Gum for my Boat
Craigslist helped me find my new camera last week, a used Canon 5D MKII. I’ve been a proponent of used equipment for a while now, because not only does it let you go easy on the budget, but often you get a glimpse of your gear’s past life from its previous owner. My camera, for example, shot a documentary.
Director Russell Brownley met me at a Starbucks during a brief respite from a week of torrential rain. Like a drug deal I brought a wad of cash*, but along with my new camera the man handed me a copy of his movie, Gum for my Boat.
This being San Diego, I wasn’t surprised that it was a surf movie, but when I sat down to watch, I didn’t find the usual wave porn filled with slow-motion footage (that’s just my impression, I haven’t seen many surf movies). It turns out that you don’t need big waves to make a successful surf documentary. Gum for my Boat chronicles the rise of surfing in Bangladesh, and reveals how the sport drilled out a tiny niche in a country whose culture isn’t exactly geared toward water sports.
I definitely wouldn’t buy a used camera that’s been used as a hammer every day by, say, an AP photographer, but I’m happy with my gear and the story it’s already told.
Brownley also pointed out that of the many responses he received, what helped my chances was that I wasn’t an anonymous figure – my email listed my website. So, if you’re gunning for a piece of coveted gear, try adding a little personal touch to your correspondence. Not only will you look less likely to flake out on a deal, but maybe you’ll be entrusted to keep the stories coming.
I know I would rather sell my old camera to a fellow photographer than a soccer mom, so why don’t I take this opportunity to offer up my old camera for sale. It’s a Canon 5D, the original, and has been to Mongolia and back while hanging around my neck. Any offers?
*Out of curiosity, I compared the price of Cocaine and marijuana to the price of a camera. Cocaine runs about $100/gram, marijuana runs about $5/gram, and a used professional DSLR runs about $2.50/gram