Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Too Many Photos!

Baby Noah displaying his outrageous independence at almost nine months.  No cuddling, please!
Just feed me and give me toys and space. And can I pull your hair?
I lost my camera the first day of our March vacation to Death Valley and other places in California and Nevada. Fortunately, I managed to keep track of it while in Reno with grand baby Noah, and fired off a shot worthy of archiving, if not for technical proficiency, at least for recording the reality of  a baby who is not at all interested in being cuddled. Grandpa Paul enjoyed the hair pulling as he provided sustenance.

This is Death Valley as seen from the gravel parking lot-type camp at Stovepipe Wells. It is my last vacation photo before my camera  disappeared.  This was also before I determined to take only photos that might mean something to me in 10 years .... or more. Or to someone else. This shot, while pleasing, would not make the cut.
This is how our bikes look hanging off the back of our little Four Wheel camper.
Exciting, right? This is what can happen when you have a camera and feel compelled to use it and SHARE the photos.
This does not make the 10-year cut, and is for demonstration only. Others may be interested in your children, your pets, your vegetables,  your toenails. But your bikes, probably not.

Traveling sans camera was a revelation. First I realized that not taking photos is a vacation in itself. How many pictures does the world need? How many do I need? Pictures of Noah and other family members have a small but appreciative audience. Pictures of Death Valley and the Sierra Mountains, however, have been well documented by photographers who are a million times more skilled and better equipped than I am. We discovered Galen Rowell in a Bishop, California gallery. Wow! It's clear that my landscape photos are not needed. I secretly like some of my own shots, but I can keep them to myself. Maybe.

What happened to my camera? I thought it was stolen, or even worse, that I had left it by the sink in the campground restroom. Paul discovered it soon after we returned home beneath the bench cushion in our cozy camper. I was disappointed, as I had already selected a replacement. My pocket Nikon Coolpix has been obsoleted over the past three (four?)years with much-upgraded compact cameras. Why I need sharper, brighter images, and even more foolproof technology, I do not know. But I want them. I would have shot hundreds of photos. I'm not kidding. I would have snapped my way through Death Valley, then captured myriad scenes along the incredibly beautiful highway 395 skirting the eastern edge of the magnificent Sierra Mountains through Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills and Bishop and Mammoth Lakes and then onto South Lake Tahoe and our fabulous day of bluebird skiing with vast, crisp, magnificent views of the lake. Post trip I would have been overwhelmed with  images, editing like crazy to decide which shots were worth salvaging. And who cares? Key question.

Of course after Paul found my camera, I gradually resumed photography, but with more retrospection. I was once a "professional", shooting to illustrate articles for small newspapers and a statewide business magazine. That was when 35mm film came in rolls of 20 or 36 frames, and you had to think and frame and anticipate to use those few shots judiciously. It was a discipline that I, for one, have almost forgotten with digital photography. Temporarily losing my camera brought me back to something I'd all but forgotten: pre-editing. Think before you shoot. So here follow some recent random photos that mean something to me, and why.
Chris, the professional photographer, and I, took turns at the magnificent cactus in  our solarium.
What Chris saw. This could be enlarged 100 X and still look great.

What I saw. Don't make it any bigger, please.