Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Going low tech
I tried film years ago, and was very intimidated by it. I have always been nearsighted and never very sure that eyeglasses fully correct my vision, so I have always felt my ability to get a camera to focus was not very good.
As our kids were growing, the desire to capture their speedy growth spurts and fun activities grew stronger, and my ability to capture them sharply continued to be questionable. The popularity of the Point and Shoot cameras had instant appeal to me. Back then, we called them Idiot Proof, and I was just the 'idiot' to put that to the test. (I'm not putting myself down here...back a few years ago when trying to learn some HTML codes, I checked out an Idiot's book and a Dummies book, and discovered Idiots must be smarter than Dummies, because the Idiot books were better written, and had more useful information. Just my opinion, though, and continues to be a little joke of mine). Needless to mention, the first time I went to use that "idiot-proof" camera, I didn't slide the lens cover open far enough to actually turn it on, and couldn't figure out why it wasn't working! It was almost embarrassing! Later, on a trip to Gatlinburg, my husband and I took the same camera to the Ripley's Aquarium that had just opened down there. I took tons of pictures in there that day, to bring back and show the kids. Only to discover later 'why I was getting so many pictures from that roll of film'! I forgot to put the film in the camera!!! The kids had to settle for a post card from the gift shop. Sorry, guys!
Technology has changed my life so much, as it has for many people. My brain can barely comprehend all the technical things we have to learn to survive these days. When the internet first came out, I wanted nothing to do with it. But when I realized it was more like a library, and learning how to print things instead of writing things down, I dove in like a kid in a candy store. I found recipes, crafts (did you know I'm the most obsessive crafter around? Sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting, you name it. If I haven't mastered it, I've at least tried it!) For me, the best thing about the internet is how much people share things. Sharing recipes, sharing patterns, and just making friends in chat rooms and forums with people with common interests, is just what I needed in my shy little world.
I clearly remember our first digital camera. My husband and I were just laughing about it the other day, remembering and looking back at how far I've (we've) come. I used to be the most low-tech person you could find! Now look at me!
That first digital camera (does anyone else remember this one?) was a Jam Cam. I just HAD to have it! It was only $20 on sale at Wal Mart. It came with Microsoft Picture It! software that was too much fun to play with. We could take a picture of a kid, put it on the computer and morph him into looking like some freakish monster, and laugh until we cried because it was so funny.
It didn't take long for me to realize the flaws that camera had. The photos would often be dark, grainy, and out of alignment. My husband even took it apart one time to try to get the lens aligned better. But it didn't help, and the novelty wore off.
Our next digital camera was the Olympus D-460 zoom. It was an amazing camera in comparison. It still amazes me today. Though I have graduated from the 1.3 megapixels of the Olympus, to 6 megapixels on the Konica Minolta Dimage Z6 we got a few years ago, and now have what is becoming one of the most popular digital cameras to date with 10 megapixels, I have had to go backwards a bit and learn some basics of photography, before moving forward any further. In doing so, I had to reconsider the merit of the film cameras that got us to this point. So, I did what everyone does in this modern age, I went to ebay. First I found a range finder like my dad owns, a very basic camera and very manual, but I kept looking. I kept looking at other film cameras. I really had to go 'backward' to the film world, before I could proceed in the digital world. It look lots of visits to a site that kept coming up when I'd google various models,
( http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/ ) before I realized, the smartest thing to do would be to find a good price on an EOS film camera so I could interchange the lenses, instead of getting a camera that had a different mount type and would require a separate set of lenses. Elementary isn't it?
I've always believed that when things get too complicated, it's time to simplify. I prefer life when things are simple. But I tell ya, shooting that first roll of film in the Canon EOS 750 really has complicated things for me. I can see now, why the books I read, and other "purists" insist that film is better than digital. All this time I have been frustrated with my new fancy digital with not-so-fancy lenses, I have been blaming the lenses (and secretly, and not so secretly, been wondering if my aging eyes have anything to do with things) for the many, not-so-great photos I do not share on the blog and Flickr. Seeing these photos just taken with the film camera, but with the same lenses I thought were basically 'junk', really has me scratching my head, saying "wow" and truly rethinking the whole world of photography. My first reaction was, "maybe it's not the lenses, it's just me", "maybe it's not the lenses, it's the digital" and maybe it's all just part of the learning process. To save myself another trip to that familiar place I call Crazy, I'm gonna resolve it's just part of the learning process. I'm gonna play with the film cameras more and just try to have fun with it. I have more than enough toys to play with for awhile, but we did splurge and buy a couple more lenses with much better reputations than the ones I have, and I sit on pins and needles waiting for them to be delivered! I can only wonder how much better photos from either camera will be, and how fun it will be looking for more photos to capture!
I leave you to look at this one photo taken with the Canon EOS 750 film camera, and a link to my Flickr set of photos just from film cameras, for anyone curious enough to see a few more. The set does include a few photos taken with the Argus.
Let me end this with saying....
Just because digital has become so popular, big and seemingly important, it has not and will not replace film. Film photography is not dead, will not die, it is not obsolete, too low tech to be worth messing with and will never be completely replaced by the digital world. As long as there are people on this planet with a brain that can think, and eyes than can see, and a mind open enough to see truth when it is present and obvious, digital photography will not completely replace film. There is too much of a difference between the two.
Just as the keyboard will not replace the pen, the film camera will still have a place in my home.
And while I'm on my soap box, long live the muscle car, and down with the i-car! (no...Apple hasn't come out with a car yet, that I know of....but, by watching the commercials from the auto industry lately, it's just a matter of time!) I do not want a car that listens, or talks to me or sends me email or heats and cools my beverage. I do not want a car with a computer in it. I want a car that, simply, goes. A car does not have to be intelligent to 'turn me on', it just needs rumble my seat a little bit!