Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Taking Pictures

I got a new camera for Christmas, a nice digital one with all sorts of cool features. The one I use most is the Automatic setting. On that setting, with the flash turned off, using the camera's zoom lens, I can take great pictures with very little effort. Lately, a lot of my time has been spent taking pictures, looking at them, making photo albums, and so on. That's why I haven't written for a few weeks.

My sister has worked as a professional photographer, and some years ago gave me a Nikon camera body with several lenses. There was nothing automatic about the camera at all. I took a photography course just to learn how to use it. Even with all the fussing I had to do with F stops and light levels, I did manage to take some very nice pictures. After a while I got tired of all the work it took to use the Nikon, and went back to the simplest technology I could find, either simple 35 mm cameras or store-bought one-use cameras. Processing was fairly simple. I took pictures until the film ran out, dropped off the film or camera for processing, and picked up the photos a few days later. After I got rid of the worst ones, I put the pictures in a box to keep them out of sight until I finally put them in albums. I have several years of pictures waiting for that day.

This new camera is so much easier, and takes pictures as good as any I've taken before.

Last weekend, I went to Shreveport for a No Ordinary People concert, featuring Chasing Canaan and Mark Sorensen. One of the girls in Chasing Canaan told me they did not have many shots of the band playing, so I took quite a few pictures. I picked the best 60 and put them on Facebook for the band members to see. I got on Facebook to keep up with my sons, but am now also in touch with their friends and people I've known from church and college. The Chasing Canaan band members are almost all on my “friends” list, so they were able to look at the pictures as soon as I posted them. I also took a few pictures of the azaleas on the Centenary College campus.

Chasing Canaan. My son Michael is the guitar player near the center. He sings, too.

Digital photography is in some ways simpler in other ways more time consuming. Instead of having someone else process my pictures, I now download them to my computer, put them in folders, then go through the pictures one by one to find the best ones. I delete some, then make smaller folders to upload to Facebook or Photobucket. If I make an album on Facebook, I have to decide what pictures to caption and what people to tag. I've also played with editing pictures, mostly cropping to get a better view, but once in a while changing something more complicated. In one outdoor picture of my family my hair was blowing in my face, but everyone else looked good. I found a similar picture where I looked better, and used that upper half on the first picture. It was more complicated than I expected and took a lot longer than I thought it would, but was worth the effort. The picture at the side of this blog has had a background change. I'd taken that on on my son's computer camera, and his room had been the background. Mostly, I just crop pictures.
When I was taking pictures at the concert, a lot of the close-ups were too dark. Some of these were taken farther back and cropped to look closer.

I've also been taking pictures of sunsets. I live very close to a park, and when there are scattered clouds in the evening, I wander around, taking photos from various vantage points. Dallas is usually sunny, so there are not a lot of opportunities for great sunset pictures. Late winter offered some great opportunities, though, and the bare trees were nice for dramatic shots.

I've been really enjoying this new camera. Time flies when I'm evaluating and organizing the photos. I'm glad I can post digital photos online, because there's less fear that my computer will crash and I'll lose them. With online posting, I know I can get them back.

If you wish to look at the pictures I posted on Facebook, you might be able to get to my page from here , or you could search for me in the Dallas/Fort Worth network. There are just a few samples here. Photography has taken lots of time lately. I'll get back to more serious posts later. This has been a enjoyable way to spend my time.