Seeing life through a broken lens

Wendy Nugent

By Wendy Nugent, Newton Now

So here I am at the end of the first day back from vacation. Really stressed out. Why? Because, you know, when you go on vacation and that first day back, things can be a little crazy.

I went to take photos of Gov. Sam Brownback during the afternoon, and the governor extended his hand to introduce himself to me. As he held out his hand, he said, “And you are?”

And I said, “Freaking out.”

Yes, he’s the governor, and yes, I should have given him more attention, but my extremely expensive camera lens had just quit working. Arg.

I did shake his hand, introduced myself and explained to him why I was freaking out. The Governor of Kansas didn’t have any thoughts on how to fix it. He just kind of drifted away. I don’t blame him.

My poor lens has been with me to so many events and so many places. There have been storms, shooting events like a prayer vigil and community service, sporting events and many other things. You name, it, I might’ve been there with my Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 lens. If you know cameras, you know how fast and awesome this lens is. To buy it new, it’s around $1,800. Ouch.

I’m getting some kind of evil message on my camera screen that tells me to clean the contacts on the lens, which I did, and that didn’t help. When things go wrong mechanically, it feels like the world is crashing down on me. Fixing things is not something I’m good doing, and of course, I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg getting anything fixed. Things should just run and work properly.

I use my camera for work and for play, rain and shine, clouds and floods. My camera and the smaller lens I use are working just fine, but not the big lens. The camera and misbehaving lens have taken thousands and thousands of photos. Maybe it’s just worn out.

It’s been having a little problem for a few weeks now, and today of all days, it just decided to quit working. The auto focus won’t work nor will the F-stops with that lens. In case you can’t tell, I’m obsessing on this some, and it will be that way until it’s fixed or I get a new lens.

I know life is full of hiccups and burps and sometimes plain out-right killer slaps, so I know I need to “relax and think about something else,” as Adam here put it. Worse things have happened to me. Worse things will happen to me, and I really like to have the right equipment to take great photos. It’s one of the ways I make a living.

It seems like, even though it’s great to take a vacation, week-long vacations can last three weeks—the week before you’re working ahead to help co-workers out when you’re gone, then there’s the actual vacation, and then the third week, you’re trying to catch up and put out fires.

So, right now, I’m seeing life through a broken lens, if you will, quite upset about my baby. Things are skewed somewhat. We all have days like this where everything seems to go wrong. I guess I just need to fix the lens through which I see life, and let go and let God.

Wendy Nugent is the features editor at Newton Now. She can be reached at or 316-281-7899.

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