My First Camera

I was a child when I had my first exposure to a camera. A mystery camera with imaginary film, I remember spinning dials and snapping the shutter release button as fast as my little fingers could go. Eventually the grownups would tire of me and take the big boy toy away. If you knew me you would take it away too….I had a tendency to either eat things or break things. The camera could have suffered either fate.

In my teen years I may have gotten into a few things I shouldn’t have, needless to say my memory is fuzzy as to when I got my hands on my first camera.  I do remember taking some pictures and developing the rare roll of film and being lucky if I got any pictures back that turned out. I even have this faint memory of having a bulky 1 megapixel digital camera…but its a very faint memory and could just as easily be an acid flashback. My memory improves around 1996 when I recall using disposable cameras to take pictures of lightning strike trees and abandoned campfires. I had no desire to take pictures at that time. I aimed the cardboard box with film in it, pressed the button, and moved on to the next task.

I spent many years travelling around Canada. I saw some amazing landscapes, met interesting people, and had some wonderful experiences. These things were worth remembering. Which brings me to my first camera. A Canon SD300 digital elph. I call it my first camera because I took my first photograph with it. I loved that camera. It  travelled across Canada with me. Ontario on three occasions, Quebec twice, Manitoba, and all across British Columbia. That camera has seen and done things I can’t even mention in public.

One of my favourite memories of my camera was a little project I named “WarGames”.  A still motion mini video. I took over 400 single photos of plastic green army men and created a battle scene in a desktop sandpit. I edited in some sound effects, metallica’s ‘One’ and some monty python dialogue in the background to create a 1 minute 30 second movie. Just to see if I could do it. It was hilarious….it would still be with us if the hosting website hadn’t gone under. I may have to re-make it because it truly was ‘epic’.

Even though I am not a professional photographer, don’t claim to be nor hope to become one, I am quite fond of my things. In fact some may say, my wife in particular, that I can a bit of an asshole about that. Whats mine is mine and whats yours is yours. I did, after all, spend the majority of my youth destroying things. I never was a big fan of letting other people use certain things of mine. My camera was one of those things. Yes it had a dented lens, a cracked body, and damaged LCD, but it was mine.

Which brings us to the Halloween party a few short years ago. Just a few friends. Maybe I should say guests because I only considered one of them to be a friend. So here we are with a house full of Halloween decorations, tables full of food, and a handful of magic mushrooms. Yes those ones. We had a great time.  We ate, drank, and laughed our asses off. The whole time I was snapping pictures, serving my guests, and refusing to let anyone touch my camera. Apparently I had good reason to be such an asshole about people touching my things. It seems one of our guests, who arrived with an ex-neighbor, decided to take my camera. The broken camera with a dead battery. Six people in the house and my beloved camera gets stolen. It’s a pity I can’t share with you images of my wife and I rocking out Spock and Lieutenant Uhuru costumes.

It’s never fun to realize that you have ended a relationship with someone or something before you are ready. This was one of those times, and in fact one of the few times I have ever felt this way about an object. I am still bitter about that incident. But I’m a big boy now and as such can afford big boy toys. The loss of my camera left me without, and allowed me to justify getting my first DSLR. A Canon D500.  For the record, I won’t be throwing Halloween parties anytime soon.

Troy Alan White.


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