Monday, April 6, 2009

Camera Nerd

Photo: Japanese Tourists
Current Location: Midland, Michigan, USA / 43°37′25.0″N 84°13′45.7″W

Sometimes, I have to remind myself why I'm doing what I do, what has brought me to where I am today, and the person that I am becoming. It's easy to be lost in thought, in time, and in life.

You see, growing up in front of a TV screen wasn't easy. My parents both worked long hours--I'd wake up in the morning and they'd be gone. I'd prep myself for school, locked the doors when I left--and at night, I'd go to bed and they wouldn't even be home yet. The television was my friend. It spoke to me, told me stories, took me to places I never even heard of, sold me on things I never could afford--in retrospect, seeing the world thru a tube was simply magical. It inspired me, sparked my imagination and forever left a lasting mark on my childhood. Maybe that's why when the councilor in highschool asked me what I wanted to do in life, I simply replied, "I want to work in TeeVee!" Next thing knew I was enrolled in the media program. They slapped me with a camera and proclaimed me "The Camera Guy."

So there I was--a ninth grade camera nerd. I looked like a Japanese tourist.

I admit, I wasn't the most popular guy with the ladies, nor was I the most charming--but let me tell ya, I was one lean-mean-picture taking-MACHINE! Day in and day out, I devoted my life to the helm of a camera. I worshipped the studio and proclaimed my camera my soul-mate. I named her Minoltalina. Girls thought I was gay. My parents began to worry. They contemplated about sending me to Japan. But by senior year, things started to change for the better. I became one of the most saught after guys in my class. Girls would say "Heyyy Ron, can you take our picture?" And I'd say, "Ohhh yeahhhh!" My camera was a "magnet for chicks!" My dad was so happy that he even gave me the keys to his 1984 Oldsmobile when I landed my first date.

In college, on top of my undergraduate curriculum, I'd con my way into graduate level classes--simply by telling them the truth: I'm poor, I'm hungry for knowledge (and food), and I just want to learn. Professors believed in me, guided me and trained me to become the cinematographer they hoped for me to be. I was trained by some of the best pioneers in the industry--like Richard Lietterman who shot Stephen King's IT and CSI. Like me, he was a ninth grade camera nerd too.

Over the weekend I had a lot of time to think about my options, about Dave's assignment in Afghanistan and about the reasons why I turned it down. To be honest, I was sad--upset at why I had to let down a good friend. But after hours of retrospect, I realized that I had forgotten about that ninth grade camera nerd. I forgot about how hard I've worked to get to where I am today--to enjoy the fruits of my labor without having to sacrifice life.

When I first went to Afghanistan with Dave, I was a mere rookie looking for a break. I went because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, that I could survive. It wasn't because I believed in making a difference or changing lives, nope. It was for something trivial and stupid. I went for the adventure. It would've been for the same reason this time, had I accepted.

Well, I'm all grown up now. I no longer look like a Japanese tourist, nor do I drive my dad's '84 Olds. But deep down, I know I'm still that ninth grade camera nerd.


TheChicGeek said...

Nerds rule, Ron :) LOL!
You know, in thinking about you, I honestly feel you make a difference wherever you are. You don't have to travel to far away lands to do that :) You are a beautiful person with a beautiful positive and loving attitude. We are all very lucky to know you.

floreta said...

this is cute!

Minoltalina! hahaha. you're right, that's pretty nerdy. Love it!

Erin said...

You already got proof that you could survive. I think it takes a lot of thought to find adventure close to home. Here's to the micro-adventure!

Random Hiccups said...

Aren't we all still the nerd we were in high school?! Love the post. Well DOne :)

Hillbilly Duhn said...

Nerds need love too! Even if it was from the other side of the lens...LOL!

You are remarkable, all the places you've been, what you've seen, done. If being a nerd helped you get where you are today, then kids should want to be nerds.

Young Traveler said...

I love my old Minolta. Nothing in the world beats it.

Here's to the inner nerd in all of us.

Anonymous said...

And what a wonderful camera nerd you are Ron, we wouldn't want you any other way!!

Ron said...

ChicGeek: Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm blusing like a nerd that just got kissed :0)

Floreta: Thakns for reading! Minoltalina is going to be my daughters name one day...!

Erin: I think you're right...the best adventures sometimes are the ones right in your own backyard. I have a few trips planned. Will keep you updated via this blog.

Random Hiccups/HillyBilly/Young Traveler/Carol:

I think in a way were were all nerds. But some just more than others, ie me!

Desert Rat said...

But nerds are in style now so that's OK.

I love how the tourist all have these big fancy cameras. Not a one is using a cell phone camera and only about two are using the cheesy small digital cameras like us common folk. ;-)

Anonymous said...