Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gone in a Flash

If you've been following my blogs, you've probably figured out that I'm a total photoholic. I am obsessed with photos. I seem to have a need to record every moment of my life. It's my way of holding on. Life is fleeting. Photos are forever. Of course as life moments go, my baby is the crowning glory. When it comes to photo ops (and I've enjoyed my share including close encounters with a moose, lightning, fireworks, landmarks around the globe, macros of flowers and plants, animals and thousands of snapshots of people) it doesn't get any bigger than this!

Photos are a big part of this blog for me. I always include them. One day while I was composing a new post, I tried to upload a photo and it wouldn't let me. When I clicked on upload, the window just stayed blank with a little circle going around and around. Soon I was spinning too. At first I thought it was just a temporary glitch but the next day the same thing was happening. I could upload videos from Youtube. I could upload photos that were already in my blog but no new ones. The window to browse from my computer just wasn't coming up. Was it a problem with my computer or with Blogger? I was worried I'd never be able to add pictures again. I don't think I'd even want to continue the blog without photos. It wouldn't be the same. How could I show Michelle growing and changing? How could I share all her milestones? Just writing about things isn't enough. A picture says a thousand words after all. This blog traces Michelle's (and my) journey and the pictures tell more than half the story. I'm not a techie and didn't know how I'd ever figure it out or fix the problem. Luckily I Googled it and discovered that I was not alone. Other people were experiencing the same technical difficulties. Someone was kind enough to advise us that Blogger's engineers were working on it. They also gave a work-around solution -- you can compose in HTML mode and upload the photos there. Though the images show up as code there you can hit Compose or Preview after to see them. I was so relieved. So that's what I've been doing for the last couple of posts. (It would appear that Blogger still hasn't fixed the problem because I still had to go into HTML mode to upload photos here. It's been weeks now.)

As if the Blogger thing wasn't enough to thwart a snap-happy Mommy, I would soon encounter another, much bigger snag on the photo front...

One day I had set the self-timer to take a photo of Michelle and I (often the only way I can get in photos is with the timer, otherwise I'd always just be the person behind the camera at special events etc.) When the picture snapped, the flash made a loud Snap Crackle Pop! sound (apparently it's not just for cereal anymore.) It startled me. It sounded like the camera was about to explode. When Michelle was safely out of the way I tried hitting the shutter button to see what would happen. It was scary enough when I was across the room. Holding the camera in my hand while it popped, I nearly jumped out of my skin. I thought it might catch fire or something. Snap crackle pop was apparently the sound of the flash on my Coolpix Nikon L110 taking its last breath. Sigh. No more flash.

It figures. I don't have much luck with cameras. Many years ago I had a Canon dropped on the cement by a stranger who offered to take a picture of my boyfriend and I in Montreal (which was why from that day on I only had cameras with self-timers. I trust a flat surface more than a stranger.) I had a Minolta that died after 3 years. A Kodak. A Pentax. It seemed cameras only ever lasted 3 years for me. Mind you, to be fair to the camera manufacturers, I take a MOTHERLODE of photos. I've taken thousands. It may even be a million by now. Three years with me would be like 30 years with a normal person. Now my three year old Nikon breaks down, right on schedule. It couldn't happen at a worse time though. While I have a baby! And while I'm trying to save money on maternity leave. I've been so careful even with buying groceries and trying to limit myself to just necessities. Of course to me, a camera is a necessity (right up there with food, water, oxygen). I will have to replace it eventually. I'll just have to go a couple of weeks without groceries and sell some stuff on Kijiji. In the meantime I can still take photos in natural light. I actually love natural light. The only problem is when it's not available. I just have to hope to God that Michelle doesn't do anything particularly adorable and/or amazing on overcast days or at night because without the flash she's just a blur. I can still take videos so if she does miraculously start walking at 5-6 months or something at least I'm covered that way.

The good news is that like all electronics and technology, cameras are constantly getting smaller, smarter, faster, better and cheaper. I took a peek at what cameras are going for now and was somewhat relieved. It wasn't as bad as I thought. If I have to I could get a Nikon now with more megapixels and for half what I paid 3 years ago. Or maybe I'll go for an Olympus. That's one I haven't had yet. I've had just about everything else. Maybe there's a camera out there that can break through the 3 year barrier. I had always believed that Nikon was the best. Now I'm disappointed with them. Actually even before the flash died it was kind of temperamental. Sometimes when I'd try to photograph people they would come out overexposed for no reason. One second you'd take the picture and it would be normal and the next second it would be completely flashed out for no reason, under the same exact conditions. It made no sense. Maybe the camera/flash was faulty to begin with.

When the sun came streaming through the window of the nursery one morning I thought "OK this is my chance -- light! Grab the camera!" I snapped several pictures of Michelle on the change table. Natural light really is the best for photos but in the dead of winter you can't always count on it. There are so many dull grey days. I was happy to get a few shots of her smiling. I love her smile more than anything on the planet. It makes me forgive her for running me ragged, not letting me get anything done, being demanding and impossible at times.

I guess it's Murphy's Law. Things go wrong at the worst possible times, when you can least afford to deal with them. A camera is something I could never live without. I am grateful to have so many memories preserved in photographs. There's no way I'm stopping now. I know that in years to come these days with Michelle will be my sweetest, most cherished memories. They don't stay babies for long. This first year will be gone in a flash (if you'll pardon the pun!)


  1. Oh no! That's the worst timing!! Our camera broke while on vacation (we just have the point & shoot kind) & I just couldn't justify the money to get a new one...luckily it was my Mom's birthday & I conned my brother (he's loaded) into buying one for "her" which I'm sure I'll use more than she does, lol!!!

    1. Well played! At least I can still take pictures, just not with a flash. Yes the timing is unreal but it seems to be a theme in my life! :)