I got a new camera yesterday, a Fuji S9100. Don't ask me why I got that one. I went to the camera store and said, "Hi, I'd like to take a photo that I can print out at 8 x 10, and I don't have a lot of money." And the guy said, "This can do that, you'll like it." Done. This is how I make major purchases. I like to get them over with as quickly as possible. I research afterward — buyer's remorse seems more comfortable, somehow, than making the decision, but I seldom have remorse. I don't feel like I deserve to, since I put so little effort into the choosing. Nevertheless, what I do do is, you know, ask the right people. But don't you ask me, because I am not one of those people. Okay.
So, I got the camera home and circled it warily. Then I sat down and read the manual. No seriously, I really did. I didn't understand the manual, but I read the manual. I was completely afraid of the camera, which is big and black and looks very professional, and has a million buttons and dials on it. To me, there are two kinds of cameras — small and silver, big and black. Now, you know how much I love my small and silver one. I really really love it. It's a Canon PowerShot A80. I set it on "portrait" mode, grab my focus point, and shoot, many times a day, with happy, rosy results. Whatever's happening inside that little beast when it's on "portrait" mode is good for me. I don't know exactly what it is, of course (nor do I really want to), but I know I like it.
These photos were all taken yesterday afternoon — a very rainy, hail-y, gloomy afternoon — as I just went around and snapped things with the new big black. I kept turning all the dials this way and that, quite nervously, like some kind of cartoon character using a cartoon camera. I just wanted to get one good shot, even accidentally, just so I would know it was possible. I figured that if I had the one good shot, I could determine how to get it again later, but at least I would know if was possible.
It's kind of amazing how much a part of my vocabulary the language spoken by that camera, the Canon, has become. I feel really comfortable with it, or rather, with what I do with it. It is able to do much more than what I do with it. But nevertheless, I don't feel it's melodramatic to say that that camera actually changed my life. When I got the Canon in 2005, I really felt like I had been given a whole new medium of expression. It was just a nicer, easier camera than any I'd had. And it was amazing to suddenly have a whole new . . . vehicle, I guess. And it just didn't feel hard to take a good photo with that thing. But it must have been hard, the first day. It must have been.
Of course, I've always been much more interested in the thing I am taking a photo of than I am the technical part of how it comes to be. So when I found something that worked, I just did it over and over and over again, allowing the subject to change, not the method. I liked the idea of little, clear things rising to the surface, like bubbles. Just for a second, they're clear, then bloop.
I shot all these without a tripod or anything, just walking around. You may not be able to tell, but to me, these photos look really different than what I am used to taking with small silver. It became obvious pretty quickly that I was uncomfortable with this new thing. It can do so much more than I'm used to. Or rather, there are more choices for me to make; to make them, I need to know a lot more than I do. I resolve again to be a person who can happily change and expand, though I am so often inclined to stay curled up, like the fiddlehead fern, or a pill bug. It's very immature, and something I really don't like about myself. It's fear, I guess.