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camera envy

June 18, 2012

Last fall, before going to the Solomon Islands, I was camera shopping. We wanted a backup camera in case the Canon point-and-shoot I got in college ever gave out.

Several of my friends in the U.S. have become pretty good photographers. They take senior pictures, family portraits, and nature photos.  Some of them, like Tanna, even get paid. They have nice cameras, like this:


My friends have cameras like this.

I was looking for a nice camera too. In my ideal life, I experiment with camera settings and take pictures of the gourmet meals that I cook. I capture the emotion of a moment in pictures, and people are pleased with how my photos make they look.

We asked our (then-future) co-workers in the Solomons for camera advice. A few of them have fancy cameras. Others said that the humidity and dust damage cameras and recommended that we get point-and-shoots. Somewhere in there I realized that my ideal life is actually imaginary. Right now my life doesn’t have room for cameras with interchangeable lenses. So in December we bought another Canon point-and-shoot. This one is waterproof and shock-resistant, which seemed more appropriate for life in the tropics with one (now two) young children.


our new camera

When we went to the Solomons in January, I was still wishing for that ideal life, the life like my friends have, like I left in Illinois when we sold our house and went to grad school with an eye toward the mission field.

During our March visit to a village in the Solomons, I went on a canoe ride with one of the Choates and two Solomon Island ladies. We were going shellfish diving.

This was my view from the canoe:


our ride to the shellfish diving spot

It was about 85 degrees, but I literally–yes, literally–had goosebumps on my arms. I kept saying to myself things like, “This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Do these people know they live in one of the most beautiful places in the world?” We paddled 20 minutes and stopped canoeing where one of the ladies said there would be shellfish. It seemed to me to be a random spot in the middle of the ocean. It was about here:


For real.

One of the ladies found a lot of shellfish. I quit looking after ten minutes of finding none. I swam around for the next two hours, taking pictures of coral and fish. Sometimes I stopped for a breath and looked at the mountains and coconut palms.

a few of the tropical fish

There I was, in the South Pacific Ocean. I got there by rowing a handmade canoe. I was swimming with tropical fish so plentiful that I didn’t even aim my camera, I just held it by my side and clicked while I swam. And I had been dissatisfied with my camera and my life. That was ridiculously ungrateful.

My friends’ cameras are right for their lives.  My camera is right for my life. And it’s good.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2012 6:04 am

    Yes, we know we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world 🙂 And, yes, you have chosen very wisely, friend.. Both the camera and your life.

  2. Tammy Hodel permalink
    June 23, 2012 4:11 pm

    What a great post.

  3. Mom permalink
    June 24, 2012 2:59 pm

    Some realizations come slowly, emotion late
    following decision.
    I couldn’t see the fish pictures, but loved the others.

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