Life Without A Camera? Unthinkable!

My Camera and I

My camera and I try to shoot a photo of a dog in a car.
My camera and I try to shoot a photo of a dog in a car. | Source

My Camera is More Important Than I Thought

Wednesday Night

I discovered I had camera problems when my trusty camera shut down after only 17 photos and less than ten minutes of videos. I'd charged it the night before after a long shooting session, so this should not have happened. But I tend to be an optimist and I put it on the charger again that night. It charged for a couple of minutes and the charging light went out.

This was not a good time for this to happen. I had planned a photo shoot trip for the next day. I needed a working camera, so I pulled out three other cameras I have as back-ups, none of which have been used much because I like this camera so much better. None of them would charge either. I bought a new battery for my best camera, and thought I was OK. But the new battery just stopped charging after less than two hours, and it's supposed to charge for four hours. This instruction said not to use this battery until it's fully charged.

So there I was with a photo shoot planned for the next day -- another trip to Avila Beach for more pictures, and all I had that worked is a video camera that works with regular AA batteries. My camera is a Nikon Coollpix S8200 that I had bought at Costco a couple of months before. I didn't know whether the camera was the cuprit, the battery (off brand, because that's all I could get locally), or the charger that came with the camera. The original Nikon battery that came with the camera should have lasted longer, I believe, even though I use the camera a lot. I emailed tech support at Nikon, but they did not get back to me in the promised 24 hours.

The Festival of the Arts was scheduled for the weekend and people were relying on me to take pictures of it to give them some publicity. A new camera was not budgeted yet. I felt camera-less. It felt like part of me was missing. The Festival would start in two days.

Back to Avila Beach with My Flip Camcorder

What I Did to Try to Take Pictures Today

Thursday Night

First I loaded any camera in my possession that appeared to work and two that didn't into my car to take with me. I was still hoping to get back to the rest of Avila Beach in the afternoon. After getting my car serviced in San Luis Obispo, I drove over to Costco, where I had bought my CoolPix S8200, and explained my predicament to the camera specialist there. He suggested I buy another camera to use this weekend which could be returned within 90 days, giving me time to get mine repaired. He had suggested a cheap one that still used AA batteries, very much like the one I can't find, but it doesn't take the same quality pictures. Even my Olympia Stylus 840 takes better pictures, and it appeared to be working.

I was also stumped as to how to get pictures I might take with my phone onto my computer, so I was sold a microSDHC card with an adaptor and I put it into my phone. And I did have my Flip Camcorder, an old one, which I can pluck some still shots from. I decided to use those and the Olympia Stylus to take pictures at the beach.

The results of my efforts were not quite what I hoped for. My Flip took adequate video shots, as you can see to the right. But I wasn't happy with any of the snapshots I could get from them. At least, though, I do have some video. I was fairly happy with the Stylus 840 pictures, but only had a 5x zoom instead of the 14x I'm used to with my CoolPix S8200. I especially missed that zoom when I was photographing the birds. I have put a few of the Stylus pictures below. My phone was a complete disappointment. The pictures I took must have gone to the phone's memory rather than to my microSDHC card, so I still don't know what I did wrong. I made a mental note to get help from Verizon, since the information I needed was not in the manual.

Avila Beach via Olympia Stylus 840

People are enjoying the sun and surf at Avila Beach, CA. The pier is in the distance.
People are enjoying the sun and surf at Avila Beach, CA. The pier is in the distance. | Source
Here I used the 5x zoom to take this picture of the Custom House Restaurant from the pier.
Here I used the 5x zoom to take this picture of the Custom House Restaurant from the pier. | Source
I used the zoom again from the pier to get this shot of the residential area behind the beach.
I used the zoom again from the pier to get this shot of the residential area behind the beach. | Source
I took this shot from where I was parked along the street.
I took this shot from where I was parked along the street. | Source

Dressed to Photograph the Festival

Not exactly high fashion, but it held all four cameras, my ID, my water, and all the brochures and business cards I collected. Sometimes function beats fashion.
Not exactly high fashion, but it held all four cameras, my ID, my water, and all the brochures and business cards I collected. Sometimes function beats fashion. | Source

Getting Ready to Photograph the Festival of the Arts

While I was on the pier taking pictures, my phone rang. My husband, who was returning from Ventura and was almost to Santa Maria, wanted to meet me for a very late lunch around 4 in San Luis Obispo. That gave me another twenty minutes to shoot pictures. By the end of that twenty minutes, the Flip's batteries were dead, since I hadn't put in fresh ones. I could have changed them, but didn't seem worth it so late in the day. I thought the Stylus battery had also died, and I wasn't sure I'd get home with any pictures. I was wrong. I just hadn't used the camera in so long that I'd forgotten how it worked. Or maybe it did die in the end.

After lunch I went back to Costco to do my grocery shopping and get a new camera -- even if it might be a loaner. I decided on a Nikon CoolPix S9300. Not only does it have more zoom than the S8200, but it also has GPS and it uses the same battery, charger, and USB cable as the S8200. I figured that since my new battery I bought for the S8200 last night would not fully charge, I'd try charging it again with the brand new charger and USB cable after I had charged the new camera and determined everything worked. The S8200 charged for only about an hour instead of the four hours it was supposed to, and it did not charge enough to operate the camera. That would seem to indicate the problem is in the camera itself rather than the battery, the charger, or the USB cord. I made a mental note to call the Costco tech people to see what comes next. Meanwhile, I would have an adequate camera for the Festival of the Arts for the weekend and I'd bring the Olympus Stylus along, which I had just charged , as a back up. I decided to also take the Flip in case I needed more video than I wanted to do on the CoolPix S9300.

Meanwhile, I still would have to troubleshoot the Olympus VR-310. I hadn't found a new battery for that one anywhere yet. Perhaps all it needed to charge properly is the new battery. I don't know if used it much during this year I've had it.

What I've learned from this whole experience is how lost I feel without a working camera attached to me. I take my camera to the garden, and when I go anywhere in the car -- just in case. I don't always use it, but I've been without it too often when I've run into situations and subjects I've wanted to photograph, and I had to go away with no pictures or video.

I've also learned not to take a working camera for granted. I've learned I should be using all cameras at least every couple of weeks just to know if they are still working and so the batteries stay in good shape. I don't ever want to be stuck like this again if a little preparation will prevent it. Meanwhile, although I really can't afford to buy a new camera, I know it will be very hard for me to return the Nikon CoolPix S9300 I bought today, before the three-month trial is over. I'm hoping business will pick up enough in June so that I will be able to afford it.

Below is a picture I took at last year's Festival of the Arts, 2011, with the best camera I had at the time, a Canon PowerShot A1100 IS. I wish I'd been able to find it this morning, since it uses AA batteries that don't need recharging. I never had problems with it. It just didn't have all the features I wanted. I used it for a couple of years.

Paso Robles Festival of the Arts, 2011

The Plein Air Quick Draw competition is an annual event at the Paso Robles Festival of the Arts. I took this picture last year, 2011, with my Canon PowerShot A1100 IS
The Plein Air Quick Draw competition is an annual event at the Paso Robles Festival of the Arts. I took this picture last year, 2011, with my Canon PowerShot A1100 IS | Source

Saturday Night, May 26, 2012

The main event in the park at the 2012 Festival of the Arts is now over. It was a perfect day until the wind kicked up about 4:30 as I was leaving. I found new artists I was excited about, and only had one major camera problem -- with the new Nikon I bought to replace the old one. Good thing its charger worked so that I was able to charge the old Nikon with it because the major problem was with the new Nikon S9300. I turned it on to take a picture to test it. It took the picture, but then the camera wouldn't turn off. I asked a few other photographers to see if they knew what I might be doing wrong, but no one could turn it off. I finally had a friend at Studios on the Park put it away, still with lens extended, for safe-keeping, since I couldn't carry it in my pocket that way.

Afternote: I returned the S9300 to Costco later on and exchanged it for one that is still working nine months later. I still prefer the Nikon S8200, but want to make sure I have an extra camera and two chargers. I returned the charger that had malfunctioned to Nikon. They said there was nothing wrong with it and that they'd need the whole camera to find the problem. I tried to charge the camera with the charger they sent back and it had decided to work. I didn't send my camera to them. I now have two cameras and two chargers. So I feel prepared for future malfunctions at inconvenient times.

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Comments 12 comments

carlarmes profile image

carlarmes 4 years ago from Bournemouth, England

Photography is a very addictive habit and very satisfying, it is a habit I am trying to get my children into a the moment, Hubpages seems a great place to share them with the addition of some writing.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

carlarmes, it has gotten me to the place where I tend to see things in terms of what sort of picture possibilities they present. Thanks for reading and commenting.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Your pictures are beautiful. When it comes to technology, I am a dunce, including cameras but i'm working on it. Thank's for sharing your story...


Anne Harrison profile image

Anne Harrison 4 years ago from Australia

AS someone who is just getting back into photography after a break of too many years, your words are great advice. And yes, I will always have a camera with me now. Voted up, Cheers, Anne


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thanks, always exploring. It appears now that it was the charger, since my camera did charge when I used the new charger and I was able to use up the memory before the battery died today.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thanks for coming by to read and comment, Anne. I'm definitely a hobbyist photographer, and just use a point and shoot with a few adjustments. I'm afraid I don't have the knowledge or patience to learn to be a pro. I had better cameras and knew a bit more when I shot with film, but when we suddenly had an empty nest forever I lost all motivation to take pictures. Only when I started to write did I see the need again, and now I take pictures of everything I might ever want to write about when the opportunity presents itself. Even common objects like doorknobs have been missing when I needed them, so I often take pictures of everyday things. I was even playing with the web cam a couple of weeks ago to try to make faces that expressed different emotions -- just in case -- but the pictures were terrible. I just don't have a good face for this lighting.


Curiad profile image

Curiad 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

This is a well written hub with great photographs. Well done.I have always loved photography. I should get out and take more photos than I do but right now all I have is a little point and shoot Nikon. Some day I will have another good Camera.

Voted Up!


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Curiad, my best camera is a point and shoot Nikon. I managed to get the battery charged today by using the charger with the new Nikon. On my photo shoot today I was glad I wasn't depending on the new one. I took four cameras with me. When I turned on the new one, I took just one picture. When I tried to turn the new Nikon off, it wouldn't turn off. I finally had to walk a block to leave the camera for safe-keeping with a friend in a close-by art studio because I couldn't get it into the case and my pocket with the lens extended. I'll be returning it next week or so. Thanks for your kind words. And by the way, I talked to a professional photographer today who invited me to join a local photography group. He said many of the members there only have digital point and shoot cameras. I'm very tempted to join.


IsadorasThought profile image

IsadorasThought 4 years ago

Hah - agreed - no life without camera! And you are very good at photography! I am very interested to see more.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Isadoras, fear not. I got enough pictures and shot enough video yesterday to illustrate several art and nature hubs. I just hope I have time to start writing them soon. It takes a lot of time to process the videos. Thanks for stopping by.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

What a wonderful Hub and such gorgeous pictures. Brightened my evening. :)


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Theresa, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I finally got my charger back today from Nikon and they say there was nothing wrong with it and I should now send in the battery and the cable. No way! I tried the charger they sent me back, and so far it appears to be working with the old cable. Makes me wonder.

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