Sometimes I contemplate what life was like in the dinosaur days, you know, before digital camera. Before I say anything further, let me assure you that I know old fashioned film photography still results in the best photos. If you question me on that, click here.
Anyway, though I remain an amateur photographer, I have loved taking shots of the world around me since receiving my first Instamatic camera before leaving for college. Back then though, photography involved heartbreak. I’d buy film, use it all up, mail it off to an out-of-state developing lab and tap my fingers waiting for my pictures to arrive home a week later. Opening the envelope, I’d swallow disappointment at blurry shots, photos that were too dark or over exposed--pictures nowhere near as beautiful as the vision recorded by my eyes.
My now-husband gave me my first 35MM camera for my 25th birthday. With it came the ability to focus, take close ups, telephoto pictures and filtered shots. My sister still tells the story about how when tailgating at a football game, I artfully arranged a glass of wine and an apple in different corners of our red-checked picnic blanket, forbidding anyone to eat until I Iined up a perfect shot. The resulting picture came out expensive and ordinary.
With digital photography though, I've discovered the freedom to take shot after shot, to experiment with settings and apertures, to crawl in the grass to freeze a view from a different perspective, without worrying about expensive film. The best thing though, is the computer age has offered the additional luxury of editing packages offering darkroom capabilities at the click of a mouse.
Downloading pictures to the computer, I shave off unimportant aspects and highlight what I want, changing the perspective and focus along the way.
Even when a picture come out a lesser quality, I play with it and improve it, and know in the end, I have an opportunity highlight the ordinary, to make it sing.
It strikes me the whole process is an awful lot like writing, don't you think?