Sunday, October 18, 2009

Picture Wh*re

I bought a new camera.
Hells yes. And it's red...and sexy...

I have a Canon DSLR that I absolutely love love love.

Though it is several years old and megapixels behind the flashy stuff that's out there, I'm not sure I could ever get rid of it. I often think of a camera as an extension of my body. When I was in Africa, both the first and second time, I was rarely photographed without it (and rarely photographed, as I usually was the one taking the pictures:

I know it's extreme to think about it like that, but I realized once that when I am looking through the lens of my camera I see the world in an *entirely* different and more detailed way. Having a camera nearly constantly attached to my palm has meant that I've been able to capture photos from what I consider the sublime to the most mundane, hilarious to intense...and most of the time, the just plain ridiculous - as Dr. Bailey would say "the little joys and tragedies that make you who you are."

That's why my sister was shocked when I announced that I would not be taking my camera to New York with me. "WHAT?" she exclaimed, as I declared at midnight, hot and sweaty and frustrated that it "took up too much room" was "too bulky to fit into a purse" and "needed it's battery charged." She raised her eyebrows skeptically, but I was so tired and fed up with packing and laundry, was faced with a 5AM wake up call and half a day with work before I was granted the freedom of the leather reclining seats on the Limo Liner I thought "F*CK IT. Jamaal will have his camera."

When I arrived in NYC Jamaal and I were casually chatting and I said "Oh yeah, I didn't bring my camera. By the way...." He responded with a somewhat shrill "WHAAT?! YOU?! You didn't bring your camera? But you bring it everywhere."

It was at that moment that the panic ensued. I felt this horrible anxiety. I am supposed to capturing the little joys and tragedies that make could I NOT have a camera at a wedding?! I plan to have a camera in my purse at my own wedding!! How could I do this. Jamaal must've felt my anxiety because he downplayed the situation. He told me not to worry, he had his camera.

I couldn't shake it though. Through dinner, on the subway ride back to his apartment I went back and forth between trying not to care about the camera, to figuring out how I could get one - maybe on the street in Brooklyn? They sell lots of stuff streetside in NY, surely someone had to be selling cameras, bootleg or not, to quaff my shutter-snapping addiction, no?

Luckily before I was reduced to street shopping, I had a flash of genius (or perhaps just common sense). We were headed to Middletown, NY, which I knew, from my googling proclivities, contained a very large shopping mall. And where there is a large mall, there is usually a Best Buy. I scrambled for my laptop (which weighs seven times what my camera does, yet I still lugged it to NYC) and consulted there it was. A slim, sexy, lightweight RED camera for under $100. 10 megapixels (.1 shy of embarrassing my beloved DSLR...which is why I didn't go for the pricier 11 mpg one, LOL). I ordered it online for in-store pickup. The camera-less jitters started to reside.

I wish I could say that in-store pick-up was simple, but of course it wasn't. Jam doesn't have a functioning printer in his apartment, and because he's slowly starting to pack it up, getting the printer on its feet for the sole purpose of printing my Best Buy confirmation slip was dumb. I have a Blackberry dammit, with email pushed to my homescreen! What's better than a printed slip? The actual confirmation EMAIL in the flesh! Of course the woman with five o'clock shadow at Best Buy did not agree and I had to wait...forever....for her to find out what to do from a supervisor...who then yelled at me saying that as long as I had ID I could get my camera. Oh well, I might also be angry if I worked at the BB.

I ripped into the box as soon as we settled at the sweet Holiday Inn Jam had reserved (and I'm not being a sarcastic ass by calling it "sweet;" the room actually rocked - the bed must've had Ambien woven into its fibers because I literally fell asleep just looking at the pillow-top mattress). I took some test shots:

decent portrait setting

nice color saturation; note the richness of the green purse handles, the view reaching into my cavernous sinus

Nice sunset setting

Status: camera approved.

Of course I had to learn the hard way that you should never bring a brand new hardly used camera to a capture a "life-event." My first few pictures of the wedding looked like this:

Damn you party/indoor setting, luring me in with your siren song of perfect pictures in a not-so-perfect lighting situation! Argh! I basically botched the entire wedding ceremony. This is why brides have professional photographers. I finally found the automatic setting (not the easy automatic setting, which is messed up to heck!) and even got in a decent self-portrait of Jamaal and I. This makes a total of six pictures in which we both look half-decent. We take awful pictures together. I have actually taken individual picture of us and photoshopped them together because of notoriously bad pictures. This is ok though:
I'm a bit pale, but what else is new! After that I was even able to capture some nice shots of the bride and groom and friends

not to mention priceless video (the sound sucks, but check out those moves - oh and yeah, I right the camera once the video starts):

So. My camera anxiety was killed. I captured some of those special life a small child burning the dance floor with sweeter moves than I will ever have:
I even got some foliage and NYC shots, including some interesting pics of the Columbus Day parade (note, NEVER try and cross 5th Avenue on foot during this parade. It's worth the one subway stop to get under that hot mess):

So my impulse buy was worth it in the end. I'm still tweaking the various settings and such, but all in all, it is so nice to have a point and shoot at my fingertips know, just in case another golden-winged roller skating Miss Italy crosses my path.

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