Rock What Ya Got: Camera Edition

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Post like this make me feel really, really stupid. Because seeing your faults glaring back at you can be awfully tough to take in sometimes.

As some of you saw, I posted a note on THRIVE’s Facebook page on Wednesday that my cheapie Kodak EasyShare camera was completely toast.

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I was in the middle of taking pictures of the inserts for the cabinet door tutorial and the camera was resting on the kitchen counter. But as kids wandered in and out to see what mom was doing … and as I climbed on and off bar stools to reach the top cabinets … and spun around to grab the camera for the next shot … somehow I caught the edge of the strap and looked back just in time to see my camera crash hard on the floor. The batteries immediately splattered across the floor as the camera skidded on its side and then came to rest lens-down next to the dishwasher.

And the second it hit, I knew it was gone.

I could see right away that the battery door had busted off completely, and a long history of small children and cheap cameras has taught me that this was an electronic fatality not worth the money to repair.  Even still, I tried the whole duct tape thing, hoping to limp through the rest of my pictures--but it was pointless. In desperation I called my neighbor as soon as she got home and borrowed her camera to get enough pictures to finish the post and get it up minutes before midnight.

I always figured that I’d be screwed without a camera because I’m one of those people who takes lots of pictures. I mean lots and lots of pictures—easily 1,200+ a month. So missing the goofy things my kids do and not being able to work on projects for THRIVE immediately worried me. But what I wasn’t at all prepared for though was the grief.

I sobbed.

Not just because I had no idea how we’d afford to replace it, but because this adventure behind the lens has opened a whole new world for me. I’ve loved capturing our family’s life, our adventures and especially our struggle to thrive in a place we never thought we’d be. Taking pictures has been a way for me to capture and constantly remind myself just how blessed we’ve been when it feels so hard, so much of the time.

And so I woke up Wednesday depressed  and unbelievably sad. Mr. Thrive had the day off so we sat in bed as I fought back tears and worried out loud about what to do. After I had gotten everything out of my system, Mr. Thrive quietly told me that he received a bonus from work—his very first in this new position and nothing huge—but enough for me to replace the camera with an entry level DSLR.

And I was left speechless, absolutely speechless, by the selflessness of my husband. Speechless that he’d immediately put his own wants and needs aside to take care of mine. Speechless that he’d so completely declared his belief in me and what I’m doing that he’d make buying a real camera more important than the laundry list of needs our family has.

And all Wednesday morning, I was floating.

I happily checked prices online, compared features for the hundredth time and thrilled at the chance to finally, finally be doing something I’d dreamed about for years. And in the excitement of being able to get just what I wanted instead of having to make due, my gratitude for that simple little camera started to slip away.

But the longer I looked, the more than little voice told me that it wasn’t right. (Not that I didn’t keep searching and looking anyway). I didn’t want to give up a DSLR—didn’t want to have to Rock What I Got—but the prompting was unmistakable: I needed to look at the other end of the camera spectrum, back near the $100 cheapie model that had just died. And so I reluctantly started paring back that search and looking at simpler and simpler models.

But instead of trusting that prompting voice with gladness and faith, I felt more and more resentful about being this close yet again and having something important to me slip away.

Instead of seeing the miracle in having a camera break the same day as an unexpected bonus, I was disappointed that I wasn’t getting something bigger, better or cooler.

Instead of being filled with the love of my husband and his care and support of me, I inwardly pouted like a spoiled brat.

And so once again, I got spiritually whacked up side the head and loving told to stopping the whining and be grateful. As I closed out the camera websites and returned to my homepage, the images from the tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama stared back at me and seared holes in my conscience.

My heart ached for all of those families without homes, without possessions, without loved ones. And I was reminded again just how much disasters like this have the amazing ability to clear away the crap and pettiness in our lives and conduct.

So in the last three days, there have been a lot of prayers for the people so hurt by the storms in the South … and a lot of reflection about selfishness and attitude and learning Rock What Ya Got … and a profound sense of thankfulness for what I learned with my old camera with all of its limits.

This whole time I’ve wanted to become a better photographer and thought that a big girl camera would do the trick. And while I know that that day will eventually come, I’m beginning to see now just how much my prayers have been answered by not having one after all. Having to stretch and make do with the basics has forced me to get creative, to study and most of all, to practice like crazy.

Like in those first few nervous weeks of blogging when I needed that perfect project shot to submit to my favorite blogs for features, it took dozens and dozens of dozens tries, but my camera came through for me.

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And when I wanted to imitate all those gorgeous pictures in blogland with the soft blurred out background … it took hundreds and hundreds of shots, but I finally figured how to make my camera fake it.

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Respect the Point ‘n’ Shoot, eh?

And I really don’t know if I would have made this much progress or tried as hard if taking good pictures was handed to me on a silver DSLR platter.

So a new camera has joined our family and I’m loving it. It didn’t cost much more than our old model and even has some upgrades that will be fun to start practicing with. The old, broken camera now sits on my shelf and will probably stay there since I don’t have the heart to throw it away—it taught me too much. Right now I like having a reminder of just how much I have to be grateful for.

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22 comments:

  1. I totally thought you had a great camera. I wish I could get my cheapo to take those sorts of photos.

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  2. My husband bought me a DSLR for my birthday that I'd been wanting for years- & I'd venture to say that your pictures are still better than my inexperienced ones. Thank you for this post- it certainly got me thinking this morning about the things we should be thankful for.

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  3. Lovely post!! I started out blogging with a bad, oh, 7 year old digital 3.2 megapixal camera and had to fake it a lot! I was finally able to upgrade a few months ago but not to dslr status yet. However, all the looking made me realize that I didn't actually want a dslr...I mean I do...but sometimes it's nice to have a camera I can throw in my purse and go! Sometimes I love the simplicity of a small point and shoot. And, my new point and shoot is actually amazing!! It has so many great features and I can usually just put the photos right on my blog without editing! So. Love live the point and shoot! They can be great if you know how to use it!

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  4. Thanks for a beautiful post...I'm in North Georgia where the destruction has been horrific - spent part of yesterday helping in a neighboring town - buildings and homes just rubble.

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  5. Thank you. I have been "coveting" a DSLR for a couple of years now, but I am just as happy with my Kodak EasyShare. It does the job. As the song goes, "It's not getting what you want, it's wanting what you've got." I need to put that in vinyl in my house somewhere!

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  6. this post really moved me. thank you so much for sharing with such openness and sincerity!
    It got me thinking about myself a LOT.

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  7. Wow, your honesty and transparency moved and inspired me. Thank you!

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  8. Nike, thumbs up my dear blog friend. I am proud of you. I'm telling you those raw moments have a way of changing our perspective and helping us to see (if we allow it) what is really important. I loved this post! And truth be told I have tried on differnt occasions to take pics like you..so you are doing something right my friend..more is not always the answer. Which you well know. ~

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  9. As someone who also uses a point and shoot most of the time, I can't recommend picnic.com enough. They have a free trial and you can fix/improve just about any picture. It saves a ton of time trying to get the perfect shot. I also built a cheap light box (http://morganmadeit.net/post/2010/10/24/2410-DIY-Light-Box.aspx)
    that greatly improves product shots.
    You never have to look very far to find someone with less. Your site is always a good reminder to be grateful for what you are given.

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  10. Oops, it's actually picnik.com :)

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  11. Knowing that you have a point and shoot really inspires me. I have what I would consider a wonderful point and shoot and seeing the pictures you have taken, know that my pictures have that potential. I don't know if I can ever buy myself a super fancy camera. It sounds amazingly wonderful, but I would feel so guilty (not that others should). Here's to, "Rocking what you got."

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  12. Bravo! You have become a richer person. The gift you gave your husband when yours eyes lit-up was wonderful. How many of us don't even do that? You have the gift of photography, a fancy camera does not make a photographer.

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  13. Wow! I'm impressed that you were able to take such nice shots with a point and shoot. How would you feel about teaching your readers some of your tricks??? I'm impressed!

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  14. amazing post. thank you for the gentle reminder.

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  15. Thanks for the post Nike, a great reminder to be grateful for what I have. You truly amaze me. I need to get some photography tips from you. Way to go my friend!

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  16. This is such a good reminder to me. It takes me all of five seconds to cease being grateful for good, even miraculous gifts and feel like I'm entitled. You are right that humbly looking at other people's current struggles often helps put our own into perspective, and that sometimes what we see as limitations are our chance to grow ourselves and our talents in ways that a life of ease could never do. Thanks so much for this post!

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  17. It's so hard to see what is possible for us to have and then find a way to be content with what we've got. That's why I find your blog so inspiring, because at the end of the day, what it really comes down to is that happiness in life doesn't come from "stuff." I have to constantly remind myself of that. Thanks for this post, it was a good reminder for today. If we have a good family, a roof over our heads, food to eat, and a God who's listening, then we are very rich indeed!

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  18. Awww what a article you did today - talk about moving... Rich in blessings for sure!!

    Evielynne

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  19. Failing to see our blessings is my biggest hurdle too. It's so easy to compare ourselves, especially in a world where we can see everything everyone has/does/is through blogs, pictures, etc. I most appreciate when people share the reality - like you've done here - of how human and humble we really are. Someone always has it worse, and if that doesn't move me to compassion and gratitude than I have failed indeed. I recently bought a DSLR off a friend who was upgrading. I've always wanted one. And yet, it is sitting in its bag under my bed, where it will stay until I get the gumption to figure it out. I flushed with embarrassment reading this and know that.

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  20. Hmmm - My Kodak Easy Share suddenly has a broken LED screen - but other wise works fine. Pulled it out of my purse and the screen was cracked. I was really bummed. Anyone know anything about putting parts of two broken cameras together to make one that works??

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  21. Loved this post! Thanks for lifting my spirits -- to know that I'm not the only pouter (at times), but hearing how you pulled through with grace and humility gives me a push to do the same.

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  22. I love this, I have an older camera as well and struggle with good photos. Would you mind sharing any tips on how to get the blurred background?? I still have not been able to get my camera to do that. :)

    twobroadsdesign@yahoo.com

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Thanks so much for the comment love! I do cartwheels when I read each one. Well, I imagine my pre-pregnancy self doing cartwheels, but you get the idea ...

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