Playing with my entry-level Kodak digital camera, I’ll have to admit, has been a lot of fun. And I hope you’ve been enjoying the results I keep posting here at the Barn.
But I’d never consider myself a photographer, especially after working with some of the best in the news business. After watching them cope with so many of the nuances of light- and shutter-speed adjustments in the days of negatives and film-processing, I can’t shake the awareness that this digital stuff is just too easy. (Well, I’ve written about feeling the same way about desktop publishing in comparison to the old Linotype craftsmanship back I started my journalism career.)
Yes, the real photographers today are still meticulous about getting everything right. They use tripods, slow-speed exposure, lens adjustments for depth and focus, and so much more. Whether to Photoshop an image later is a whole other discussion.
Maybe it’s in homage to their high standards that I’ve chosen (with rare exceptions) to compose or crop my pictures in the camera itself, using only the 5x zoom. Yes, sometimes the camera “sees” quite differently than I do at the time – color and light, especially, but I’ve chosen to stick with that rather than trying to “correct” it later. Art and crafts, after all, function best within limitations. Yes, too, my work is taken “on the fly,” rather than waiting hours for perfect conditions, the way a real photographer would do.
The bottom line? I’m getting fond of the funky results, even if some of the work of my former colleagues is so incredibly exquisite it often brings tears to my eyes. Never, ever, forget the gap between what they’re doing and what the rest of us are attempting with our cellphones and cameras these days.
Now, for an update: Our latest round of Christmas gifts brought me a new camera, a huge improvement, I must add, and one my elder daughter, in giving it a test run, almost didn’t return. I’ll admit, the Olympus is a lot of fun, even as I’m just starting to play with it.
But I must also confess, it still doesn’t change my perspective on the Real Photographers and the rest of us. Humility, then, in the face of brilliance.