Requiem for a Camera

Little Red

Little Red

I lost a dear friend last weekend and I am in mourning.

I am between cameras.

The coming storm

The coming storm

I was an avid photographer when I was a child. I was the proud recipient of my sister’s old Brownie camera when I was eight and my mother discovered that I could entertain myself for hours documenting pets, family, weather, hikes, horses. In high school I graduated to a Kodak instamatic where I documented friends, parties, pets, family, weather, hikes, sailing (I lived on the beach then). In college I married a photographer. He had a “real” camera, one that I was afraid to touch, though he did attempt to teach me all of its various settings, lenses, etc. It made my head hurt. I wanted to capture moments on the fly, free to enjoy them, and let the camera do all the work.

Little Red did that.

Our daughter inherited our love of photography. I passed on my surviving camera to her. With both parents tied up with work and shuttling children, she became the family photographer.

When Daughter gave me Little Red for a Mother’s Day/birthday gift – was it only last year? It seems longer – when she bought her new snazzy camera, she warned me that Little Red was old. Her screen had a clump of pixels out, hence daughter’s new camera. It made every shot an exercise in “I wonder what this is going to look like?” and that was part of the fun.

I hadn’t picked up a camera in years, except for the occasional cell phone photo (my phone is in a snit – it wants recognition too).

If you had asked me did I want a camera, I would have said no. Photography was a wonderful part of my childhood and young adulthood, but I wasn’t aware I was missing it until Little Red came into my life.

Little Red challenged me, teased me, made fun of me, but she and I were a team.

Last Sunday the dogs and I went up to Gemini Springs (since I have to work this weekend, I wasn’t about to let a beautiful day pass me by). The intent was (as it always is with me) to take a quick walk (well, an hour-ish or so) then tackle my “to do” list. But my soul called for the beach. So the pups and Little Red and I made an impromptu trip to Lighthouse Point Park.

Little Red had been slowing down for some time now, since long before I met her. She was sensitive to heat, to humidity (the natural state of Florida). She took a few pictures of Gizmo swimming, of the lighthouse, of the boats on the water, of the sky, of the lightning in the distance. Then she shut down. She had shut down before, to come back to life later once she was in the cool, fully charged, had sand blown out of her cracks and crevices.

It’s been three days now. I don’t think she’s coming back. The pictures she took of my beautiful pink birthday roses, a gift from my husband, pictures of my great-niece and nephew on their fifth birthday and this last beach trip, for the moment and maybe for all time, are only in memory. It’s a sweet memory and a sad one. The cell phone took over and captured lunch on the jetty rocks with the pups as we watched a distant storm from our sunny spot. It wasn’t the same.

I cried when my ancient Brownie bit the dust.

I’m crying now my for latest camera, my friend, the one who reminded me that I am still a photographer, no matter how rusty, the one that took me back to my journalism roots, when I dreamed about being a famous reporter and travel photographer.

The Princess on the Rocks

The Princess on the Rocks

Daughter and Hubby have talked about buying me a new camera. They see a tough underwater camera, resistant to sand, heat, and water in my future.

All I see right now is a hole in my heart for this camera, my partner in adventure over the past year. One thing is for sure, I will never be able to put photography aside again, and that is her legacy to me.

Thank you, Daughter, for your most perfect gift. Thank you, Little Red, for reminding me of what fun photography can be.

I miss you, my camera, my friend. You will always hold a special place in my heart.

Are we going to eat that sandwich or are you going to take pictures all day?

Are we going to eat that sandwich or are you going to take pictures all day?

For one of our first adventures together, go here.

Last look at the lighthouse

Last look at the lighthouse

For more on this challenge, go here.

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