Thursday, February 01, 2007

One Pretty Thing

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments and emails over the last couple days. The fact that you took enough time to share your thoughts, solutions and experiences around S.A.D., depression and lack of sunshine is truly touching.
For now, on to other things...
For a couple semesters in college I was enrolled in photography classes. I had this whole idea of an easy grade based on my "artistic" eye and rumors that the teacher was looking for a new job and therefore handed out A's like the dentist hands out toothbrushes.

I dug up an old Canon from the garage, bought some film and photo paper (and plenty of other supplies I would later sell mostly unused) and skipped off to the dream class that I was counting on to balance out Organic Chemistry- Easy A vs. Kill-me A. Do I use Organic Chemistry now? No, of course not. But I'll be darned if I wasn't getting an A anyway. You say obsessive, I say, okay, you're right but I could have totally justified it then.

Anyway, going into Photography 101, I knew absolutely nothing about anything. Hello, I was from the 80's and 90's- the Point-N-Shoot generation. What use did I have for lenses? Aperture? Exposure? Bah! Snapshots ruled! Needless to say, I was ill prepared.

That first semester was a little rough. I soon realized, photography was not going to be my game, much less, a profession. I mean, in addition to taking the photos there was all that darkroom work and I tell you, not one cute guy in the class. Also, I'm of the firm belief that you don't need to do much math to get through life if you don't want to and though I tried to block it out, I think math stuck it's little ornery nose in there a few times. I was already irritated enough that Organic Chemistry was nothing but math disguised as science, I didn't need to do math with my camera, too.

So a year later and a pile of black and whites I'd only show to people who already love me for other talents, I gave up my pursuit of photography. I also gave up all math disguised as science, but that's another story. Mostly.

A couple years ago, I got my first digital camera for my birthday. It was a non-fancy but perfectly capable little Kodak whose pictures I've shared with everyone I know, including right here on this blog. It's been everywhere with me and, as you might remember, even spent a good amount of time in a rental car at the SeaTac airport. Over the last couple years, I've had good fun with this camera and up until about six months ago, never thought I needed anything more. Then, I started looking around. People, some who are pros and some like me, are taking fantastic pictures out there. What's more, they're taking pictures of the exact places and things I am and they look about a thousand times better. It started to feel unfair. Though I knew I had a lack of interest in traditional photography, I was now exposed (heh) to the digital SLR world. Ahh, what a wonderful world it is.

So I started researching. And researching some more. And hitting up some photographer friends. And visiting camera shops. And asking other bloggers* about their cameras and, subsequently, they would write entire posts about it for me. (Okay, it wasn't really for me only but I'm going to pretend it was because it sounds better. It is my goal to always make things sound better because, after all, I can't do math.)

Finally, a few days ago, I made a decision. My new pretty is a Nikon D40. I made this choice for several reasons: one, I had no previous equipment so I needed more than just the camera body. Two, it just so happened I walked into my local camera shop on the day they were having a semi-secret two-day sale and got 25% off the little bugger. I got a deal and if anything makes me happier than getting something I want that's going to entertain me for hours, it's not paying retail for it.

Now, I'm your standard-level obsessed newbie photographer... and then some. Just ask my dog, she's super tired of all the posing. Apparently, it's inconvenient and interrupts the time she spends watching nothing out the window and then barking at that same nothing incessantly.

You know how it goes, though. Everything becomes subject. First, you start with things that no one will ever care to see.

Like a picture of your dinner:

And the obligatory eight hundred or so self portraits:

This isn't a good representation of me. In reality, I usually wear twice as much fleece.
Then, you move on to things in your house:

And other inanitmate things that you think are "cool":

Sometimes, you point the camera in a direction and think it's going to be perfect, and then it turns out just blah:

Other times, you just try too hard and cut off the top of a head:

And maybe once every hundred shots or so, you get lucky:

But not to worry, you're having fun. And sooner or later, it's just going to be one pretty thing...

Flowers at Grandma's house.
After another...

People bring her flowers quite often. If you met her, you'd know why.

*Thanks to Bre for her camera info and knowledge and thanks in advance to her for putting up with me in my future camera dork out moments!


e.b. said...

First - I am glad I am not the only one who takes a ton and a half pics of myself and my dog.

Second - I am just a few months into my point and click camera and have already grown jealous and in awe of the SLR capabilities.

Third - does the camera not just totally brighten your day? I really feel like it helps. Plus you can hide behind it.....

As always - thanks!

Sizzle said...

that's a great shot of your pup!

congrats on the new purchase. ;)

Bre said...

Oooh the D40! I lusted over that for a bit, but I couldn't justify a whole new range of lenses... which is pretty sad because I can justify just about every purchase known to man!

Isn't going digital so much fun! I must say, I have an entire file on my computer dedicated to absolutely awful pictures that I thought would be oh-so-fabulous... but they weren't. I'm verrrry slowly getting to the point where less and less of my uploaded images go into that "crap" file... and by the looks of your pictures (which are pretty lovely, I must say!) you're getting there too! :)

runliarun said...

I have a Canon Rebel, and I am going to stop here, before I am endlessly, mindlessly waxing lyrical about it. Taking pictures is fun, and intense, and creative, and eye-opening in so many ways. Happy hunting!

runliarun said...

I have a Canon Rebel, and I am going to stop here, before I am endlessly, mindlessly waxing lyrical about it. Taking pictures is fun, and intense, and creative, and eye-opening in so many ways. Happy hunting!

David said...

i love snapping away - just to see what 'develops'
i take meds in the winter for 'depression' or SAD
i know it helps

Saw yyour comment on minerva's blog
isn't she the best?

Backofpack said...

I'm looking forward to the pictures to come...

Danielle said...

I wish I had a dog to take pictures of...I take tons of pictures of my parents dog though...and of myself it seems!! I'm jealous of the new camera. I like having something small to take with me places, but I'd like something for nice shots...

GirlGoyle said...

Nice buy! and with 25% off it's a steal! Though I have to admit that I thought you were doing pretty good with the old point n shoot too.

justacoolcat said...

That last dog pic is soooooo damn cute.

Great camera. I love my cheapo Nikon Cool Pix and I can just imagine how awesome the D40 must by to use.

Ginger Breadman said...

Yay for pictures! Your post and your pictures made me smile. A new camera is a really cool thing to have coming out of a depression phase. You already like taking pictures, as you've posted on your blog in the past, but now that you have a new toy, it's like getting the chance to look through the lens and see things from a new perspective. (I love the picture of your dog.) And from your previous post on the depression thing - sounds like you have supportive friends and family - keep fighting it - it truly is seasonal, and changes gradually. And being able to talk/write about it like you're doing is amazingly helpful. Go take some more pictures!

Celina said...

Congrats on the new toy! I'll admit--I'm a little jealous too! I got my little nikon coolpix 2 Christmas's ago and I love(d) it. I really do prefer the small camera, now I just need to find one that can take more Amazing pics! It's been acting up lately, so maybe (soon) I'll be able to justify buying a new (better) camera...
And, I "feel ya" on the SAD. I never really thought that I felt that way, but this year has been a rough one! Anyways, hopefully soon it will be spring again and we can Get Happy!

Dawn said...

I asked for a digital for Christmas, got it, and now I don't use it.

I've got to get it together.