Tuesday, August 25, 2009

From Sears to Canon to Nikon: The Dream Resurrected

Sometimes I forget how magical writing truly can be. I wrote a couple of posts ago about my first-ever 35mm camera, the one from Sears that I took with me on my first trip to Hawaii. With the simple act of writing those few little words, a powerful memory reached from the past and grabbed me, and an old, long held, and too-long-forgotten desire to photograph the world - or my own little piece of it, anyway - sprang instantly back to life.

Long ago, my Sears' 35mm gave way to a Canon AE-1 Program SLR, a completely unexpected gift from my husband. It wasn't my birthday, it wasn't Christmas, but I'll never forget the day I came home and there it was, a very expensive camera at a time when mortgage payment, car payments, diapers, and utility and food expenses ate up just about all of our income. But he knew how badly I'd wanted it, went out on his own and purchased it. A huge surprise, and you'd have to know him and his relationship with money, plus how broke we truly were, to understand what a selfless act it was.

Nearly thirty years later, writing that post, I am hit again with the longing I knew so well back then. Fresh, alive, pulsating, as though I am that twenty-three-year-old girl peddling to the beach on Oahu, hair flying behind her, camera swaying from her neck, or the newly thirty-something seeing the world for the first time through the viewfinder of her gorgeous brand-new, black and silver AE-1.

I confess to never getting beyond the basics with that camera. Life, in the form of babies, pets, play groups, laundry, cooking, cleaning, going back to finish my college degree, namely the busy-ness of being a modern-day person in a modern-day family intervened. What shooting I did, was usually from the "P" (Program) and "A" (Automatic) mode. I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere. Some sort of hidden message, if I only had the treasure map to find it. A nugget of truth I'd rather not, in all truthfulness, hunt for.

Last week, just a few short days after I wrote the post that mentioned the camera, I did something big, unexpected and spontaneous; I ordered myself a brand-new Nikon digital SLR, the D60 model. The ease with which the decision was made surprised me, and seemed more an action that simply happened by itself than a true decision; which camera to buy ultimately the only real question. Once ordered, I waited for it like a kid waits for Christmas morning, tracking it on the internet, disappointed when it didn't arrive the day I thought it would. And when it did, when the big brown truck pulled up outside, at nearly six in the evening, I flew to the door, then tore into the package, as excited, as smitten as I was all those years ago with the Canon. Though the AE-1 was child's play compared to the new digital SLRs, with all their bells and whistles and more bells, and the truth is, I'm intimidated as all hell. Truly. Overwhelmed by all the dials, buttons, meters, choices. I have no idea how I'm going to figure it all out. I'm an instant gratification junkie. I'm not patient with puzzles, with layers of detail and nuances, or with reading any kind of manual. Trying to figure out technology that is beyond me - which is pretty much any technology - makes me crazy. Just ask my husband... or my daughters.


But here's the thing: I love the feel of it in my hand, the weight and solidity of it. I love bringing it to my face, breathing in its slight plastic smell, and exploring life through the tiny view-finder (ah... the old-fashioned way). I love twisting the lens gently in my hand, bringing the world closer, then farther away again, then closer again; the exciting challenge of choosing the exact right shot, the best composition. And more than anything, I love, just LOVE the sound, the quick little melody, the gentle definitive magical happening when the shutter opens and closes. Click...

Here are a few shots taken over the past couple of days, from the experimentation phase. In five days, five days (OMG!), I'll be posting pics from my brand new Nikon from Molokai. Wow.

Aloha for now.

PIER AT CAPITOLA, CALIFORNIA

ABOVE CAPITOLA BEACH

SAN FRANCISCO SKYLINE FROM DOLORES PARK

STAIRCASE GARDEN, HOME ON MASONIC, SAN FRANCISCO

MOSAIC STAIRS, HOME ON MASONIC, SAN FRANCISCO

PRINCESS PLANT, TIBOUCHINA URVILLEANA, GOLDEN GATE PARK, SAN FRANCISCO

JAPANESE TEA GARDEN, GOLDEN GATE PARK

JAPANESE TEA GARDEN, GOLDEN GATE PARK

JAPANESE TEA GARDEN, GOLDEN GATE PARK

JAPANESE TEA GARDEN, GOLDEN GATE PARK

JAPANESE TEA GARDEN, GOLDEN GATE PARK

1 comment:

  1. your pictures look great here! I can't wait to see what you're able to do with the camera in a couple months... and I can't wait to see pictures from Molokai!

    ReplyDelete

I love that you've stopped by... thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I'll make every effort to visit your blog as soon as I can. Enjoy your day.