THE REAL CAMERA OBSCURA

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Please forgive the narrative license taken with this title – for although I will not be specifically writing about the actual optical device that projects images onto a screen, I will be talking about a new CAMERA  and BEING IN THE DARK.  Bear with me and I hope you will see how truly apt this title is.

I have had a camera in my hand almost since birth as my dad was in the photography business. In the old days, one had to perfect the art of inserting at first, rolls, then eventually cassettes of film into the back of the camera.  It was a tricky process, as the film had punch holes on either side that had to be carefully  placed over the camera sprockets. If the holes were not aligned properly the sprockets would not latch on, and the film could not be forwarded.  Those of you who have been reading my blog may remember my tale of camera loading woes during my trip to Egypt.

In addition, each roll had a small maximum amount of shots take could be taken 12, 24 or 36 pictures per roll was the norm. Technology has come far since then and the latest digital cameras have all sorts of marvelous accoutrements without the cumbersome loading process – taking gigabytes (literally thousands upon thousands depending on your memory card’s capacity) of stills, movies, panoramas, closeups, stop-action, editing in-camera  and so on – and I am not even touching upon how you can edit via  any of the plethora of Photoshop apps at our disposal.  Easy-Peasy!

I booked my upcoming December trip to Iceland with the hope of being able to capture the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in all its glory during the peak of its present 11-year cycle. To that end, I did an extensive multi-media search looking for that one camera that would give me perfect shots while compact enough so it  wouldn’t  require its own suitcase. Winnowing through potential candidates I came upon a camera that not only would give me great night pics but also included WIFI!!

Up to now when on a trip I not only take pictures with a camera but also add in a few pics on my iPhone specifically so I could share them via various social sites.   After all, many of my friends have remarked how much they are enjoying my retirement so any way I can enhance my and therefore their experience is a boon.

WIFI INCLUDED!  What does that mean?  Built-in WIFI technology allows the user to wirelessly transfer images to smartphone, tablet,  desktop computer as well as networking social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. I am deliriously excited. Of course there is some  setup involved to pair all my devices. No problem – as discussed previously I am an avowed geek who loves figuring out how things work.    Surely there would be no problem in decoding the camera’s manual. I haven’t had any issues with following directions in putting together furniture, child’s toys, backyard barbecues – I’ve even rewired lamps and other electrical appliances.  With all my experience with cameras this should be a snap, right?

First I have to familiarize myself with the camera’s collection of buttons, dials, switches and levers.  While there is a quickstart pamphlet included in the camera box, the actual 200+ page manual is available for download online – a very cost effective system that has been adopted for most devices, big and small. Download completed, lets start the perusal.

 

CAMERA FRONT IMG_0802 Ok –  lens, shutter button, power button, flash, zoom lever, strap mount (more on that one later) – this is standard stuff  so let’s move on.

CAMERA BACK

IMG_0796 Lots of gizmos here – screen, viewfinder, microphone, movie button, , functions set dial, terminals for AV, HDMI, DIGITAL,  exposure compensation dial and a few vague ones:  Control dial ( a one stop dial for switching among items, images) Indicator (? – have to figure that one out) and … my beloved WIFI antenna. I want to get that set up immediately before moving on to explore  the mechanics of all these widgets. The Table of Contents tells me that the WIFI setup and functions can be found on pages 124 – 148.

First,

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH WIFI?

– Connect to Web Services – Images can be sent to social sites

– Connect to Smartphone

– Connect to a Computer

– Connect to a Printer

– Connect to another Camera – this is interesting but of course it has to be same brand.  At this point not priority.

Then I see it – a circled ! that warns me that I need to read WIFI Precautions before going WIFI live.

IMG_0803 Here is where it starts to go dark.  I am on page 125 but am being told it is imperative to go to pages 210 and 211.  There is clearly a lot of room left on the page I am reading to include  this information but okay, I will look at it right after I set up the connections.  Onto the next page:

IMG_0798 Now we are making progress. Wait –  it says before I can use WIFI I have to register a nickname for the camera .  That’s cute but I get it-  this is the way the camera will get recognized by my various appliances.  So I go to the noted page 131, but that’s not the page for instructions for registration – need to go back to 128.

IMG_0799 I get the camera authenticated ( how would I have known to go to this website unless I had this camera – getting a little peeved but still following through) .  But now I have to access the WIFI menu – which is on page 133  and I am starting to experience either deja vu or the beginnings of vertigo.

WHAT????????  This page shows configurations for WINDOWS ONLY – I have a MAC!  Back to the registration page and finally access the correct info to set up my MAC by using my personal wireless network.  This involves knowledge of access points (SSID/ESSID or more simply “network name.”  encryption keys, and network authentication WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK A  and so on). A non-geek at this point would have started screaming, but I am determined (stubbornness another of my qualities) and Whew at least one done.

Now on to my iPhone and iPad. Alas –  before you can register you actually have to install a specific app on the iPhone and iPad.  This is a minor setback and quickly accomplished and both devices are ready for pairing:

IMG_0800 I am now so happy to be a geek that is not terrified by the slew  of techy terms on this page and to see  there is no command to view another page – so I think without further ado I will be able to connect all to the camera .  HOWEVER, before I can do that I must take a picture with the camera for testing.  Fortunately I had already charged up the battery and inserted a memory card into my camera before I commenced this project so for once I am ahead of the game.  Using my favorite model, I soon confirmed that the connections were all completed :

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Looking back now you can understand why I felt the manual created a sense of being in the dark.  Why didn’t the instructions go from point A to point B rather than send me back and forth like a ping-pong ball? No matter – I have prevailed and now will start playing with my new toy so I can learn all of its mysteries before my next trip.

ADDENDUM – Just to show that humility is also part of my makeup – let’s return for a moment to the camera strap and its camera connection.  With all my techy prowess I have to admit – it took me almost 15 minutes to figure out how to get the strap through the strap mount.  I will suck this up as a character building moment.

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