Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Smile For The Camera!

Since I began Pink Granite, I’ve been delighted to receive compliments about my photos. I’ve always enjoyed photographs. I’ve appreciated and been fascinated by those frozen moments, captured on film. I’ve also been repeatedly impressed by the sentimental importance of photographs - formal portraits and candid snapshots, as well as those more casually gathered and posed groups of people at beaches, in backyards and at family celebrations.

I took my first photographs under the steady hand and instruction of my Dad. I thought it was so neat to look straight down into the top mounted viewfinder of his Brownie camera and see “my subject”! Over the years, Dad taught me how to frame a photograph as I looked through the lens and how to make a decision about what I wanted to capture on film. One Christmas, I received a Kodak Instamatic camera of my very own as a gift from Mom and Dad.

Just before Chuck and I married, we bought a Canon SLR. It was terrific. We took it everywhere, including our honeymoon to Bermuda. About a year and a half ago we were up in Acadia in Maine, sitting by Jordan Pond. It was a beautiful crisp fall afternoon. We had been snapping pictures and needed to change the film. We heard an unpleasant clunking sound and that was the end of our trusty SLR. I was really sad. I had not wanted to make the move to digital. We tried in vain to get the Canon repaired, but we were repeatedly told it was just too old. Too old! It was the same age as our marriage - just fourteen years old! So reluctantly we began the research.

We settled on a Canon PowerShot S2 IS. As is typical of our happily balanced relationship, Chuck read all the instructions and then showed me the basics. My first real outing with the camera was to my niece Kate’s bridal shower. I was convinced I had captured nothing usable. But when I got home and uploaded the photos onto the computer they were pretty good. Encouraged, I kept shooting. It didn’t take long for the penny to drop that, unlike our old film camera, I could take as many shots as I wanted and it wouldn’t cost me a cent! Taking lots of pictures helped a lot. But I still find myself using the same simple advice my Dad gave me: frame it well and decide what I really want to capture. I try to both see through the lens and mentally and sometimes physically step back to make my decisions.

I often use Apple iPhoto to lightly tweak my photographs. But it feels a bit like cheating to crop and play with exposure or color balance! I always make a duplicate of the photo first and only play with the copy. I occasionally will use the “auto-enhance” feature, but most often “undo” it and adjust it myself. For older, faded or damaged photos I start in iPhoto and then move over to Adobe Photoshop Elements. With these precious antiques I have no compunction about getting them to look the best I possibly can. As I wrote several weeks ago, I want to respect their age, let them be mature treasures. But I want to ensure that future generations can see their beautiful faces.

To see some truly great photos, let me point you to Ilva, who takes amazing photos of food. George has both heritage and contemporary photos that he continually works his magic on. And Roo has a wonderful eye for all sorts of flora out and about in his garden.

: : Enjoy!


barbie2be said...

i love, Love, LOVE my kodak digital camera! :) i love that the investment of the 1 gig memory card is pretty much the only investment i have except for when i want to make prints (because i don't have a photo printer).

Pink Granite said...

Hi B2B -
And even the price of those 1 gig memory cards has been falling! So too photo printers. It really has been both a revolution and a revelation!
- Lee

Roo said...

Hey you , you are just too nice, and thank you seriously for a wonderful compliment.

I let my photography get behind for far too long and it's the inspiration from you and the rest of the crew that makes it such a challenge and so enjoyable now ;o) x

Pink Granite said...

Hey Roo -
You are most welcome!
I feel very similarly. It's as if you and others in blogland keep raising the bar - but in a totally good way! I so appreciate your feedback and support!
- Lee