Tag Archives: Photography

Selfies

I confess, I don’t understand selfies. What’s the thrill about sending pictures of yourself to everyone you know? It’s tied for last place with pictures of the meal one is going to eat.

I hate having my picture taken, as I’m content to be on my side of my face and have no desire to contemplate the side most people view. I tolerate several minutes during the time I shave, but with the shaving cream and contorting my face and stretching my neck while shaving I do not see much resemble that others believe I look like. Pre-coffee vision also helps.

In my teen years and well into my twenties, I pursued photography so that I’d be on the other side of the camera. The added advantage was that not only was I not asked to be part of the wedding party—saving the expense of renting a tux, etc., but I made a few bucks even on the heavily discounted wedding albums I did for friends.

My kids are the same way. The only way they’ll tolerate having their picture taken is if the only other option is cleaning their bedrooms and bathrooms (which is too bad, because they look better than I ever did—or will). My son chastises me for even taking pictures.

So selfies? I polled the family, and this was the best offer I got.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Photographs and Memories*

nikon

When I was a student X-Ray Technologist, I paid the bills by photographing weddings. I had a Mamiyaflex 2 ½” film camera for the formal photos but for most of the action shots I used a Nikon Photomic Ftn 35 mm camera. This was the camera upon which the legends of the 1970s were built. Vietnam. Laos. Birmingham. Apollo 15. Yes, there was the occasional Leica, but Nikon’s ruled. I did good work – in some cases I was invited back to photograph all the daughters of the family. When the youngest was married, I could then be called to document the oldest second marriage. (Please note – although I so wanted to be an artist, I never was. I shot the same set of photos for every wedding having perfected the technique for minimizing the time needed between the ceremony and the reception.)

After that I took very few pictures, because photography had become a job – no longer a pleasurable activity.

As my “second litter” has grown, I’ve taken many pictures, particularly at my kids’ soccer game. This time around I’ve used a Sony camera, which has been outstanding. Sony, apparently purchased Minolta (another fine camera from the 1970s) and I have been very pleased.

I’ve used the same Sony camera for four years. I’ve put thousands of shots through it. Someday it’s going to reach the end of its life – the question is – will it do so before me, or vice versa? In anticipation of that day I periodically look at the advertisements for cameras. I confess, the Nikons still immediately catch my attention.

It’s like the memories and feelings you have for your first love.

I don’t know how this story will end, but if nothing else, I find the process interesting.

* with no apologies, but fond memories of Jim Croce.

The Picture of Progress

 

Photographer-studio-1893

Ah, the conveniences that we’ve come to know and love.

The vacuum cleaner revolutionized housekeeping. Instead having tea while the hired housekeeper cleaned her house, women bought (or better yet, received as gifts) electric appliances that not only picked up some of the dirt from the floor but also made a lot of noise, scared the dog and created interference on the radio or television. To top it all off, the housewife got to take the contents of her modern vacuum cleaner out to the trash, creating a cloud highly reminiscent of the dustbowl of the 1930s.

Such progress.

(Don’t worry, this is the article on photographs I promised yesterday. Really)

Another area ripe for technological improvement was the family photo album.

In the days of film, you carefully composed your picture, checked the lighting, and took a snapshot. We were all very conservative because film, processing and flashbulbs were all consumable and wasting pictures could be costly. It was common for a roll of film with 12 exposures to be developed and printed starting with Christmas pictures, beach pictures, Halloween pictures and end up with the following Christmas’ pictures.

When we got the printed photographs, we discarded those that were out-of-focus, included grimaces or closed eyes and kept only the good ones. Ideally, those that passed muster would be safely mounted in an photo album, and tucked away where they would be safe, but easy to retrieve.

The early technological improvements were actually helpful. Color replaced black and white, and albums with plastic pages worked better than gluing four little corners for each photo. Lulled into a sense of complacency, we had no clue as to where photography was going.

The real change came with digital cameras. No waiting for the corner drugstore to process the pictures. No buying film, You could store and sort the pictures easily on your computer. You could crop, fix redeye, adjust the color and make small or large prints. Wow! Is this great or what?

Definitely, “or what.”

A hard drive failure could destroy every picture you ever took, and sometimes the pictures would be saved in some obscure location in a sub folder of a sub directory under a file name you would NEVER expect. The convenient digital picture you wanted would take hours to find.

I bought my wife a new digital photo frame and we decided we’d go through all the digital photos and figure out which ones to include. I retrieved the backup DVDs on which I had backed up all the photos.

THREE INCHES of DVDs, going back to my first digital photos taken in 2000.

Do you know how many photographs you can store on that many DVDs?

A lot.

Technology strikes again.

So if I don’t write a blog for the next 6 or 8 months, don’t worry. I’m just sorting digital pictures.