Friday, April 29, 2011

Camera Trials

I am tired of everyone else having pretty blogs with lovely, vivid, and colorful images.  

I am not really much of a photographer.  Usually if there is something I really want a photo of, I'll ask someone else to take the picture and then at some point, I may or may not get the digital images off their camera or phone or whatever device they use to snap the photo.  (Case in point, my Easter cherry pie, the photo of which is on Rachel's camera, for which we did not have among our dozen or so of such cords the right one with which to attach said camera to our computer.  But I'm not worried.  I'm sure I'll get it sometime.)

It's not really a very efficient way to do photography.  Especially when one of the uses of the photography is colorful, interesting, and visually appealing blog posts.

So when Mom and Dad gave me $50 for Christmas, to be used however I want, I thought to myself that I would put the money toward a digital camera.  But alas, spending the extra money needed to fill in the difference, even though it was only a meager $20, was never very easy to justify in these inflationary times.  Now it appears that the price of the camera I had picked out has leaped by about another $20.  I suppose they added some new features or it's perhaps available in extra fashion colors.  It appears to be the same to me, but what do I know.

A few weeks ago, during Louisa's play at school, Joe's camera bit the dust.  Grr.  He thought it was faulty batteries, but the extras he always carries did not work either.  When he had time, he did some trouble shooting and checked the product website.  Unfortunately, the only thing he was able to determine is that it was time for another camera.

You remember that line from Beatix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit?  "It was the second little jacket and pair of shoes he had lost in a fortnight."

That's kind of how Joe feels about digital cameras these days.  When a person spends upwards of a hundred dollars on something, they'd like to get more than a year or two of use from it.  Joe has had three or four digital cameras in the last several years, each with different style cases and different methods of closing and opening, etc.  Whichever part breaks on the one he's replacing, he tries to find one with a different feature that might help him avoid the same problem.  But it seems that no matter what he comes up with, there is always something waiting to go wrong.

And since he is the primary photographer in the family, he likes to keep a working camera.  He takes photos of things he sees while out driving, things happening around our home and yard.  Perhaps most importantly, he photographs the kids and the silly and endearing things they do; and the important things that happen in their lives. (Like Louisa's play, from which we have photos of the first act of three. Stupid camera.)

Lest she feel slighted, I must also admit that Louisa is quite a prolific photographer.  But as I've noticed is common practice among the photographs of teenaged girls, there is always a tongue in the shot...Really it's true.  Scan the facebook photo albums of your friends.  All of the teenaged girls stick their tongues out for photos.  The most common direction is off to the side toward another teenaged girl...if one does not want the tongues of the featured persons protruding in a surprising variety of angles, one ought not to depend upon the photography of one's teenaged daughters.

The other day in Wal-Mart, the afternoon after Joe had bid his most recent camera adieu, he noticed that the rack on which they display the cheapo cameras now also includes the low-to-mid-range cameras that are equally good if not better than the digital cameras everyone had 10 years ago.  So he picked out a $30 camera for me, on which I can hone my digital photography skills.  I think he is tired of spending big money on cheap, breakable cameras.  He'd kind of like to buy a cheapo, but he wants me to try it out first.

So now I have a camera.  I've read the instruction book (very poor technical writing, in case you're wondering, John, H).  I've played around with a few shots, techniques, videos, and zooming in and out.  I've learned all about uploading and downloading and unloading and all kinds of loading.  I'm ready to roll.

But please be patient with me.  My last real excursion into the art of photography (and one for which I am to this day mocked in family circles) was the black and white photos I took during a childhood trip to California when I had my first camera (think 126 film, flashcube). 

When we were young, until we learned a little bit about taking picutres, or until we could pay for our own film and developing, it was a family rule that we had to use black and white film.  I understand that taking black and white photographs is really an artsy thing to do.  But for an elementary aged kid in the 70s, this was almost a cruel and unusual punishment. 

The particular photo that placed me firmly in the photographer FAIL category, was taken at Sea World in San Diego.  I was trying to visually capture the lovely flamingos in all their pink glory.  I was so disappointed when my film was developed.  The flamingos looked all,... well,... all black and white.

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