I sure do miss my camera.
Warning: If you’re not an old photographer, this may not mean much to you.
Once upon a time, I carried a camera everywhere I went. Hung it off my shoulder, a badge saying I had an eye for composition. I looked for the perfect pose with just the right lighting. Stop, look at me. Smile.
I could make it see what I saw. I took a lot of photographs. Thousands.
When I was a youngster, photography was a mystery. Magic. Load the film, look, point, press a button. Later, take the film to the drug store. Wait a week, pay the man. Open the envelope, see the magic. Most of it was blurred, covered in shadows.
So, I took a photography class at the university. I was in the dark room, mixing chemicals, developing film, making the magic. Black and white photos.
Eventually, I was doing the same in color. Making slides. Studying others who were good at what they did. I never was that good.
In 1973, I bought my camera. Not a Mercedes-like camera. Never could afford the Nikon. I saved and worked overtime to get a Pentax. Like a loaded out Buick.
I had a bag full of lenses and a lot of film. Started buying the stuff in hundred foot rolls. Still spending a lot of time standing in a dark room, not able to see anything and I liked that. The magic was still there.
Twenty or so years ago, someone said digital. Even Kodak laughed at the idea. Digital the fool became DIGITAL THE GIANT.
For thirty dollars you get a camera at Wal-mart. It does everything my camera did, plus more. Even video with sound. Black and White. No problem. Color. No problem. Night time. No problem. Football players running. No problem. No blurs, no shadows. Perfect light all the time.
I still miss my old Pentax. It was a lifetime ago, forty-four years to be exact. I only had to feed it film and change the battery every three or four years. It demanded I adjust it, to take in the light and change the shutter speed. We became friends. We were intimate.
I could load it in total darkness. Unload it too. I knew every crook and cranny, from the two rings that held the strap to the exact pressure it took to release the shutter. I could feel the gears move and the springs tense up, waiting for the shutter to lock, ready for the next exposure.
It was my camera. Where I went, it went. We survived the cold, the hot, the rain, the sleet and snow. A lot of mud in south Louisiana and it was still ready for more.
One day, I put my friend on the shelf, then inside a cabinet. Years went by. I never touched it. Digital stole my heart.
One day, I held it one more time. Then I gave it away.
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