Monday, June 16, 2014

Can't Get The Picture...

The Facts

We inherited a camera. It malfunctioned. 

His Side

I like photography. I have a Canon T3i Rebel and it’s nice. The Canon 40D is nicer, though. We inherited one and I still haven’t really taken the time to figure it all out because I got used to the Rebel and became complacent. I plan to figure out how to use the 40D a little better, though. I would have started on that quest already but, when we pulled it out the other day to take a picture for this blog, it wouldn’t work. A mysterious message popped up telling us to format the memory card (there’s a fancy name for it, but it’s really just a memory card). When we obeyed the camera’s command and tried to format the card, it wouldn’t let us. We were getting mixed messages from a machine and it wasn’t fun.

We figured it had to be a problem with the card so we bought a new card. It didn’t work. The same mixed messages had us stumped because it was a brand new card! Kristi was very upset over this. Not just because our camera was broken but because of the camera that it is. Her dad was an avid amateur photographer but had some professional quality work. He was good. And this particular camera was something we inherited from him. When we called Canon, they said one option is to trade in our broken camera for a discounted, newer version, but Kristi’s dad didn’t shoot on a newer version. He shot on this exact camera. You can’t put a price on sentimental value.

My initial thought was to go to some of my colleagues to ask them because I know some cinematographers that have shot on everything from RED (very high end digital video camera) to Canon DSLRs (like the 40D). I figured that if anyone could help us, they could. Because of the sentimental value of the camera, though, we wanted the professionals to handle the problem… so we went straight to the source:  Canon. To fix our issue, we had to ship them the camera, they would send us an estimate, we would approve the estimate, they would fix the problem, then ship it back to us (and we were told they would pay the shipping back to us). 

Kristi was wary about shipping the camera but I told her there is nothing to worry about because FedEx does this for a living and they wouldn’t be in business if they continuously broke things or lost them in shipping. So, we packaged it up and sent it out. It arrived there right when we expected it to and everything was fine… just like I said. The estimate wasn’t even as bad as we thought it would be (though they are charging us for shipping). It turns out there was a bent pin in the car reader slot. I jokingly asked if we could just get some pliers and fix it ourselves, but that’s not a good idea.

So they are supposedly fixing it as we speak and we should get it back well before we leave for Idaho. Which is good because we will certainly be taking some pictures out there!

Her Side

Things break. That’s a fact of life. Sometimes they can’t be repaired and sometimes the object that broke didn’t mean much to you. Other times, the object has so much sentimental value that not only is the object broken, but you are broken as well. Normally I try to have a positive outlook on things when something goes awry. This time, that wasn’t so easy.

My dad had a huge passion for photography. He did it as a hobby and almost anything could turn into a photo shoot for him. With the hobby came some nice equipment. Before my dad passed away, he decided that he wanted to keep the camera equipment in the family and split it up among myself and my two brothers. So, that’s just what we did. I’ve always wanted to get more into photography, and to have a camera that was my dad’s is very special to me. I have used it on several occasions to take photos here and there. I recently pulled the camera out to take some photos for our blog and discovered that it wasn’t working. Since Nolan and I don’t know the workings of these complicated cameras, I asked my brother what he thought the problem might be. We settled on purchasing a new Compact Flash card for the camera in hopes that the one I had was just faulty. So, Nolan and I purchased one off of Amazon and I eagerly awaited its arrival. Sadly, its arrival was quite anticlimactic as that didn’t fix our problem. All I could think is how irresponsible I must have been to somehow break a camera that was so precious to my dad and that was now in my care. As I tend to do, I overanalyzed the situation and figured that the problem must have come from when Nolan and I took pictures during the recent snowfall in Columbia. Could some itsy-bitsy, teeny-tiny snowflake have caused this damage? Was I not careful enough to clean the moisture off of the camera before I stored it away?

Once I realized that there was nothing that Nolan or I or anyone else close to us could do to fix the camera, I BROKE down. Crying over a camera may seem silly, but that’s just what I did. I cried and wished the camera back to working condition. Neither tears nor wishing would fix it, I know… but it’s all I could bear to do. We eventually called the camera company to see what could be done and they retorted with “Oh, just ship it to us and we will check it out!”  Normally those would be fantastic words to hear, but I couldn’t imagine shipping THIS camera to someone I don’t know, who doesn’t know the history behind it, who doesn’t appreciate what it means to me. What happens if it gets damaged in the mail, or worse… LOST? My mom and husband eventually talked sense into me and convinced me that the only way to get this camera working was to send it away. So, that’s what we did and think I’ll be anxious up until the moment it arrives back in my arms.

Sometimes you don’t realize just how important a material item is to you until you teeter on the edge of losing it. Just because something is physically with you doesn’t mean everything is good on the inside. So, take the time to check up on it once in a while. Appearances aren’t always what they seem. (Oh yea, and this applies to the people around you too!)

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