Friday, October 29, 2010

Out of the Picture

Way back when I was first diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome and I was feeing really crummy and frightened in response to the enormous changes in my life, John gave me a camera.

I had always enjoyed taking pictures but never considered photography one of my skills or passions. Little did I know that this birthday gift would become a valuable tool - and a friend - in making the difficult adjustments required in a chronic illness. It was wonderful to be able to replace some of my hobbies taken away by Sjogren's syndrome with a new interest in photography. Not only did my camera bring an opportunity to learn something new, it also provided me with a way to continue to feel like I was actively participating in activities that I thought were no longer possible. Yes, I was sitting on the sidelines and in the shade - but I could take the pictures, by golly. And so I did - ad nauseum.

My Canon was a SLR digital camera capable of far more than I could have imagined. Before long I became a real nuisance as I documented all aspects of our lives in full-color high-resolution digital photos. Holidays! Birthdays! Friends picking their noses! Dogs scratching their hindquarters!

Like most of my favorite possessions, such as my little car Goldie and my piano Bessie, I eventually gave my camera a name and discovered it's personality traits. Which provides a handy opportunity here to show off a word that I only recently discovered: anthropomorphism - the attribution of human characteristics to animals or non-living things.

Oooooo. Ahhhhh. Julia becomes polysyllabic. Yes! She CAN be taught!

The creative name that I gave my camera? Canon. Yep. That's the best that I could do. But that's who he has been since I first slipped the neck strap over my head and began clicking away. Canon was a boy, was non-judgmental, reliable, and very forgiving of my amateur photography mistakes. He enjoyed riding in Goldie tucked inside his bright yellow camera bag with the zipper half-open to facilitate a quick retrieval.

When Canon recently met his demise, I was truly sorrowful.

It all happened gradually, as often does with elderly cameras......a sensor fault here, an error message there, finally the loss of communication between the flash and the camera body, a chipped lens connection, and then........the Big One. Error 99. Doom. After all sorts of diagnostic machinations, the good folks on the customer service line at Canon delivered the bad news: For a seven year old camera with multiple problems, the cost of repair would exceed the cost of a new camera by a significant amount.

I looked with disbelief at my pal who had held my hand through so many experiences over the past seven years. Irreparably broken? Really? It couldn't be.

I'll meet my new camera in a few days, and parts of Canon will live on with his successor - telephoto lens, macro lens, filters, and tripods. But it won't be the same.

Goodbye, old friend.

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