Posted by: GeekHiker | June 2, 2011

It’s Not Shiny, It’s Matte Black

This post is all about shopping.  No, wait, it’s all about the differences between men and women.  No, wait, it’s actually about how a guy’s mind works.  No, wait, it’s actually about awesome tools.  No, wait, it’s really, actually all about photography.  No, wait… you know what?  Just keep reading.

* * *

Shopping does not equal therapy.  Not for me.

“Ah, but GH,” you say, “All guys say that.”

Maybe all guys do, but that’s only what they say.  Whatever they may say, I know many a fella who, during times of stress, finds himself in the tool department at Home Depot, eying an $850 miter saw.  “No, honey,” he’ll say, “I didn’t buy that saw because it made me feel better after our fight and I had to sleep in the garage for two days.  I bought it because it comes with a stand AND a laser, and is exactly what I need to build that cabinet for your teacups you want for your birthday.  I don’t question your shoe purchases, don’t be questioning my tool purchases, woman!”  After which, naturally, two more days in the garage ensue… but of course, now he has a cool new miter saw to play with.

Point is, there are guys who do that sort of thing.  Bad day at the office = new ratchet set.  It’s a simple equation, but we’ll never admit to it.  We only purchased that ratchet set because we had a need for it.  It was totally logical.

Me, though? I’ve found that shopping usually does little to make me feel better when I’m down.  I can’t speak for women, of course (maybe that new pair of boots does turn your whole mood around for days), but whenever I’ve tried to buy myself something nice when I’m blue, the effect is temporary and fleeting.  Moreover, I’m kind of frugal about spending money, so whatever elation I might get from having new product so-and-so is offset by the money being spent.  Even when I’m out running errands and buying stuff I really do have a need for (irrespective of mood), I find I can only spend so much in a day before the brain says “no more!” and I head for home.

“TP be dammed, I’m not going to spend any more money today!”

(Don’t worry.  I’ll be well-stocked before any of you come to visit.  Really.)

* * *

In the same vein, I don’t really like to flaunt the things that I buy.  I kinda think that’s a corollary to shopping therapy.  After all, what’s the fun in new boots if she can’t show them off to the other girls, or the miter saw (with laser!) to impress the guys, right?

In some ways, I’m rather like my Dad: if I talk about the things I’ve bought, I have to validate that I bought them: how long I spent comparing products, the reasoning behind the purchase, etc.  I do it more for myself than anyone else and, now that I’m an adult, Dad and I do it when discussing our purchases with each other.

So look at this post however you will: that I’ve bought something to make myself feel good (maybe), that I bought something that I need (sorta), or that I’m justifying my purchase (most likely).  Whatever.  Hell, just for fun, I’ll trump all those and say the only reason I’m doing this post is just because people always ask me what equipment I use when I take photographs, so I’m gonna photo-geek-out here.

Check it out:

On the right is a Canon PowerShot D10.  This was actually a gift from my parents at Christmas. Pretty small in size but still with a respectable 12 megapixels, it’s also waterproof down to 30 feet and can handle some minor dropping.  This is the camera for those rainy/muddy hikes, kayak trips, etc.

On the left is something I’ve been saving for for a long time: my first (yes, first) digital SLR, the Canon 60D.  My last SLR was a film model, the Elan 7, bought almost exactly 10 years ago, but unused in some time.  Not that I didn’t love shooting film, but at $20+ for a single role of 36 exposures, it just isn’t worth the cost, the hassle of proccessing, etc.

The nice thing about the new body is that my old lenses will work on the new camera (that’s my 10-year-old 24-85 mm on the front, there), subject to the magnification/cropping of the APS-C sensor, of course.

What finally kicked me over the top to buy it?  I was photographing a waterfall a few weeks ago with the D10.  I set up the camera on a little tripod, tricked it into a slow exposure time to get the “flowing water” effect, and set up my framing.  As I precariously balanced myself on a log to get the frame right, I thought to myself “I miss this.  Taking the time to get a good picture vs. just a snapshot.”  And there it was: motivation.

Now, I’m not gonna promise that the pictures will get any better.  But it sure will be fun to take them.

Right after I get done reading the 300 page manual, that is…

* * *

I’ll even have an opportunity to test them both this weekend on a camping trip.

On which it’s supposed to rain Saturday and Sunday.

In California.

In June.

Which is weird.  I’m a native, so trust me on this one.

I’m guessing I’ll be using the little D10 more…

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Responses

  1. Wow, congrats on the new toy (and graduating to pro!)! *envy* I am expecting some killer waterfall shots! My prosumer camera can sort of do the flowing/silky effect too, but the pictures are definitely not optimal. SLR is definitely the way to go. Have a fantastic trip!

  2. The happiest I have ever seen my wife was when she found and bought a pair of shoes that made her feet look small and cute. That includes meeting me, all of our dating, getting married, all of our vacations, and everything else that has happened in the past 3 years. Shopping and finding the right thing will always equal therapy for women…

  3. That babe is gorgeous!! I would call it Tony. I have no idea why. And the little waterproof fella is so handy!

    Have fun playing!

  4. Whooo, that SLR is a beauty. Dang.

    Of course, you’ll now be required to post even more shots of your adventures—but not to show off, or anything. You know: to share.

  5. That camera is beautiful. I mean, it’s soo solid.

    I can’t wait to read about new adventures as you take your camera out on the town (and away from the smoggy lights!)

  6. I finally bought my first digital SLR earlier this year (Canon Rebel T2i) and I’ve loving it. Such a fun learning experience…it’s a blast to play with. Enjoy your new toy!

  7. Soooomebody’s on his way to becoming a professional photographer! I’m psyched you bought something cool to support the hobby you enjoy so much.

    Mr. W was actually a photography major and just bought a new fancy camera a couple of weeks ago. So far all we have are some pictures of the backyard and the cats. I’m sure you’ll do much better!

  8. Buying something to make oneself feel better is ridiculous. By the way, I hope you’re not feeling “guilty” about splurging money on that new toy… :)-

  9. SkyBlueStateOfMind – Well, not quite pro (those bodies are around $8k. Now that I’ve got the camera, I just need to slow myself down when taking pictures!

    SJ – I dunno. She was pretty happy when she discovered Hell Pizza…

    Narami – LOL – well, I don’t usually name my inanimate objects but, if I can remember, I’ll start calling it Tony in your honor. 🙂

    AbsurdBeats – More pictures? So much pressure!

    MissMcCracken – It’s actually kind of lightweight; for the 60D they dropped the metal body (I’d have to go to the 7D to get that).

    HunnerWoof – The T2i is a great camera (it uses the same sensor as the 60D). Glad you’re having a good time with it!

    Mel Heth – Professional? Hah!

    Gany – Of course I’m feeling guilty! I don’t spend money well…

  10. shiny enough 🙂 i still have my film SLR (gift from parents in 1999), and it’s been the mental block in my buying a digital one, even though i’ve not used that camera since 2004. maybe one day! have fun with your new toy

  11. anyone who uses shopping as therapy will never feel “better” in the long run. i hate shopping. if i could afford it, i would have a personal shopper to do all the work for me. as for your purchase – awesome. why try to analyze it? photography is a hobby, a passion, an art. good quality equiptment makes priceless photos and helps preserve memories. i am so glad i got my rebel, so i can only imagine how much better yours is 🙂

  12. Those photos came out really well. I think it’s worth the investment.

    I know of guys that after a break up with a girlfriend, they go out and buy new HD TVs. Some new electronic gadget.

    You’ll be over the money guilt after a while.


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