Divorce, Cameras, and Redemption

When the ex and I divorced, it had been a long time coming.  And although there were some explosive fights, once the decision had been made and the papers filed, we were fairly civil and business-like, at least when it came to the process.  OK, this wasn’t always the case, but it was when we came to the division of assets, primarily because we didn’t have much.  I remember going through our DVDs and thinking how ridiculous it was to be sorting them by title, and that they would actually be listed that way in the papers.

But there was something he got in the settlement that I always regretted.  My grandpa on my father’s side loved to take pictures (although his portraits were always off-center), and he had a small collection of brownie cameras.  We had these displayed in our house, and I believe they were given to the ex one holiday by my parents.  Of course, when it came to dividing things up, he took them, almost greedily, probably assuming they were worth some money.  And of course, they were probably promptly sold to a pawn shop.

I don’t have much that belonged to my grandpa.  Pictures, yes, but belongings, no.  I have always felt that those cameras should have stayed with me, especially as I have become more and more of an amateur photographer myself.


Flip forward to this weekend.  The Man, The Boy and I stopped at the flea mall, which is mostly junk, with a few unusual items to look at.  We came across a table where the old man had some interesting stuff for sale.  The Boy noticed the cardboard cigarette ads claiming that Camels would give you “Healthy Nerves!”


“They’re lying!!”  The Boy giggled.  “Cigarettes are NOT healthy!”

The Man noticed an old looking, leather covered box, and engaged the old man in conversation about it.  He explained it was a camera with glass plates.  I didn’t take much notice, but when the old man said he wanted $100 for it, I tuned out.  Later that night, The Man mentioned the camera again, and we started looking online to see if we could find it or something like it.  I didn’t think we had even seen the lens on it, and started to get curious.  I did a little online research, and we decided to go back the next day.

When we returned, his asking price had dropped to $85, and thanks to my groundwork, I now knew how to open it, to see the lens.  And oh, when we opened it up, I fell in love.  It was in great shape, and I also learned in my investigations that they were popular in the 1890s, and early 1900s, coinciding with the birth of my grandpa, the one whose cameras I no longer had…  It all made sense in a rather illogical way.  We negotiated him down a bit, and I got my prize.  Now that I knew the brand name, and model number, I was able to explore a bit more online and realized we got a great deal, but even more importantly, I was able to toss out the regret I’ve lived with for five years.  I know my grandpa would appreciate my find as much as I do.

Ray No.1


I Got (Some) Skills

Every once in a while, I will flip through the Groupon offerings and find one that seems like a great deal, and I will jump on it.  I have rarely been disappointed.  One of the ones I have been enjoying recently is an online photography class.

After I got divorced, one of the things I treated myself to was a decent camera.  It’s not quite a DSLR, but it takes a really nice photo.  And since I have had that camera, I have taken a few really great shots.  I know I’ll never be a professional, but I have picked up a little hobby, and I enjoy taking pictures a lot.

When this groupon came around, it was advertised as a way to get to know the ins and outs of your camera a little more, to shoot more than just on the automatic settings.  And it sounded like a small time commitment to learn some more skills.  Lifelong learner that I am, I knew it would be fun.

And it is.  It’s only a four week class.  The past two Mondays, I have come home and taken the weekly “class” which consists of videos and worksheets and a little quiz.  Then at some point during the week, I take what I have learned and take some shots, one of which I will choose to upload for my “homework assignment” for the week. The instructor gets back to us with feedback by the following Wednesday through the comment sections on the photo, and we can see others’ photos, as well, learning about which settings they are using to take their fantastic shots.

It’s a little scary to go off automatic, and see what comes out, but it’s so much more rewarding, because the composition of the shot is all you, all of your skills on display.  There’s a metaphor for life if I’ve ever heard one…

Here are my two homework assignments, so far:


shutter speed

white balance

white balance