Image hosted by

Monday, October 11, 2004

Hello World!! I have been gone far too long.

In case anyone was wondering what I've been up to, I have been busy with a passion that I have perhaps forgot to talk about... photography. I've been out and about taking pictures of anything and everything.

Thought I'd share some with you, too...

Oh, and in case you notice something missing from my blog, I became way too sick of seeing Albert and Saddem and had to bid them farewell. The chicken I thought could stay. He's just freaky enough to keep people's attention.

I have many more pictures to post and will put some up from time to time. I love to get them out there and see what people think. I have no idea what others think is good photography; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I'm pleased with about 3 photos out of every roll. As tight as I am with money, this is an obsession. I fight the feeling of wasting money as I thumb through the freshly developed 24 exposures in a matter of seconds in search of just the right photograph - and its never the one I thought it would be.

Our last vacation was 4 days long. I took 19 rolls of film...

... and it killed me to have to wait 3 days for them to be developed. I wanted like crazy to one-hour photo them but that is not very affordable with 19 rolls of film. Plus I wanted better quality developing - so I went to Wal-Mart. Hey, they do a great job and it's cheap. When I'm rich and famous, I will go to a real photography store. Why am I slanting when I say this? Hell, I am a WAL-MART GIRL and damn proud...

Which brings me to this thought - Why does anyone need to see their pictures so immediately? I just took the picture, I was just there and saw the thing I took the picture of, I know what it looked like and am quite sure of I can remember it in my head to tell people about... so why do I need to see the photograph of it right this second? I don't want a one-hour photo lab, I want a right-this-second lab. Hmmm, I guess that's why they invented digital cameras...

So anyway, I have been playing with my beautiful camera since last year when I got it for Christmas. It is a 35mm Canon EOS Rebel TI and I was lucky enough to also receive a 300mm zoom lens with it. I have read, and re-read, and read again that manual, and I'll be damned if it was the hardest thing to understand.

The details behind the concept of the different settings at first, in my head, seemed very confusing. For instance, regarding the aperature - the smaller the aperture the higher the f/number and thus will increase the depth of field... wait, what? Hold on - the smaller the... wha... The way my brain works is I have to imagine what something looks like as it's working to understand it. That means I have to imagine what an aperture would look like, and then imagine it small, and then picture an f/number large, and then see the background of my subject as sharp, and then swap it around and picture the aperature big, the f/number small, and the background becoming blurred around my subject. Okay, I can do that. But when you are taking a picture, time can be crucial. I'm here looking at a bunch of numbers flashing at me instead of the objects I've created in my head, and I have to know what number means what, not to mention if I adjust the shutter speed, then my aperture may change, then what is the picture gonna look like?? What do I want the picture to look like? I guess that's the first thing I have to start figuring out.

Here, digital would be able to tell me what my choices and all my practicing is accomplishing. Instant results, digitals are good for that. Thing is, I want to understand how the camera thinks and what it all means, and then be able to tell it how to capture the moment just the way I see it.

You have to understand first, I learned on my dad's old Olympus. I got rather attached to the nice chip in the lens, not to mention it was so heavy I got cramps in my both my hand from holding it and also in my eye from keeping it shut long enough to focus correctly. Everything was manual - everything. The light meter, the focus, you even had to set the speed of the film. It's not what you thinking either. A 30 year old manual camera does not necessarily prepare you for a brand new one. Getting a little pin in the middle of a meter to register proper lighting is easier than computing three sets of flashing numbers.

Then one day, it happened. I sat down with the manual once again and an amazingly enough, it all just clicked - no pun intended. I understood it - the different settings, the flashing numbers, even the different possibilities I could achieve. Now all I had to do was practice.

Taking pictures is what I consider a sort of sabbatical. If Earl says he's going fishing, I'm right there with him with my camera taking pictures of wildlife. Any opportunity to snap some shots. I've wanted to pull over on the highway before to get the early a.m. mist in the hills on my way to work, only I have to remember to bring the camera with me to do that. Heck, one of these shots might be a money maker, you never know.

Sometimes, I believe I am rather obsessed with taking pictures. If I don’t have my camera with me when something happens or I see something amazing, I beat myself up over it for the rest of the week. Sometimes even when I do have my camera but I miss a shot I can hardly stand to be around myself. When we were in Connecticut, I had the camera on the tripod facing the ocean while Earl fished. I heard a splash to my right and spun the camera around to capture whatever it was. In a split second, I had a huge fish perfectly centered, jumping out of the water directly in view of my lens... and I couldn't snap the pictures quick enough. I figured if I had just held the button down I would have gotten about 10 pictures of junk as I was spinning the camera around, but number 11 would have been perfect.

However will I live with myself?

That's my thing. Wildlife. I don’t want to take picture of people, I just don't see in people what I see in nature.

If I could just stop working and take pictures (and not have to worry about how to pay for them to get developed) I would do it in a second.

As much as I think Digital cameras are wonderful inventions and great for vacations and websites, and perfect for emailing friends at the touch of a button, not to mention doing some quick touch ups when you didn’t quite get the image you wanted - I prefer, and stand by, my 35mm.

35mm takes photographs, not just images. The way I see it, if you know what you're doing and understand what shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation means, you can ultimately reach true gratitude by capturing the perfect picture simply by skill, knowledge, and a good eye. That is if you're passionate about photography. If you aren't and could care less what all that stuff is, a digital or an automatic point-and-click camera is also a fine choice. That will capture a memory just fine for most -

But if you have an artistic eye, then the challenge is to get the camera to see what your mind sees.

I was told once by the extremely poor excuse for a photographer we had at our wedding, who had no idea what she was doing, that you can't control the camera or what it sees. I think that is by far the most unprofessional, lack of skill sounding, pathetic excuse for trying to explain why you didn't know how to take pictures outside, on a cloudy day just after a rainfall, at dusk. Instead of capturing the heavenly fog settling atop the hills, she just blacked the whole back ground out so that my poor Earl's tux had completely blended into the background and his head just hung floating by my side.

Not saying that I have reached any level of a professional's skill by far, but I will. And they will be real pictures, real captured moments the way my mind saw them and the way I convinced the camera to see them too. They will not be digital images that have been manipulated into what I hoped they would be.

Okay, blah blah blah.

No one wants to hear my 35mm camera pedestal speech. I have probably opened a can of worms with the digital vs. 35mm. I have already engaged in countless battles against die hard digital users and have yet to cave. May I mention that these digital users seemed to never be interested in taking pictures in the first place until the digital world made the hobby too easy to resist.

This is only my opinion. Please don't get upset. And please don't misunderstand me. I'm not against technology. Digital definitely has its place. I know digital. I use a very expensive and extremely good digital every day at work. Makes my job of putting images up on my website easy as pie. If I had to scan real photographs in every time, it would make my day very long. It also saves a lot of money in film and developing and you can get instant results. You can change your picture instantly to black and white or sepia, you can download it to your computer and zoom into the eye of a bird and get a crystal clear image. Digital is wonderful for many different reasons, but not for taking what is considered a true photograph.

Call me old fashion. I think most that have a craft they do by hand may have a grudge against a machine that will do it in half the time, yet it won't have the passion behind the end result. My opinion, digital is the lazy man's way of taking pictures. Any 10 year old kid can take a frame-able masterpiece with digital imagery. And like I said, if none of this matters to you, more power to you.

To those who argue, I say - read a book on photography from the 197o's and understand what it means to take a picture. Thanks again dad, that book changed my life.

But then again, the camera is only part of what photography is really about. A great big huge chunck is about the photographer and what she is made of.

My final thought:
Digital cameras make great images.
35mm cameras make great photographs.

So find below some pictures I've taken over the last several months. The first ones you see are the oldest. As you scroll down, the pictures become more recent, eventually getting to ones taken just this month while we were visiting New England. I think they show some nice improvement and more control over the settings.