Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gone in a Flash

Taking pictures is not just a hobby to me. It's my lazy man's diary. It is how I've documented my life from middle school on (save a few missing years in my 20's when I was too cool to stick a camera in anyone's face.)
I remember inheriting my first camera. A used castaway passed down from a family member. I can't even remember the kind, but I remember it using some obscure film type that we had to scour the stores to find. It also used those detachable film cubes, good for four uses only. (One flash per side.) Poof! And, then that instant smell of flash bulb. I can't describe the scent any better than that. Flash bulb scent. I know it when I smell it!

Le Clic, c'est chic ♫
Following that camera, my many 110s. Anyone surviving the 1980's had a 110 at some point, whether they remember it or not. Those flat rectangular shaped ones with the wrist strap. Their film shaped like an flat train car when turned on it's side. Easy to load and they had a new wave built-in flash! (Oooh, aaah!) You merely had to turn on the flash switch and wait for it to stop blinking. In 5-10 minutes you were totally set to go!  My prized 110 being the coveted pink LeClic.  Best gift ever! This picture to the left is actually the Disc version of my LeClic (found the image online), but you can still get the gist... that they were totally rad. (I also had the matching pink mini boom box, but I'll stop boasting now...)

From the 110s, I made the mature decision of moving up to the 36mm. More complex to load, but I could now take 24 or 36 pictures per roll as opposed to 12. Yee haw! From there I eventually hopped (a little late) onto the digital train. With digital came quantity. I can take between 100-200 snapshots on any given day trip. And, up to 50 just on a mere house call. When I went digital, I guess I also went a little picture crazy. And, that's also when I became the Camera Destroyer.

Another one bites the dust...
I didn't move on to digital until about four years ago, if you can believe it. And, that's when this basket began its accumulation. I call this basket my camera graveyard. Today I have moved on to what is either my fourth or fifth digital camera in four years (I've, sadly, lost count at this point.) I don't think of myself as being considerably rough on my personal belongings, but somehow I've been breaking cameras left and right.

Maybe it's an undiagnosed early onset of Parkinson's Disease or something. I notice a couple 35 mms in the basket too, so the problem must date back further than I'd care to admit. (We won't mention the missing members of the basket who were returned to whence they came.) I don't know what make digital cameras so fragile. Maybe whatever sturdy parts once existed to encase a roll of film also served as a safety cage.  No film, no cage?

Sylus 840's last hurrah!
Well, today my latest comrade bit the dust. My beloved Olympus Stylus (same make as my favorite 35mm as well.) It fell from the back deck, never to return to consciousness again. I have to give the chincy-looking thing credit though. This wasn't its first fall. It survived several drops and healings. I've surgically extracted the lens barrel several times. And, have perfected the advanced "palm bopping" technique to do the opposite procedure on many occasion. But, today's blow was fatal (forever documented in the picture to the left) caused its innards to go kablooey once and for all. Never to be resuscitated again.

It's okay though, don't mourn for me. Another camera is already on its way.  I've learned this lesson years ago and have trained myself to buy used. I have little patience for salesmen and like to do thorough research on my own online before such purchases anyhow. Knowing what you're getting into and then buying used because you're (I'm) cheap and you're (I'm) just going to end up breaking it one day, just makes good sense to me. (Plus, your top price limit can either get you something new of lower quality, or something used that would otherwise be above your budget.) I went for the 8X zoom this time. Point and shoot as always. But, switched to a Panasonic for a change this time around (Lumix FH20. And, it's Smurfy blue!)   Hope the dozens of reviews I read pan out!

The worst part of this whole deal is waiting 'til Friday for it to arrive. I'm on a four-day weekend and have no way to document it! I don't think I've gone one weekend since becoming an aunt without flashing a bulb into any given set of young irises. I have field trips planned! I don't know how to function on a day at Greenfield Village without photographic evidence!

I guess I could do what other people do and actually pay attention to the children for once. Instead of having them wander off while I stop to take a picture of the same windmill for the 400th time. Maybe I won't have to listen to them bicker over who gets to use the camera next (to ultimately shoot self-portraits up their own nose hairs.) Maybe, I won't find myself yelling at the five-year old when he tries sneaking fake gang signals into my group portraits... Or yelling at the ones who run off while the self-timer is still flashing.

But, lo, what do I find here in the graveyard basket, but my trusty Olympus 35mm.  I must have moved on while it was still in working order. Batteries still seem fresh. A roll of 24 exposures still in the orange Kodak box. Hmmm...  (To be continued?)

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