I stepped out of my Dad's truck, camera bag in tow, and stood by the shop door as he opened it for me. I walked inside, and saw hundreds of photography-related items for sale. Oh my, I was thinking, this is awesome!
After taking a few minutes out to explore, I walked up to the counter where a nice, older man was handling some lenses. I introduced myself with a "hello" and opened up my bag, explaining my problem: my 15-55mm zoom lens was acting up, making a weird noise when focusing at certain zooms, and getting stuck between the 25-35mm mark.
He took a good, long look at it, then started to test the zoom. After a few minutes, he told me that, honestly, it just wasn't worth the money to get it repaired, but to rather buy a 'new' one. The man gave me a sideways glance that told me I was in for a real treat. He took a few lenses from the counter's glass case, and chose one of them to place on my camera body (a Nikon D3200).
Well, we "played around," as he called it, with a whole bunch of different lenses, including a heavy, $700 telephoto lens with a view that reached clear across the street and farther, and a funny little fisheye lens. My little sister had accompanied me, and the man instructed me to point the fisheye directly at her nose. Oh my. Even just looking through the lens, I could tell it would turn out to be a very hilarious shot. I took my eye away from the viewfinder, threw my head back, and let out a giggle. I was definitely enjoying myself, to say the least.
The man was having a good time, too. He enjoyed his work, giving me info, and liked toying around with my camera. He told me quite a few things about it that I didn't know. "I'm a Nikon man," he said. He wasn't the kind of person who wanted to lure you in with the latest thing, and he didn't want me to just throw away my money. In fact, nearly all the lenses he showed me were $99, used ones.
My Dad came over to the counter to hear about what was going on, and the man told him that he liked me, that I was a fun girl to be around, and that I knew what I was doing. He said people like that make his job fun. My Dad told him, "Well, that's what I think of her, too." They were being a couple of sweet guys, and I felt all good inside...and the wheels in my mind were turning, trying to remember everything I had learned.
The photography world needs good men like that who enjoy their job, bringing that enthusiasm to younger people like me. I didn't buy a lens that day, but somehow I knew I'd be back soon.