An ode to my first professional camera, upon its demise:
You were a long time in coming to me, the journey scattered with high school photo contests and college poli-sci text books. Your cousins the Pentax K-1000 and the Nikon D80 prepared me for the joy that was your whistles and bells, for the delight I found in your higher ISO capabilities and dual memory card slots.
I can’t say I shot my first wedding with you, but I can say I shot my first paid wedding with you. With you, I cut my proverbial teeth, learning the beauty of real food instead of that milky substance I’d been dabbling with before. With you, I explored Prime lenses and honed my Manual skills and, basically, became a photographer.
I haven’t spent time with you in many years; my upgrade to the full frame capabilites of the D700 and the D800 benched you and turned you into the back-up-to-the-backup camera.
In fact, you almost stayed home this weekend. I almost didn’t take you. I almost took the D800 instead. But, in retrospect,that last minute switch was a God-ordained moment of wisdom.
Watching you free fall down that cliff was one of the oddest moments of my life. The only thing worse than watching you bounce from root to rock to rock to creek would’ve been watching a child do the same. It was over in blink, but time slowed while it happened. With each bounce, I remembered a favorite photo we’d created together. With that final splash, I watched your carcass of electronics slip from life into death.
I tried to save you, really I did. At my own peril, I scampered down the moss-covered rocks in hopes that the plastic bag had kept you dry. I stepped into that knee-deep pool of mountain water, plunged my arm into its frigidity, and pulled out the remains of my dream-chaser and hope-builder and art-maker: you.
You are so much more than dollar signs to me, but knowing that you aren’t in my current work-a-day arsenal is a consolation beyond compare. Your lens was one of my favorites, but wasn’t one of the new ones I bought last week. You are both fully insured and are not integral to next weekend’s photo shoot. In my loss, I am grateful.
You enjoyed your last moments in the greatest adventure of the summer, and for that we can be proud.
Goodbye, my D300s.