Friday, November 11, 2011

Farewell My Camera, My Friend

Before I get started in today's post I'd like to thank The Argosgirl Chronicles for their nice write up on The Unlucky Hunter. It came as a big, pleasant surprise. Her kind words truly made my day!

A friend of mine died this week. No, she wasn't a relative, coworker, buddy, or pet. She didn't even have a name, or pulse for that matter. She was a camera, the faithful companion of many an adventure.

It was a Sony DCS-S500 and I carried it for about five years. This was one tough camera. I am very hard on my tools. Nothing lasts as long as it is supposed to when I own it. This camera was no different. It had been dropped hundreds of times, no exaggeration. Including off the roof of my house once. It was fully dunked into a lake as I tried to land a fish with its lanyard still attached to my wrist. I remember dropping it out of my truck door and then accidentally kicking it across the parking lot in a very clumsy manuver.

The very first picture it took, my wife (then girlfriend) and I's first Thanksgiving.
I have taken it apart numerous times to fix it. By the end its case bulged in several places from where I had used tape to keep parts where they belong. If you wanted to use the zoom you had to hold it just right. The flash usually worked and sometimes the focus would get stuck. But this was nothing a good tap on a wall or rock couldn't fix.

A classic, after-a-long-hike shot.
My wife gave me this camera before we were married. We were big Geocachers back then and we wanted to take a picture of each cache and do a scrapbook. Going back through my Flickr account I can see our entire dating and engagement period chronicled through the eyes of this camera. It was there when both of my daughters were born and for all of their birthdays since. It captured them both opening their first Christmas present and My oldest's first steps.

Mommy's first time meeting baby.

It took the first picture of our new puppy and the last picture of our old family dog. Every holiday, birthday, and special event it recorded. There are over five thousand pictures from this camera on my Flicker account. Those are just a fraction of the ones actually taken.

The day we brought home Lilly, The Wonder Poodle!
When my wife and I went out west on our grand adventure, we took this camera. It took beautiful pictures of Crater Lake and Mount St. Helens. I can't even go into the amount of hikes, fishing, and hunting trips it recorded. Going through all of the thousands pictures it has taken floods me with memories.

At the base of Crater Lake
I always expected it to get lost in rapids or dropped off a cliff, but instead is died peacefully on my kitchen counter. One moment it was on, the next moment it was dead. I tried for two hours to fix it, but the solution evades me. The last picture it took was of the very first fish my daughter caught all by herself. It lasted long enough for me to transfer that photo to my laptop, and then it died.

The last picture it took, Lila's first fish
I couldn't bear to just toss it, so now it resides in the toy bin. My girls run around pretending to take pictures with it. I have already purchased a replacement. A $40 bargain off eBay. It is a Sony, same model, but from a different year. It was sold "As Is", not working. After half an hour it works just fine. You have to hold it just right for the flash to work, but I would feel weird with a camera that wasn't a little quirky.

I'll be honest, I teared up a little writing this post. Not because my camera stopped working. Its just a tool. It is looking back through the literally thousands of pictures on my Flickr account and reliving the memories that would have faded were it not for this camera.

Oh yea, just to make this outdoors and hunting related, a reliable camera is as important as any of your other equipment. How else will you remember all of your adventures? I never leave home without one.

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