The impending Japan Trip managed to be enough to get me off my duff and order an image-stabilizing camera. I’m now the very happy owner of a Canon Powershot S2 IS.

As I’ve mentioned before (albeit long ago), I have an intention tremor—my hands shake whenever I try to do something with them. It’s far from debilitating, but the gals I dance with frequently ask if I’m nervous (I’m not; I’ve been dancing long enough), and I can get mighty frustrated when I need to do reasonably precise work with my hands. Changing a calculator battery causes me a bit more consternation than most.

This tremor also means that the quality of any picture I take is a crapshoot. I never bothered with film-based photography—that would be like me lighting twenties for the sake of watching them burn—but I decided to take the plunge once digital photography emerged. After all, you can just delete the picture if it doesn’t turn out, right?

I did delete pictures. Lots of them. I’d occasionally get something that was usable (or, if I was lucky, downright nice), but most of my shots turned out mediocre: when my composition didn’t stink, my focus did. After a while, that gets kind of depressing.

When we visited Craig in San Francisco, I basically gave Brian my camera for the entire trip. It was a good move on my part; we got some nice pictures out of the deal.

Flash forward to now.

These pictures aren’t anything special—but they’re a frickin’ miracle to me. These were all taken at 12x zoom. Taken by me, none the less, without any real effort to keep my hands still. (The second image is actually a closer look at the text on the controller cord in the first image; they’re from the same picture.) The camera isn’t infallible—I can still screw up a shot, image stabilization or not—but this is the first time I’ve had significantly more usable shots than not. (In fairness, the uglier ones were mostly taken while ignoring low light/bad focus/etc. messages from the camera.)

I now grin like a loon every time I take a picture. It’s sweet.


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