I don't think this one would surprise anyone in my family.
Or any of you who read my blog.
Or anyone who knows me at all.
Or, indeed, quite a few people who don't know me at all but who have seen this strange madwoman taking photographs of weird and wonderful things such as the sky, the pavement, her own shoes, her shopping on the conveyor belt, the dentist's shopfront, a road sign, a postbox, the salt cellar and pepper pot on her cafe table, etc, etc!
(What's the oddest photo you've taken in public, by the way? Mine has to be a toss-up between the aforementioned shoes (taken by putting the camera on the floor while sitting on a bench at Legoland Discovery Centre) and a lavender bush (sounds fairly innocent, but I was sitting on the pavement UNDER the lavender bush at the time...)
Anyway, I digress. The precious object in question is, of course, my beloved camera. I saved hard for it, putting aside birthday and Christmas money and any small amounts I could save week by week, and was so thrilled to eventually be able to order it :) I've taken several photography classes, in person and online, and while I still stay safely in Auto a lot of the time I am gradually learning more about the different manual settings and gaining the confidence to use them sometimes. I really enjoy photography as a hobby - I love to play around with different effects, try different things out, experiment with different angles; I look at photos in newspapers and magazines and if one strikes me in particular I try to figure out just why - and see if I could incorporate the idea into one of my own photos; I even find myself noticing how a shot has been framed or how the camera has been focused while watching a film or TV programme, and have taken inspiration from that, too.
Ironically, partly due to my injury (4 months ago today...), I'm no longer carrying my camera everywhere I go. And this is when I've started Project Life, and so want to have a camera handy! My mobile phone is with me all the time, however, and while its camera's quality isn't fantastic and I haven't yet figured out if it's even possible to zoom in at all, at last it means that I can take a snapshot of anything and everything that catches my eye. And that's excellent news!
Because, you see, much as I love Nikon for itself, with its satisfyingly clunky weight in my hands, its smooth zoom action, its colourful and comfortable strap, and its ability to take good quality photographs (not necessarily matched by my own ability to take good quality photographs, of course...!), my camera is precious to me because of the moments it captures. My memory is not so great. It's not that bad, but it certainly isn't capable of capturing and retaining those fleeting moments of our everyday lives, the subtle yet cumulatively significant changes in The Children as they grow up, the unexpected beauty of a shadow or a silhouette or a shared moment between friends or strangers. As I look back over the photographs of the last few years, the special occasion shots or everyday snaps taken as part of Project 365 or Project Life, so many memories flood back. However imperfect the image, it recalls the sounds, the tastes, the feelings that would otherwise be lost.
This is why I take photographs. And this is why my 'photograph-taking tool' is precious to me. Yes, I love my Nikon, and it brings me enjoyment even beyond the capture of memories, but it is the memories that matter the most. It is the memories that are truly precious.
PS Please do share your weird and wonderful photos-taken-in-public stories! I'm most sincerely interested :)
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