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I Am More Than A Camera

Eva Wu

The following piece was written by Peter Croal - a longtime Students on Ice educator - who generously donated his much-loved Nikon camera to North in Focus. It will be used as a tool for teaching by the NIF team members, and a tool for storytelling by our workshop participants.

I may be just a bunch of plastic, glass and electronics, but I am really a time machine. Sure the Earth is 5 billion years old, but when you take a picture with me, you are stopping time forever. With that one click of the shutter you have sliced up those 5 billion years into a blink of time that can never be changed. Time will move on, but that image has been frozen in time that will last for millions of years and beyond. Powerful stuff! 

I remember when my first owner bought me. This was in Seoul, South Korea, over 10 years ago. He came into the store, and I was wondering if I would be the one camera he would select. After all, I was on a shelf with hundreds of other cameras. He looked at so many cameras since there was so much to chose from, but after about an hour of looking, he picked me! I am Nikon D80! Although I cannot speak, I can see. And I saw that my new owner was someone who was curious, someone who wanted to view the world in a different way. I was going to be the one to help him do this.

A camera does not just take pictures. No way! A camera, especially me, helps the user see the world in a different way. As I said before, I can stop time. I can show you what a fast moving gull looks like in flight that your own eyes can’t. I can show you colours at a sunset or sunrise that are breathtaking. Or I can show you expressions on your family and friends faces that happen too quickly to see with your eyes. I have the power to transform the emotions and feelings of all who see the pictures taken by you and me. We are now a team. If you take the time to explore your subject, and try to find an angle, pose or composition that will make people go “WOW”, I will do that for you…again and again. And, if you don't like the picture you have taken, you can just delete it and try again, and it won’t cost a penny!

With my last owner, we travelled together all over the world. We must have been to 30 countries in the last 10 years. It has been a wonderful life for me. We saw cheetahs in Namibia, leopards in Columbia and blue whales in Mexico. But I bet the most exciting times I was used by my last owner was in the Arctic!! He must have taken hundreds of pictures of amazing wildlife, people and landscapes in Nunavut and Greenland. And the icebergs were incredible. Each iceberg, like you, is unique and special. I helped him capture the subtle colours and patterns in the icebergs many, many times. He could not get enough pictures of icebergs! And I do understand why. You see, icebergs, like you humans, are temporary. You are on the planet for a short time and he wanted to make sure that he stopped time to record the beauty of the icebergs and the Inuit that live near them.

Oh yes, I am more than a camera. I am a time machine and also a tool to help you see the world and the fabulous Arctic and her people in ways that are just not possible with your own eyes. I will miss my last owner. He was kind to me and made sure I was kept clean, dry and not handled too roughly. I am a bit delicate you know! But I know that he learned a lot about this amazing planet from having me in his life for so many years.

And now you own me!! I am so happy to meet you. I know am called Nikon D80, but since we are friends, you can call me Nikky. I will be your trusted companion for as long as you want me to. I will help you see the Arctic and the world in ways that you thought were not possible. And believe it or not, because you and I are now a team, we will make many new friends wherever we go, because, people love having their picture taken and looking at great pictures of their home, family and friends.

So what do you say partner? Shall we start exploring the Arctic together? Shall we start seeing things in ways that will amaze you and me? Lets get clicking!! I can’t wait to start working with you and having years of fun, adventure and discovery.

Your new friend,