in the photo I had envisioned earlier. I made my way back to the truck and stowed both cameras. I was just sick. I didn’t deserve such a nice camera.

I spent the rest of my day doing my job and suffering that little heartache. I pulled the camera out of it’s bag occasionally, reviewed the damage, running my fingers over the mar, then stowed it back. I told the wife later that I had felt “unworthy” the rest of the day.

When I got home later, the wife was giving one of the dogs a bath in the sink. She asked to see the damage so I pulled the camera out to show her. The ding was, maybe, an eighth of an inch long and hardly noticeable, but to me it felt like a scar on my soul. How could I be trusted with such a nice camera if I couldn’t take care of it? I’d been afraid to even handle the camera the rest of the day. The wife gave me sympathy and consoled me and I told her how much I appreciated it. As I stood there watching her splash water on the dog I felt a bit silly about it all. It was just a camera, after all. And, with use, it would get dings and scrapes and worn patches. A friend calls them “love marks.” Indeed, this was all silly. I needed to break out of this funk, so I turned on the camera and just started shooting. Anything. Everything. In any kind of light, any kind of speed and any kind of shutter setting. I ran off a hundred pictures or so. I purged that sorry-for-myself feeling by just taking pictures and more pictures. It felt good to let go and just shoot and shoot, mindless to the numbers. The flashing images were my absolution.

A few from last night: