Click. Click. Clunk. It's Dead... 10 Ways to Cope With the Death of Your Camera
I stood at the top of the South Carolina state house steps and looked down at my opened photo bag. Strewn about on a giant slab of marble before me was my random selection of batteries, memory cards and lenses. Over my shoulder and down at the foot of the capital steps a circus of sorts was happening. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley had recently vetoed funding for the arts and rape crisis centers and the community wasn't going to let that happen quietly. There were dancers, painters, musicians, actors, photographers, puppeteers, yoga artists - you name it. It was absurd and poignant and it it may have worked.
I changed out lenses, batteries, SD cards, and anything else that could possibly make that ERR message on the top display disappear. Fuck me. It's dead. I've had this feeling before. It sucks, but you can take the catastrophe and turn it around. But before we tackle 10 Ways to Cope with the Death of your camera, let's take a look at how we got to that point.
I'd like to think I got good use out of my Nikon D7000. Fifteen months wouldn't and shouldn't suffice for most people. But the amount of learning that I did with that camera is worth every penny. Which leads me to my best piece of advice as someone aspiring to become a better photographer...
Break your camera.
If you find yourself always scared about breaking your camera or even worse worrying about cosmetic issues, don't expect to learn much. If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone tell me that they weren't going to subject their baby to this situation or that, I'd be able to buy an entry level DSLR. Obviously, I should take better care of my equipment but the moment you start getting scared about damaging your precious camera is just another moment you missed.
The images in this post are the final three days of my Nikon D7000 being operational. He went out like a champ, surrounded by rock n roll during his final days. We shared a lot of great moments together, but it's just a tool. You should find that the real magic is in your mind and in your images.
If you find yourself suffering from camera deficiency syndrome, here are ten things you can do to cope.
1. Research a new purchase and think about it as shopping. Don’t dwell on the unexpected expenditure but rather have fun. And in the process, you’ll end up getting a camera that is most suited for you.
2. Get some prints and experiment with ways to hang them on your wall and plan an art show. (Use any profits to help buy a new camera!)
Side note on this: Tread lightly if taking this route and don't try to make others feel guilty for you. That's dumb.
3. Edit and organize your files that you haven’t quite kept up with.
4. Go hang out with some friends.
5. If you are still feeling bummed, have a funeral and thank the tool for it’s service. Make it into a joke.
6. Start a blog or write a new blog post.
7. Read these awesome free photography guides from Photoshelter
8. Physical exercise (for the mind, body and most importantly - spirit)
9. Re-organize and maintain your gear and READ their instruction manuals.
10. Get pumped up about the immediate inspiration that comes when you finally get a new camera and use that as a springboard to greater things.
And if by chance you wish to pursue any financial return from photography go get a composition book, Google “business plan for photographers” and write your first plan. It will have holes and it in hindsight, will end up creating a feeling of embarrassment but that’s how it gets done. And if you’ve started the plan, right now would be an opportune time to revisit it.
And by all means take the time to share any stories of how you have had to deal with the death of a camera. Talk about it. It helps.
I'm having a photography exhibit coming up on August 3 at the Garden Deli in West Columbia.
This was officially the final frame. Goodnight.
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