Lost Then Found on Second Avenue

I am reposting this post from 2009. It is good to remember in 2020 that my creativity is not dependent on other people liking what I do or brands of devices or cameras or paints. Creativity wakes up with me every morning and asks a 75-year-old in quarantine during a pandemic, “What shall we do today?”  Today, I am going to be kind by trying to tell the truth even though people aren’t crazy about this part of me. Just sayin’.

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I lost my “good camera” in NYC this weekend (Good equals $2500) and then found it six hours later.

In between 5 AM when I woke up and realized it was gone and 11:40AM when the shop I’d been in the day before called to say it was there in the dressing room, I did the only thing that calmed me down.

I took photos with my point and shoot camera that fits in my palm like a slippery credit card.

It can’t do 75% of what the other camera and my lenses can do so I only use it for situations where I need portability more than choices.

I took pictures out the bedroom window of the street below:  Second Avenue and East 82nd Street

I found new settings for this camera that I’d never used before because the pit in my stomach was coding intermittently, “This is going to be your “good” camera from now on, dunderhead.”

I heard Tim Gunn’s voice of Thursday night’s first episode of the long-delayed fifth season, “Project Runway” saying…..(and all of you PR fans know what I’m going to say)…..”Make it work, Pat.  Just make it work.”

Finger snap snap snap.

(Yes, I watch it!  And, I don’t want to hear one word about it either!!  I’ve loved it from the beginning.)

I tried harder to photograph Second Avenue than I’ve tried with almost any subject of recent memory.

I shot it with all the different white balances available on the camera:  daylight, tungsten, bulb, cloudy, daylight.  Shot the same shot with three different exposures and all those white balance choices.    I kept shooting and in the process calmed down. Was it a masterpiece? No, but it just trying that provided the peace.

By the time my cousin got up and came in with coffee, I calmly told her the situation.  The look of horror on her face reflected mine an hour earlier when I’d realized the loss.

“An hour had gone by along with forty shots of Second Avenue from point and shoot camera before I realized it was only a camera I’d lost, not my creativity.”

But, that high falutin’ realization did not prevent me from breaking into tears and a happy dance when the store called to say, “We have your camera!”

I am looking at this “Point and Shoot” with a newfound respect, I can tell you that.

Lost then Found and since I had bought a pair of pajamas in the store, they almost became a 2500 dollar pair of pajamas. 

Instead, Miss Dunderhead now has two old “good” cameras.

One as slippery as an eel.

©Pat Coakley 2009

PHOTOGRAPHS CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION

Slice of Deep Thought Pie

An hour & forty shots of Second Avenue and the first sips of coffee later, I’d realized it was only a camera I’d lost, not my creativity.

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  • Whew! That’s an honest clerk. And more than a few honest shoppers, methinks. Glad you got it back.

    As for point-and-shoots, that’s what we have, and we are content . . .

  • Holy Gotham Patman ( or woman !)
    That shot is the x-ray essence of NYC at night.
    If it’s a poor workman who blames his tool, it’s the true artist who can create with a Brownie.

    Many years ago, while on a business trip to Paris, my purse was swiped from under the table at an outdoor cafe. Everything was in it: camera, passport, ID, money, airline ticket ( sorry but I think I win the double Dunderhead award for carrying it all ).

    That feeling of collapsing into yourself as your juggle with the ” it’s only stuff ” rationale, and the dread of ” WTF am I going to do NOW”????
    The next day, the purse was recovered minus the cash- I cared not a whit, and I felt that same elation and giddiness and thankfulness that you’ve written about.

    So what have we learned? Check, double check, triple check, look behind you, around you, and don’t think for one minute that you’re not an artist if you don’t have the best equipment. But that really would have sucked.

    I am so glad this had a redemption for an ending and await the body of photos from NY that I know are coming.

    • Oh, Bon Bon, I’m so glad you like this shot! You are a New Yorker after all so know this territory very very well. And, I say with utter sympathy here…I think you do deserve the double Dunderhead award for your Parisan loss! Ouch! Also, deserve the wordsmith award for “collapsing into yourself” which is the perfect description of the immediate black hole of thin rationales.

  • I lost mine when I left it in a bathroom on Ellis Island. I was not as lucky as you with having it returned. However, I can imagine that a worthy immigant needed it to record their new life here in the wonderful US of A. At least that is the story I tried to give Bob when I had to disclose my blunder.

    • Single for a reason doesn’t have to disclose my blunders to anyone but me. And, it still is embarrassing but at least no one is glaring at me. Just a point of history….Ellis Island stopped processing immigrants, Hollis, quite a few decades ago. Bob must have listened to your worthy immigrant story with rolling as well as glaring eyes!! You are a goof!

  • Lucky for you that you got your camera back. How would our weekly challenge go if you only had a point and shoot?

    I lost a DSLR once. It was sad, but I bought a new better one. Then, I got insurance on the new camera. That was a smart move because that second DSLR got stolen out of my car. The insurance paid for everything — $4200 worth of equipment replaced without a question asked.

    • You asked, “How would our weekly challenge go if you only had a point and shoot?” as if I’d be disadvantaged. Hello? Dear Dave, did you read the post? I discovered something as a result of my apparent “loss” of expensive glass and camera, I’d still learn. I’d still be creative. I’d still find a way to take photographs of my world. In other words, I’d still love to do what I do and I’d find a way to do it I’d enjoy the challenge and know that if we looked at the same person on the same day on the same street from the same angle with a point and shoot camera we’d come away with two utterly different photographs. We are different sets of eyes and experiences– before the glass, no matter what the cost– comes to our eye. The magic, (whatever we can generate from time to time) begins there. So, once again, your alpha male thing needs to chill out and enjoy whatever images come your way. Trust me, I would think you just as formidable with a point and shoot as with your 4500 garbunza.

      If our challenge were flower photography? I’d be in trouble because I don’t like any more than 20% of the image in focus. Point and Shoots have this nasty habit of always being in focus– unless I shake the camera on purpose, which I have occasionally done by the way.

      But, insurance? Hey! Now, THAT is a good idea!!! Thanks.

  • To get off the lost camera story for a minute (glad you got it back!)… I’ve never liked the “find edges” kind of images much, but this one with the moving vehicles in it is fabulous! That and the subtle bit of color here and there in the buildings adds so much. As for cameras, I never like to carry one I can afford to lose (or drop in the water).

    • Don, your never liking “find edges” streak is still in intact. This is not that filter although I can see why you thought it was. Honest to God, I cannot remember exactly but I know it was about 7 images with different blending modes for each and I think” Difference” on one made the image pop for me.

      But, perhaps, that falls into the broad “Find Edges” category? Anyway, am so glad you liked it! Your motto is a good one!

  • however it was achieved it is exquisite, the photo. it is like the circuitboard hidden under the console always enveloped in velvet indigo ink while the surges create blinking and tracing as the light electrons move (not scientifically correct i’m sure). its really fun to see. how nice to be in NY!

  • wow… I don’t know what I would have done without my camera… sheesh. I have only had the thing since November.. and I felt the panic rise in my throat just thinking about being without it now as I read your story. Thank God you got it back. Good Karma for you Pat and all of the goodness you put out in the world.

  • Oh, and who could slam you for loving Project Runway? I don’t have television, but I love it, too! I have to get it from Netflix well after the fact, but I love it all the same.