Friday, January 7, 2011

This Day In History: January 7, 2007

            My first digital camera was a graduation present from my mom in 2003. For a 4MP camera, the HP PhotoSmart C850 treated me well (until I dropped it in the parking lot of a Fraser restaurant and permanently threw the lens out of alignment) and I relished being able to take as many pictures as I wanted without having to mess with the costly world of film.

            And oh, how I did. I keep all my digital photographs separated in folders arranged by year, then month, then day. From mid-2003 to present, my digital photos have built up a rather impressive presence on my hard drive:

Photo Properties

I’d like to point out that this is merely my folder of digital photos. I haven’t escaped the realm of film completely. I’ve also become fond of digitalizing old family photos for preservation. I know of photo collections on both sides of my family that are kept in giant Tupperware containers due to their size.

So, okay, all my relatives and I have pictures falling out of our butts. What do we do with them? Sadly, it’s such an overwhelming collection that the answer usually is: not much. As I said, the recent advancement of technology has made sharing photographs much easier but there is still so much to go through. The farther we go back, the more difficult it becomes to decipher the subjects of the photographs. Trying to place a date or location can be nearly impossible, especially when the only people who knew that information are no longer with us. Sometimes we’re left to guess the names of the faces staring back at us from these yellowed photographs that were taken generations ago.

I have such a great respect for film photography. Can you imagine the hard work it took to develop (pun totally intended) the process of taking pictures over the years? There was so much trial and error involved that it still boggles my mind how far it has come, as well as how many techniques there are to date. That said, I love the fact that a digital camera can record the time and date a photograph was taken, as well as the technical aspects like ISO speed, focal length, aperture… What has impressed me the most is the recent ability to record location via GPS. It’s a far cry from the steno pads my mom used in the 70’s that were made specifically for taking notes about pictures, with a new line for each frame on a roll of film. (In fact, I tried doing that in high school but never had the patience or memory to do it accurately.)

Being born in 1985, I have been granted so many advantages when it comes to technology. I sometimes wish I had been born a little later just so I’d have easier access to digital photography at a younger age, but I immediately change my mind when I realize that would have likely meant less experience with film. I grew up watching my mom and grandfather both do their shutterbuggin’ thing and it planted the seed that made me follow in their footsteps. I was the photo editor of my senior yearbook and I regularly made use of equipment I inherited from my grandfather, who passed away a year prior. I also outright took a lot of my mom’s camera stuff, always to a half-hearted protest from her that was the equivalent of, “I’m so happy you’ve taken an interest in one of my hobbies. But if you break my camera, I will kill you.”

One of the nicest things about working as the photo editor of my yearbook was it was on the cusp of photo technology. We had two or three 35mm cameras for the yearbook department, but they were the newer kind with autofocus and a digital display showing how many exposures were left. I preferred my mom’s Minolta that she saved up for in the mid-70’s. The only thing electronic it had was a light meter in the view finder. As long as I kept that sucker at 1/60 (or maybe 1/30 if I felt particularly steady), I couldn’t care less what kind of electronic crap I was missing out on. Yearbook was during fourth hour, right before lunch, so I would often get a pass to leave school and walk to CVS to have rolls of film developed. Once a photograph was chosen to be published, we had to take rulers and china pencils and actually crop the photo by hand before sending it in. Kind of a pain in the ass, especially by today’s standards, but I’m downright thankful I had that opportunity.

At the end of the year, we sold the photos for a quarter each but I was allowed to take a bunch of them for myself. I grabbed a lot of the pictures I took, and I kept the china marks on the ones that had been sent to print. Call me sentimental (or a tiny bit lazy). It still makes me smile when I look at them, though. And I’m proud as hell of that yearbook, even eight years (sheesh) after I graduated from high school.

Thinking about it, I don’t know how much patience I would have to do that now. I did have a lot of fun with it. I was one of only two people who were on yearbook and newspaper simultaneously. Seeing my hard work in print fascinates me, whether it be photographs, words or even layout designs. If I was working with people who showed the same appreciation, it would probably be a good time. Maybe I run in the wrong circles, but I don’t encounter those people too often. I would love to publish a zine, or better yet a hard copy print. But considering I’ve had a hard enough time just blogging, that’s something I am putting off until another time!

Getting back to the wonders of digital photography, because it is so much easier to organize photographs I sometimes like to look back on what happened X years ago today. It’s easy enough to do and as the years go by, I’m more amazed at how life changes and how life stays the same. It occurred to me last night that this would be a great feature for the blog – easy enough to do, and it may even encourage others to do the same! So I’m starting This Day In History, featuring photographs from various years on that particular day.

January 7, 2007

Peppermint Patty no. 1

Let me introduce to you Peppermint Patty, one of the sweetest dogs this world has ever known. Pepper was an Alaskan Malmute / Airedale mix whose mother’s mother was a Rottweiler.  Her favorite command was “speak!” She’d start out at a low, friendly growl. “What?” we’d ask, as if we couldn’t hear her.

“Ow-wooo-wooo-wwwooooooof!” she’d reply happily.

She sounded ferocious but never hurt a single person. When my youngest brother, Kevin, was still a baby, she’d grab him by the neck of his shirt and carry him around like her own. A caring, protective, nurturing girl she was, and I miss her dearly.

Peppermint Patty no. 2

And she loved me even when my hair looked awful.

1 comment :

  1. lol this post is proof that people live for what they are passionate for. I really like this new feature that you have! I am excited to see more pictures that you are going to dig up. I finally figured out how to use the scanner and I want to scan old photos of the family and keep them on the computer and maybe do some posts about them.

    -PS Peppermint patty looks like such a sweetie! And omg, I don't even remember your hair looking like that!