Ditching the bitty

Not to be confused with ditching the biddy, wherein E’s endless patience runs out. Not sure how much is left, though…

I’ve decided it’s about time to retire the itty-bitty Cannon PowerShot we got back when we decided to leave Denver with a car and a backpack (and almost a crib mattress). Out of the closet will come the SLR that my parents gave me when I graduated college back in…uh, a while ago. It was a Cadillac of a camera, and way beyond me at the time. My old boss and friend gave me camera lessons with it in 2009 as we sat on a bench by the bay in Victoria, BC.  Between the blue sky and the reflective water, the colorful bobbing vessels and passing aeronauts, it was the perfect photography classroom. We talked about shutter speed and aperture, and other inner workings of cameras. Unfortunately, since adopting the PowerShot, about 99% of that knowledge has faded because of that whole “use it or lose it” thing. The deeper knowledge of photography has been lost on me, and I’m excited to revisit the subject.  Looking at all my parents’ old albums was a strong reminder that my dad (and other people, likely) really knew how to use a camera back in the day! The albums are filled with so many amazing compositions, and when I realize that every one of those required a decision and a manual adjustment before clicking, it makes me feel like a most ignorant photographer.

Don’t get me wrong, though, the bitty has been awesome. But its planned obsolescence (damn capitalism!) has run its course and it’s becoming unreliable, so we’re pulling the relief pitcher.  The PowerShot was highly portable, which is why we got it. It survived a second story drop off a hotel balcony, and shared countless lint-filled nights in close contact with the standard detritus that any good pocket on a farm might accumulate over the course of a day. It’s been dragged around by both our boys, taking an untold number of photos of blurry grass and tops of feet, and incredibly unflattering photos of me. WTF Canon? You’d think with all this technology, I could look hot in at least one photo in the last 6 years.

I remember what a big deal it was when my parents got a CD player when I was probably early teens; I was certain we were a decade behind all the other families we knew.  We usually listened to my parents’ old vinyl records on Saturday mornings as we’d clean the house, or KMGN, a rock station out of Flagstaff.  In hindsight, I like the way technology wasn’t a driving force in our family dynamic. We never had the latest and greatest so in a way we bowed out of the frantic pursuit of it and focused on other things. When my parents did get around to making a technology upgrade it was an awesome, memorable luxury. I’ve noticed that E and I  hold back on technology in a similar way, and I’m really glad we do.

We just recently upgraded to two flip phones instead of a single shared one.  And, after several months of deliberation, we now have a smart TV (which will only play DVDs at the moment because our internet service is also behind the times). The decision was not driven by a need to keep up on technology or peer pressure, rather, our method of watching Netflix had become so painful it was driving us mad. The Netflix-method consisted of: (1) delicately transport aging laptop with screen hanging on by a thread to large computer monitor in living room, (2) balance laptop precariously while crawling through the lower shelf of a cabinet to unplug the DVD player and reroute cord to laptop, (3) plug in laptop because it can’t hold a charge for more than four minutes, (5) reroute speakers to laptop and fiddle with the intermittently-working, duct-taped single speaker whose twin died years ago, (6) have E pull me out of the cabinet by my ankles, (7) apologize to kids for all the cussing, (8) watch Netflix. So we went ahead and made the upgrade. And now we have a remote control to adjust volume – something we haven’t had in 8 years. I can’t even believe how much I appreciate remote volume control. I imagine the boys also appreciate it, as their little legs have served as “remote”, and their little fingers have served as “control” to turn the volume control shaft (because the button fell off a few years ago).

So, going back to the SLR feels like going back in time, reconnecting with an era pre-quick-and-easy-pocket-camera. It’s comforting. It does present some logistical questions, like how am I going to tote this giant thing around? Maybe, just maybe, I can get it to fit in this:

My prize find when we bought the farm: a fluorescent fanny pack. Can’t wait to wear this to my kid’s soccer game. And put tissue in it.

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