Friday, September 04, 2009

through a glass darkly

Paul may have first used the phrase. At least, that is where I would have first heard it.

In church or Sunday school.

But I also know it from the Ingmar Bergman film. And, of course, George Patton's poem.

It is true that we have an imperfect perception of reality.

And it even gets more imperfect when you become a man of a certain age. Deviating from routines can be a bad thing.

Six months ago, I could not imagine myself writing a sentence like that. I was the poster child for postmodernism. Routines were for geezers.

Now, I am quickly become a warning for AARP members.

On Thursday night, I downloaded some photographs from my camera. I was going to tell you how my house rental search was going.

My usual routine is to put the camera in my back pack after I am done downloading. Instead, I put it on the bed on top of my walking shorts. A little voice said: "Don't do that." I ignored it -- as I do most of the voices I hear these days.

I sat down to do some work on the computer. By that time of night, Jiggs is usually settled down. He stopped taking his midnight walks when midnight was no cooler than the late afternoon.

But on Thursday, he was restless. He barked that he wanted to go out. By that point the house was locked up. Getting out of Alcatraz must have been easier.

So, I grabbed my shorts to pull out the keys.

Just as I did it, the little voice said: "See?" Because the camera was now in full flight heading away from me, but not on its way to Capistrano.

We have all had that feeling. You know what is happening -- what is going to happen. And it is all flashing by in slow motion frame by frame.

When the camera hit the tile floor, no plastic pieces flew off. There was no sound of a breaking lens. The battery did not spark off a flash.

But there was that thud. Sometimes you just know by the sound that the result is not going to be good.

Because I often have to prove that I am foolish, I tried to take a photograph. It powered up. The screen worked. I could feel the lens zoom inside its chamber. Hope was actually bubbling through reality.

I tried a flash shot. No result.

Well, there was a result. You can see it at the top of the post.

In just over two weeks, I will be in Oregon. I had planned on buying a new camera while I am there.

But that means until I return, there will be no new photographs. And, of course, between now and then:

  • There will be new hatchings of iguana in the back yard.
  • The presidents of Latin America will meet at the bungalows across the street.
  • The circus will parade its lions and tigers and bears (and unicorns) on my beach.
  • The world's best sunsets will occur.

And I will have no camera.

I have a library of photographs I have been meaning to share. This may be the opportunity to do that.

And, if any of you have some suggestions on a good digital point and shoot with a high-powered zoom (at least x15 optical), I would appreciate hearing your suggestions. I would purchase a digital SLR, but this weather is brutal on lenses.

It was a good camera. I will give it a decent burial. Because even the images on Plato's walls are a stranger to it now.


Mic said...

"Through A Glass Darkly" sounded sooooo ominous for some reason my heart slowed. Am so glad it was only the camera hurt :-)

What fun - you get a new one:-) Don't ya just love new gadgets!!

Anonymous said...

That's a shame about the camera, your pictures will be missed. I know exactly how you feel, I dropped my radio on the dock the other day. As you said, it seems to happen in slo-mo. It still functions, but the handle is broken. I've had that radio for at least 10 yrs. with perfect service. It's time to cobble a handle.

Anonymous said...

we will use our imaginations until then and enjoy the pictures you've been saving.

have a great weekend!


Felipe said...

Mexicans can fix anything. Find a camera repair shop. You´ll be surprised.

Tom and Debi said...

but so much of that camera can live on, the cards, the battery, etc, etc. Just buy one compatible to those things...

Sometimes we spend so much time looking for the photo, we miss the scenery.

Enjoy the respite, but we will miss the photos!


Chrissy y Keith said...

Maybe you can learn a new skill? Go over to La Paloma and have Nancy Lenny show you how to use watercolors. You have some of the best subject matter around.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

I'm with Felipe. They really can fix most anything. Ask around about who might fix it. Why give up on a good camera? Besides, you'll pay a fortune for a decent point and shoot with that kind of zoom!


Gringa-n-Mexico said...

I might have to agree with Felipe - you JUST might be able to get it fixed if you can find the right place. But HEY! If you wanna new camera I can't down that! I'm not camera smart but I've had my fair share of them (why do they always seem to end up in the water?) and it seems like anything Kodak is the EASIEST to use and they always have the fun zoom/crop/picture-fixer(lighting,color,ect) right IN the camera. Good luck! :)

Todd said...

I usually send friends to this site when they are thinking about getting a new camera.


Jim and Gayle said...

I managed to drop my camera on the rocks in Big Bend NP two months after I got it but managed to get it fixed.

This is the camera I have been wanting. Great zoom 18x and a friend gets terrific shots with it.


Anonymous said...

Do what Felipe suggests.

A. N. Moose

scooterbum said...

A few years ago my bother in law dropped his Nik0n point and shoot, would not turn on after the drop.
We took it a stereo / TV repair shop in San Patricio near the corner of Corona and Guzman. Picked it up 4 hours later and they had it working like new; charged him 70 pesos.
A good unbiased web site for camera selection -

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just dropped my cell phone on the cement sidewalk. It broke the hinge. I went on line (t-mobile)and found I qualified for a free phone so I just put in an order to have a new one shipped to me. I was lucky. Sorry about your camera.

Gary Denness said...

I have plenty of recommendations for you.

If money isn't too tight, then perhaps the Fuji 200 EXR ( might be what you're looking for. It's a bit big, but as far as I'm concerned if it doesn't fit in your pocket and you have to carry it, then a pound or two doesn't make much of a difference. It has a big sensor (very important, esp for low light shooting) and is arguably the best for image quality in non DSLR format. It only does SD video though, which for me is disappointing. But thats about the only complaint. If you don't care about HD video so much, and it's within your budget, this is the one I'd recommend.

As far as Superzooms go, there are just two which would really vie for my money at the moment, both new models, both coming in at under 400 bucks.

Someone mentioned the Panny's been replaced by a new model, and is very highly rated on the photo review sites. The FZ35 is well worth a good look at.

There's also the Canon SX20, which is very similar spec. It's a little bigger than the FZ35, and has a better lens hood. It doesn't shoot RAW, but thats not a big deal for me. Video is HD with stereo. What I like about this model though is the vari angle LCD. I used to have that on my old Nikon 8700 and it was very useful. For self portraits (or you and a special other) for shooting over heads in a crowd and for candid shots when you feel a bit shy about asking someone if you can take their photo! I'd personally buy this camera (and am saving!) for that feature alone. But if the LCD isn't a big deal for you, the Panny is the better bet.

For the record...the Canon SX1 is terrible value for money, the Sony HX1 gets some mixed reviews regards noise, Nikon's P90 isn't bad but has image quality flaws....the rest just don't quite match up to those I've mentioned.

A few good sites to help you decide...

Another good tip. Go to Flickr and use the Camera Finder ( page to have a look at other peoples results with the cameras you are considering. Sometimes newer models aren't listed, but you can usually find samples if you type in the model number into the search box.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. And the pudding is there on full view in Flickr.

I'd like to know what you choose in the end.

(Don't listen to Felipe! Buying a brand new camera is just too exciting and too much fun to risk spoiling by visiting a camera repair shop!!!)


Steve Cotton said...

Mic -- New stuff is great. And here I was thinking that I was going to simplify my life by moving to Mexico.

Francisco -- I know the feeling of losing comfortable objects. I have a pair of deck shoes that I use for sailing. They are tearing out at the toes, and the uppers are coming unglued. But I still wear them. I cannot imagine replacing them.

Theresa -- I just hope I have two weeks of "footage."

Felipe -- I may get it fixed as an auxilary. But a new camera is in the offing.

Debi -- I rather enjoyed the freedom of walking around today without the camera. Though, I must admit, at least twice I reached for it.

Chrissy -- Nancy goes to my church. She brought in one of her paintings a week ago. Quite good. But painting -- and fishing -- are not for me. Anything that lasts more than 20 minutes is not going to work.

Larry -- I am afraid new will win out over old, even though I may get the old one fixed as a backup.

Gringa-n-Mexico -- I think the buy now crowd is going to win out. Nice to see a new name amongst the commenters.

Todd -- Thanks. Great site. Great suggestion. If I buy a new camera, may I come up your way and take pictures of your house?

Jim -- See Gary's comments below. There appears to be a new and improved model. Looks good.

A.N. Moose -- Are you turning into Tony Benn? Shortening your moniker bit by bit. I always do what Felipe suggests, except when I don't.

Scooterbum -- I will look for the shop tomorrow. And again, nice to see a new name amongst the commenters.

Anonymous -- Maybe I should have bought T-Mobile rather than Nikon. Very clever spam. I am an AT&T guy myself.

Gary -- As always, you are a wealth of information. You and Jim have probably put me on to my next purchase.

Calypso said...

Just got my beloved 17mm-85mm stabilized Canon lens back from a factory repair. The good news is they repaired it for no charge even out of warranty (with a little complaining about the cost and failure) - the squeaky wheel...

I love my Canon 400D SLR - consider a Rebel EOS and get that lens.

Anonymous said...

I know you mentioned big zoom but this one is bulletproof. Great for on the beach.

For bigger zoom I am looking at this one myself.

In most cases Canons are the best point and shoot especially those with HD video.

Anonymous said...

The Canon SX200 is a bit of a disappointing camera. I considered it myself, for about 60 seconds. Till it became apparent you can't use that nice long zoom while you are recording video. The reviews that came along weren't so hot on image quality either. It's best to sacrifice the manual controls and go with the Panny TZ7/ZS3, which also has a wider lens.

What's interesting you at the moment anyway Steve?

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- Thanks. Good food for thought.

Anonymous -- I need a bigger zoom than the Panasonic, and am getting the same impression as Gary that the Canon does not have very good reviews. I think I need to actually hold one to see how I like the feel of each.

Gary -- After reading the comments and a series of reviews, I like the FZ28. My Nikon had a swivel lens that allowed me to take less obtrusive shots. And I liked it. But, overall, the FZ28 seems to be a better fit than the SX20. Who knows? Maybe I will get back into the SLR market.

Inmigrante Rentista said...

Now I am going out on a limb here but, have you checked the lens cap? Did you leave it on?

Steve Cotton said...

Inmigrante Rentista -- For once, I did check the obvious first. It would not have been the first time that I failed to take step number one. I checked in town yesterday to see if anyone could repair the camera. None of the obvious places could. Now I will look for places not so obvious.

Hollito said...

One more vote for a Panasonic FZ cam - have mine (a FZ8) since spring 2008 and dropped my plans to buy a DSLR. The Panny has all I need and offers more than enough for anyone who wants to make changes on the way the cam works.
Go for a Panny, no matter which model, even a FZ18 is a fine cam, as much as a FZ28, FZ38 or FZ50... :-)
Or take something from the TZ series, if you want a more compact cam.
See ya, Holger "Hollito"