More On Photos

“A photo that makes you angry or sad,” is today’s prompt. As with yesterday’s prompt, it seems to be asking about not so much the content as the photo itself. So it would not be correct to post an photo of the BP oil flood, or a photo of conservative zealots waving banners of homophobic sentiments, or a photo of my rude neighbors. All those things make me angry and sad in varying proportions.

Instead, here’s a photo that I took with a cheap camera.


This camera was a cheap toy camera of the sort that one might now give to an eight year old as a stocking stuffer. It took color pictures at 800x600px, and could store something like fifty images in its onboard memory. This was powered by a single AAA battery, which would last up to fifteen minutes, if you were lucky. If you weren’t lucky, all your images would evaporate before you could get back to your PC to download them.

So, obviously, once I got a cell phone with an integrated camera, the toy camera went to the back of the junk drawer. It would have stayed there forever, but I stumbled across an article on building $10 infrared goggles. After a bit more research, I discovered that it would be possible to attach this filter to the toy camera by unscrewing its infrared-blocking lens, inserting the $10 filter, and screwing in an infrared-transparent lens. And voila! I had a digital camera with, if not true near-infrared, then a built-in infrared effect. The daytime sky was dark, and the grass was snow-white.

Unfortunately, the short battery lifetime continued to be a nuisance, and in a fit of frustration, I chucked the hacked toy camera into some bushes… belatedly remembering that the lens screwed in to the toy camera belonged to a different camera. I eventually had to pay about $20 to get a new lens.

And that’s why this photo makes me angry.

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