I mentioned yesterday that my lens broke on the first day of my trip to NYC for the Photo Plus Expo. I wandered out of the convention center on the first day, I started to take pictures. Within a few clicks of the shutter, the lens stopped focusing. Then it stopped moving. I rushed back to the Canon booth at the expo and they generously took a look at my lens. The verdict: a part had to be replaced, and they couldn’t do it on the spot. My choices were either to continue my trip with my phone, buy a new lens or send the broken one in to be repaired and hope the job would be completed before I had to return to Canada.
I decided to try just using my phone. It was ok at first, but as each day went by my heart ached to take actual photos. On Saturday I finally snapped and decided to buy a new lens. I woke up early and rushed to B&H on 34th street with the intention of buying a new 50mm 1.8 lens and spending the entire day revisiting the locations I had seen, this time with a camera. As I approached B&H, my heart sunk. The windows were covered and the lights were off. B&H was closed on Saturdays.
“That’s ok,” I said remembering that I had looked up the address to another camera store – Adorama – and it was just a few blocks up on 42nd street. I rushed over and ended up in the middle of Times Square, but Adorama was nowhere in sight. Sweaty and frustrated, I ducked into the nearest hotel – the Times Square Hilton – and in my calmest “I’m-a-guest-here” voice, asked the concierge to look up Adorama. “42 West 18th Street,” he said. Curses. 42 was the building number and not the street number! No matter, I decided to make my way down to 18th street, get the lens and go on with my plan.
After a bus ride down, I caught sight of the Adorama sign and ran to it. When the store came in full sight, my heart sunk deeper. Iron on the windows, lights off. It too was closed Saturdays. I had no more ideas. I went into the nearest cafe and tried to hold back tears over tea. I know what you may think, what a first-world-problem to cry about being on a trip without a camera. But the truth was that I had no motivation to do anything without the ability to take pictures.
Then an idea hit me.
Across the street there was a Duane Reed – New York’s pharmacy chain. All the life had come back to me when I came up with a plan to do something I had not done in a long time – buy a disposable camera. With the help of the nicest Duane Reed employee, I bought two green disposable cameras and challenged myself to make the best of what I had.
Below are the images I took with the cameras over the last two days of my trip. They are not the best quality and the color is off, and I’m convinced taking them with the tiny bright green disposable cameras made me look like a giant hipster, but they are closer to my heart than any regular pictures would be. I hope you enjoy them.
One of the little cameras: