Yesterday, Eric met me at B & H to help me pick out a new camera. As I waited for Eric outside, watching hordes of people pile into the store, I pondered the advisability of going into such a place two days after Christmas. It turns out that, despite the masses of people shopping there, B & H offers about as good a face-to-face consumer experience as I’ve ever had. If you’re looking for a camera in or around New York, this is the place to go.
After getting my new camera home, I’ve spent the last day playing with it, and I’m very happy with it. The review linked to above says that the sensor is prone to noise in all but the best light, and that does seem to be true (as can be seen especially clearly here, which is admittedly under less than ideal conditions). But this camera is so much easier to use than my old one and offers images that are so much richer and clearer, that I’m quite willing to put up with the noise. About the only way I could get a better complete camera would be to move up to an SLR, and I’m not ready for that yet. Now the only excuse I’ll have for bad pictures is my own incompetence.
One of the realms of Shambhala practice, in addition to the various sorts of meditative and community practices, is contemplative arts, which was the theme of my recent retreat. Amid the hours of sitting, we discussed the view of Shambhala arts, and even tried some calligraphy and body movement. The gist of the practice, if I may so violently condense it, is to be absolutely present in the moment and express only what is there, free from memories, expectations, and other concepts. The act (which may or may not leave any artifacts) is simply an expression of what is. Along with calligraphy, dance, and other arts, this practice can be pursued through photography, where it’s called miksang (Tibetan for “good eye”). I find the images produced through the miksang practice captivating, and now that I know something of its view and have a suitable camera, I’d like to give it a try (as you can see here and here).