Shooting Wide Open: Mexico 2018/Long Live my First Love

Clients and friends, I want you to meet someone. We lovingly call this camera “Old Digi”: a 10 year old Canon Rebel XTi and my first DSLR. When my Opa (grandpa) passed, he left me a little bit of money for college and to pursue any of my passions. I got my dad’s blessing to use a small chunk to purchase this camera. It seemed like SO much money at the time and compared to what we’ve spent since it is kind of hilariously affordable (currently under $200 on amazon). Ganer had the film version and I thought it would be really awesome to have a digital upgrade from my Kodak snapshot. I used and abused this camera. I don’t even want to know how many shutter actuations this baby has endured. There was not a speech tournament, party, or even stroll around campus that I didn’t have her with me. I was enthusiastic about shooting and teaching myself every function of this camera. However, I was not kind in my care. I’ve never had it professionally cleaned or serviced. It has been dropped, slammed, and overshot. Sand and glitter have made their way into every crevice in this camera. The UV filter has fused itself with the lens which has made cleaning impossible. The sensor is filthy. The battery is unreliable and “error” warnings frequently appear after reviewing a photo. We’ve changed our ways, obviously.


Once I had my first full frame camera, it was easy to stash Old Digi away. I was garbage in comparison and I didn’t want to pay to have fixed (but didn’t have the heart to toss or sell). In recent years we’ve renewed our desire to travel without our heavy gear. So, Old Digi was pulled out of retirement. She has been packed along with us on any trips that might prove to pose danger to our newer, professional, and heavy cameras (e.g., the beach, hiking, busy cities). She is unpredictable and moody. I never know if my vision is going to turn out hazy, out of focus, or even turn out at all. I suppose when we are vacationing, I kind of enjoy the uncertainty. I really have to experience the environment first because heck, that may be all I get. She is so light on my shoulders, it really is no trouble to bring her along.

After this most recent trip to Mexico however, I was pretty sure it was our last trip with this camera or seriously consider repair. The “error” messages and missed moments were just too frequent. In fact, a sweet European man told us we might be “better off with mobile” when he attempted to take our picture with it.

However I was pleasantly surprised upon upload. I love the way this camera takes to grit, color, and depth. I even love it’s imperfect focus and vignetting. These kind of elements have been stable parts of my style even if I occasionally stray to try something new. When I am shooting for myself, and especially with this POS camera, I feel like I am tapping into a way of seeing things that is truly all my own.

Below are some snaps from our most recent trip to Mexico where we and two of our best friends escaped the wildly low temperatures for a sunnier, slower week in paradise. We ate, drank, and danced our way around Quintana Roo. Our first leg of the trip we used our rental to be able to explore beaches and cenotes at our leisure. The second we left the car behind to explore the pedestrian Isla Holbox that we simply have to go back to in order to see it all. We were stunned by the beautiful street art, delicious foods, and blue waters. It was magical and we are forever advocates of the Airbnb, diy vacation style.





So what do you think? Put “Old Digi” into retirement? Repair her to her former glory? Or, third option, continue to use this wildly unpredictable, but wonderful camera as is?

Just for fun, here are a few from our cameras to show a little more of our trip! I am hungry & nostalgic just looking at these:









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