Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pea Green

I've got it. The envy bug. I suppose there is no looking back, either.  Once you've got it, you can't really get rid of it.  I suppose you can ignore it, and tame it, and refuse to tend to it... but it won't leave, I think.


I have always been sort of fascinated with pictures.  You can tell from all the pictures of my childhood where I'm front and center with a saccharine smile or where there's a pale, over-exposed, bitty hand and arm, shot upwards at the critical moment, covering up the main subject.  For the record, I have come to rue such interruptions in my photographs, and I heartily apologize (mostly to Daddy) for my ruinous part in said photographs :(

When I went to Rome for World Youth Day in 2000, my parents bought me my very own 35mm point and shoot. It was a Kodak Advantix (does anyone remember those?) and it was a beautiful $200 camera--big bucks for me!  The flash came up far enough away from the lens that the red-eye reduction was better than other point and shoots, and the clarity of the photos was really amazing.  After we all got back and got our rolls and rolls of film developed, we did a photo swap at a friends house, and I was amazed at how much clearer my pictures were than others (who were using disposable cameras--granted an unfair comparison.. but still!).

When I went off to college, a friend offered to "donate" his digital camera to me, since he wanted a new one anyway.  It was already prohibitively expensive to shoot in film, with the cost of developing and printing, and "times were changing" as they say.  The short version of the story is that he forgot to give it to me and felt bad, so he bought me one :)  I picked a nice entry-level digital point and shoot. It was a relatively large, bulky, and very slow Olympus camera--and I loved it!  I took so many pictures, despite its memory card only holding 144 (JPEG) photos, and when I look back at the pictures I took in college and the first years of my marriage, and disregarding the lack of artful-ness, I am thankful that I have such clear memories :)

After T and I got married and moved to Boston, we tended to take pictures frantically when we visited family--since we seemed to see them much less frequently.  We realized that our dear Olympus was too slow to keep up with our picture demand, so we bought new cameras.  My current go-to point and shoot is a Canon Elph.  I'm happy to say that some people have assumed I'm shooting with a dSLR when they see my point and shoot pictures :) It's more a testament to the camera, I think, than my skills (which are still very much in the development stage), but it's been so much fun to have a fast and versatile (and so tiny!) camera.

Enter the "artsy" side of photography.  You may remember my 365 project, which I started last Lent and finished this year.  In summary, it was a great way of opening up the world of photography to me.  I always had my camera with me and I would take pictures of anything (really).  I have thousands (and thousands) of pictures from the past year, and--honestly--it's just getting worse!

So where did it land me? In envy, of course.  "The best camera is the one you have with you" is what the "pros" say.  Well, they're right, but I was craving a better camera to have with me!  I kept looking at more and more pictures and realized that my point and shoot wasn't cutting it for the type of photos I wanted to take, or the settings and adjustments I wanted to make.  It worked out that my friend Paul was selling his entry-level dSLR and I snatched it up (with the help of my Daddy) :) So now, happily, I have my own Canon Rebel XTi.  T's folks got us (me) a nice lens for our anniversary, and I've been having so much fun!

But now that I have my "fancy" camera, I'm getting envious of other people with fancy cameras. Before, when I had my Elph point and shoot, I was like "oh, they've just got fancy stuff; I make up for it by being creative."

But now that I too have the "stuff," I've somehow become jealous of other "stuff" and fancier "stuff" and better pictures taken with said "stuff."  It doesn't end, either. I know that if I get a fancier camera, I'll want better lenses, a flash set up, a super-man tripod, trips to exotic locations, my own studio, all the time in the world.. etc.

So this is my thought--and you'll have to hold me accountable: I'm not going to buy any new camera equipment for a whole year and I'm going to make a concerted effort to use my new camera to get great shots--regardless of what gear I have--trying to re-capture that creativity thing ;)   I'm not going to think about getting a new camera for at least 5 years (unless we win the lottery), and even then I'll consider lenses before a new camera.

Do you think I can do it? Carrying around a dSLR is more cumbersome than carrying a bitty point and shoot. It's sometimes more awkward to pull out and click-click an artful photo.  It's noisier, too, with the shutter shck-click-ing away inside the body.  It's a lot less discrete..

But, on the other hand, with a bigger camera, people don't think you're wacko for standing almost-upside down trying to take a picture of a bug on the sidewalk.  That is, they may think you're wacko, but it's a "real"-photographer/artist-wacko, rather than a "let's quickly walk by this person before she asks us to jump on her spaceship" kind.

In any case, here's to photography, in all its wonderful nuances!


  1. I know what you mean about camera envy. My thing is wanting expensive editing software and also having the ability to take pictures that exude meaning and movement (don't know if that makes any sense.) It's a learning process, isn't it? I am also very picky about people in pictures - most especially myself! I will delete pictures and it drives Mike crazy. Sometimes he's right though, I can get delete-happy and occasionally keeping an ugly picture of oneself might be a good way to a. stay humble and b. keep a memory that will make you smile a ways down the road.

    Anyway, aren't we lucky to be born in a day and age where we HAVE photography? It always cheers me up to go through old photos and I am so grateful to have them! Happy picture taking! You certainly have an audience who appreciates your efforts and willingness to share :)

  2. haha, Kayleen :) your camera (and your pictures) are some of those that are making me green! You take great pics and you are a credit to your fancy camera.

    Also, DON'T EVER DELETE PICTURES! Unless they're blurry beyond saving or you have a million of the same scene (I frequently do--I always err on the side of MORE pictures), you should keep your old photos if for no other reason than to see how far you've come. I am very picky about which pics I post, but I have most all my "ugly" pics saved on our computer. Get an external drive if you have to, but don't delete :)

    And as far as software goes, check out adobe lightroom (it's a free download in its beta form). Pretty nifty stuff :)

  3. Sounds good. And thank you for the compliments!

    You haven't blogged in a while...where are you? :?