Friday, April 6, 2012

Nikon Seduced Me

What would you say to a woman who made the same mistake not once, not twice, but three times?
I love Nikon lenses.  I splurged on an SLR film camera when the kids were young, and the quality and clarity of my photographs improved immeasurably.  Though never a threat to Diane Arbus or Ansel Adams, I was good enough to amuse myself. 

Little Cuter put that camera to good use in high school creating such masterpieces as this, which I titled Portrait of the Mother, Brooding
I remember the day, the light, the request to look sad and the pride I felt.  My little girl was orchestrating the afternoon.... and she wanted me to be a part of it.  The Nikon was a third partner in that quarter's coursework.  The cemetery at the Presidio, the wildflowers on the open space across the street from Our Big House.... we took that camera and captured the moments.

Truly captured them, denizens.  I am right there right now, though my body is typing to you, and I've gotta tell you that it's a fabulous feeling.  Without the photo as a visual cue, I'm not sure I'd have thought to reimagine that afternoon. The photograph captures a moment in time, and lets me relive it at my leisure.  I keep that picture in my space in this house - the golf-cart-garage-turned-potting-shed.  Her body may be 2000 miles away, but I can conjure her spirit anytime I please just by looking at that photograph.

But film has gone the way of the winds (what does that really mean, anyway?) and I'm not interested in expending the energy required to take good pictues with anything more than a PHS camera.

PHS? That's short hand for Push Here, Stupid.....which brings me to the point of this post.  I was seduced by perfection and, ultimately, defeated by ineptitude. 

Little Cuter in Oz Park
Back in the 1980's and '90's, I loved my Nikon SLR for afternoons when the kids were playing in the yard or at the park, oblivious to me and my machinations.  I could sit back on the lounge chair or the park bench or the edge of the sandbox, and capture them in their own moments. 

I could pretend to be artistic and my camera perpetuated the illusion.

But, kids being kids, they were reluctant to hold that pose until I managed to adjust the aperture and the speed and the focal length.  I wasn't good enough to adjust the camera quickly; I missed a lot.

Obviously, a PHS camera was called for.  Having decided that Nikon and only Nikon lenses would suit my purposes, I bought that black Coolpix 7900 and I was in heaven.

Anyone could use it and take a great picture.  It was small enough to fit in the front or back pocket of my jeans.   The AA batteries lasted forever; the camera drew very little power to create fantastic images.  It fit my hand perfectly. 

And then, one day, without warning, with no fanfare, it expired.  It was gone, absent, irretrievably lost.  The repair guy told me that replacing it at Target would be less costly than leaving it with him so I joined the throw-away culture and bought the red one in the middle, the next iteration of the 7900, the Coolpix L20.. 

I loved it every bit as much as I loved the first one. 

And then, one day, without warning, with no fanfare, the battery cover refused to stick.  No amount of jiggling or encouraging or pressing or smacking made any difference at all.  I resorted to scotch tape and then, frustrated beyond measure, wanting a fancy camera but recognizing that PHS made more sense because it was easier but this was NOT EASIER and the angrier I got the closer I came to dragging G'ma with me to Target once more and replacing the damn thing.

Thanks.  I feel better for having gotten that off my chest.

So, G'ma and I had a great time at Target and I ended up with the next Coolpix, the L22. 

And the same thing happened.  I loved it and it left me.  The battery cover required assistance to accomplish its designated task..... a kind way of saying the thing wouldn't stay closed.

No, I didn't drop it.  No, I didn't leave it in a hot car.  No, I didn't jostle it around in the bottom of a backpack.  I took care of it.  I loved it.  I protected it.

And it failed me. 

I did learn my lesson.  I bought a Canon and it's just fine.  It's not as intuitive as the Nikon, and I've yet to read the instruction manual.  But the easy mode takes fine pictures and, for now, that's enough for me. 

I'll just sit here, staring at my Nikons, the PHS's I loved and lost.


  1. My husband is a real photographer ... good cameras, real film, real darkroom ... and even he has to reluctantly agree that I take pretty good photos with my Kodak PHS. And that CVS does a remarkable job printing them for me. Digital PHS is the only way to go now IMHO!

  2. Thank you Thank you Thank you ForestGirl! It's nice to know that I can rest easy with my PHS and not stress about learning a whole new device.


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