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Monday, November 7, 2011

The Write Shot

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?

13 comments:

Colette said...

Photography really is a lot like writing. For the past few months I have been shooting the photos for my book -- something I had never done before so I had to learn fast. The first thing I learned was to shoot a lot -- change angles, light, settings. For every 100 photos I shot I may have 1 good one. But -- in both writing and photography we are creating, playing, making something come to life.

Old Kitty said...

Ooh yes, preparing, composing, actual creating and editing a pic is most definitely just like writing a story!!

Take care
x

Jan Morrison said...

Why yes it is, Liza. I love that you and I are photonuts. I love my digital and like you went up the ranks slowly - from my first brownie to my (still favourite) Olympus 35 slr and now to my Canon Rebel. Love them all. You would like the notion of Miksang I think. Maybe I'll do a post just on that someday soon.

jbchicoine said...

I too remember the dinosaur days! And even since the introduction of digital photography, so much has changed. I have a camera that's about 12 years old, and I HATE the 3 second delay. It's okay for still life in the studio, but I 'shutter' to think of all the shots I've missed as a result of those seconds...time to research a nice digital 35mm...any recommendations?

Bish Denham said...

How well I remember my little red Brownie! Another thing I love about the digital camera is that if I don't like the shot I can erase it and try again.

It is quite a bit like writing actually...

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm still a dinosaur with a 35mm. Only now,there's no place to develop them. Ihave so many rolls of film from the Monster's early years I have to get developed before they go bad. Once that's done, I'm going to get a really nice digital with zoom and all that fun stuff.

Love the dory. That's my fave today.

glnroz said...

yep,,'tis a lot like writin' and yep, I still have the old Minolta 35mm. yep, it gave me some blurry shots, yep i have changed to digital with my camera AND my writin' yep, i am still a little blurry with 'em both. but I DO like those boat pics.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I only recently bought my first digital camera, but I L-O-V-E it! The pictures may not be as "good" as those taken with a 35 mm, but it's so simple to take a slew of shots, and delete the ones that stink. Still and all, I think the very best photographs of all were the black-and-white or sepia toned ones taken many years ago. I have photos from the 1800s that seem to capture a single moment in time so much better than anything from more modern days.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I still have the first and the last 35mm film cameras (a zeiss ikon and a canon)that I owned, although I use neither anymore. I hardly even use the digital I have since I found the camera in my phone was so handy for quick blog shots. The depth of field and focus may not be great but they work for post illustrations.
I don't think I'll ever stop loving film quality but convenience is so alluring.

Lynda R Young said...

When I first got a digital camera, I went crazy. It was so awesome. I didn't have to pick and choose my shots. I just took them... everywhere... of everything. And yes, I often edit my shots too (mostly cropping, but occasionally i give it the full photoshop make-over).

E.J. Wesley said...

Great point you bring up about digital really liberating people to experiment. I know purist sometimes get in a tizzy over digital watering down photography (sound familiar in terms of writing?), but I think it has actually opened up creative photography for the masses.

If you wanted to seriously dabble in the dinosaur days :) you had to make quite a financial investment as well as spend years learning the nuances of the equipment. Now, a couple of hundred bucks and Photoshop can allow anyone the chance to take nice photos. You can't purchase the eye for framing shots (you do an amazing job, btw!), but if it's digital you're not as worried about wasting film, etc.

EJ

Jennifer Shirk said...

That's so true.
Just like when people used to write by hand it was probably more difficult to tinker with wording.

Carol Kilgore said...

Love it. I'm very much an amateur photographer, and rarely achieve what I'm actually after. But I love doing it. And the editing that follows.