Found: Camera Equipment

I unpack a few more boxes and find some camera equipment I forgot I had.

Regular blog readers might know that I moved from the Arizona home I lived in for about 15 years to Washington state back in 2013. I packed my belongings over a nine-month period while waiting for my much delayed divorce to make its way through the court system. In the beginning, I packed the things that meant the most to me — heirloom items, mostly — but I also quickly packed my valuable possessions, including electronics and camera equipment. (Eventually, I packed or discarded things I didn’t really need or want, but that’s because I was bored and pissed off and I didn’t have anything else to do while I waited to get on with my life.)

The Migration of My “Stuff”

My new home wasn’t waiting for me when I moved out of my Arizona home. So the boxes went from my Wickenburg home to my Wickenburg hangar (September 2012 through September 2013) to my Wenatchee hangar (September 2013 to June 2014) to my Malaga garage (June 2014 to today). I started unpacking when my living space was nearing completion in April 2015. I’ve been unpacking ever since.

Seriously: I packed way too much stuff. Everyone who comes into my garage tells me I have too much stuff and I have to agree. I’ve given a lot away and I’ve sold a bunch, too. (Craig’s List works much better here than in Wickenburg.) The benefit, of course, is that I didn’t have to buy much when I moved into my new home. I already had almost everything I needed to make a home.

As my modest living space fills with stuff, I struggle to find places to store it all. That’s why I’ve still got about 20 boxes in the garage that need unpacking. One thing I learned is that the first step to keeping your home clutter-free is to have a specific place where everything you own belongs. If something can’t be put away, it should be thrown away.

Finding the Camera Equipment

These days, I’m organizing and arranging my garage’s shop area. Part of the job is to finish unpacking those damn boxes. So while my friend Bob was over, working on his boat, I began tackling boxes again. I had a mission: I wanted to find and unpack my games and camera equipment.

I found the games right away: Boggle, Scrabble, two (?) Monopoly games, Pente travel version, Uno, Skipbo, dominos, Parcheesi, and playing cards — including a few custom decks I’d had made not long after returning home to get divorced. I sorted it all out, with some games going upstairs to live on the bottom shelf of my coffee table and some going into my truck camper (the Turtleback) for my annual trip south. I got a lot of joy out of flattening that empty box and tossing it atop the others waiting for a trip to the recycling center.

The camera equipment was a bit more elusive. Although I had some of it in a plastic bin on a garage shelf, a lot of it was missing. I definitely remembered a light gray camera bag and two identical Nikon 35mm film camera bodies. There was a 10.5mm fisheye lens that I hadn’t seen in a while, too.

The equipment in the bin was what I’d had with me in the big fifth wheel (the Mobile Mansion) where I lived every summer since 2010 and then full-time while waiting for my home to be built. I knew there was more from my old house and I was pretty sure I’d packed it. But none of the boxes were marked “Camera Equipment” — I’d labeled every single box — and I was at a loss.

And then I remembered that I didn’t always label the boxes with the exact contents. The reason: a mild case of paranoia. If someone got into my Wickenburg hangar that last summer and started going through the boxes, I didn’t want him (or her) to find my valuables. The same thing applied to the movers; I didn’t want them knowing exactly which boxes they could find stuff worth stealing.

I looked at the labels on the remaining boxes. One was marked “Old Photos.” But I also had a plastic bin full of old photos. How many old photos did I have? I used my box cutter to open the box. And there was the gray camera bag, along with a bunch of lenses, filters, and other equipment I’d completely forgotten about.

It was like a great birthday or Christmas day: getting presents that you actually wanted.

The 35mm camera bodies — which are pretty much worthless these days — were in the box. But the camera bag was full of lenses. Not only was the missing 10.5mm lens there, but there were three others I’d completely forgotten I had. They’re all Nikon lenses and I suspect, based on their weight, that they’re of different qualities (metal and glass vs plastic). Not only do they fit the D7000 I currently use, but most of them will work with the old film cameras (if I ever start using them again).

Camera Equipment
With the newly found lenses, I now have seven lenses to choose from: 10-24mm ƒ3.5-4.5 zoom, 10.5mm ƒ2.8 fisheye, 16-85mm ƒ3.5-5.6 zoom (on the camera here; my “everyday” lens), 18-55mm ƒ3.5-5.6 zoom, 50mm ƒ1.8, 55-200mm ƒ4.5-5.6 zoom, and 70-300mm ƒ4.5-5.6 zoom.

This is not “professional” camera equipment. Back when I was shopping for my first DSLR in 2007 — right before my first Alaska trip — I bought a Nikon D80 camera, mostly because it would work with lenses I already had. It had a crop sensor, not the full-frame sensor preferred by professionals. (Learn the difference between full-frame and crop sensors here.) By the time I bought my D7000 in 2011(?), I had a lot invested in lenses and didn’t want to have to start over; that’s why I went with another crop sensor model, albeit one that’s slightly more advanced than a general consumer model: the D7000 I still use today.

Of course, it wasn’t just lenses that I found. There were also about a dozen camera filters — the good, glass screw-on type — that included polarizers, skylight filters, and neutral density filters. There are also a few collapsible reflectors that could be used to either shade or reflect light back up to small subjects. I distinctly remember using those for flower photography in the desert near my Arizona home.

And then there’s my HD video camera and all of its accessories. And my old time-lapse setup. And my geotagger. And my lightweight tripod. And lens pouches. And bean bags.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled to have access to all of my camera equipment again. I’ll be bringing quite a bit of it with me when I head south — well, we’ll see what I can comfortably fit in the Turtleback, anyway. Maybe it’ll motivate me to get a little more creative on this trip. With so much equipment at my disposal, there’s really no excuse not to be able to capture the images I want.

2 thoughts on “Found: Camera Equipment

  1. I made the switch from film to digital about 15 years back. I still have my mid-range Pentax (35 SLR for film) with a couple of nice lenses sitting in a drawer. My investment was small.
    When my father in law died last year he left several really good cameras (from the film era), Nikon and Olympus bodies among them. I took them to a shop to have them valued and was surprised to learn, just as you said above, that there were a very few specialist collectors, but unless they showed interest, they were essentially “valueless”. I tried a charity shop and was told the same. They took them from me and dumped them in their dustbin. Ouch!
    Cameras from the 1980’s, once worth $3,000, now merely landfill..

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