Monday, January 30, 2012

It's a Great Time to Be a Shutterbug

I've always loved taking pictures, lots of them. Back in the olden days (you know, the 80's and 90's), I used to take my film in to be developed the second I'd finished a roll, ordering double prints (with my fingers crossed that all the pictures had turned out well) so that I could send copies on to grandparents or glue them into baby books. Then I'd lovingly arrange all of my new pictures into neatly organized photo albums. These days, however,--thanks to the miracle of digital photography--I take way more pictures than I used to, and I can delete the duds immediately; but the downside is that I also make way fewer hard copies than I used to. I haven't put photos in an album since Christmas 2008! I have so many shots now to choose from, it's a bit overwhelming to go through and decide which ones should make the cut. So I keep putting it off and putting it off...Although when I became a grandmother in 2011, I did make myself a "Grandma's Brag Book"-- an album small enough to fit in my purse, filled with pictures of my twin granddaughters. But then my hubby got me an iPhone for Christmas, so now I suppose I'm going to just be one of those cool, modern iPeople and carry my photo albums around with me on my iPhone. (But I do miss flipping through real photo albums!)

My cousin, who put the "p" in paparazzi, once told me that she had over 25,000 pictures stored in different media storage devices, but almost no printed pictures. Yikes! I thought I was a shutterbug, but I've got nothing on my cousin. Her two young daughters, who are a couple of truly photogenic little darlings, will know what they looked like, from every angle at every stage of their lives--unlike my boys, whom I was only able to capture in often blurry, grainy, and generally sub par Instamatic and 35 mm snapshots. I'd love to go back in time with my awesome digital camera and take a few high resolution close-ups of their precious little faces...Oh, well--at least these days I can get some great shots of the twins.

Isn't the computer age amazing, though? It wasn't that long ago that the idea of printing out my own pictures, any size I wanted--right in my own house!--sounded about as crazy as living on the moon. When my boys were young and I was making picture collages for them, I used to bring hard copies of my snapshots over to Mail Boxes, Etc. and have the guy there run off color copies of them on his state-of-the-art color printer. (It was either that or dig through shoeboxes filled with strips of negatives, hold each strip up to the light until I found the pictures I was looking for, and have re-prints made--no, thank you!) At the time, the idea of having a color printer in your own home was pretty much unheard of. What a long way we've come! Nowadays, you can not only zoom and crop your pictures and choose the printing size, right on your own computer; you can even play around with the color to achieve different effects, such as an antiqued look. I took the above photo in Amsterdam about a week ago, and I thought it had a real vintage aura about it. It was the only picture I took where there were no cars or other modern-looking vehicles (and no golden arches!) in sight, so I thought it would look perfect if I adjusted the color and brightness to create a faded and aged-looking black-and-white. It looks great hanging in my dining room--it fits right in with my wall of black-and-white and sepia-toned old family photos.

When I think of the hoops I would have had to jump through to end up with this one photo with its special color effect (and the money I would have had to spend on it) back in those pre-PC, pre-digital camera days, I feel fortunate to be living in this day and age. Yep, I'm gradually being dragged, sometimes kicking and screaming, into this marvelous new high-speed, high-tech, WiFi iWorld we live in. It does have its good points, especially if you're a shutterbug.

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