I have only confessed this to a couple of folks; I’m afraid of my camera. Sure, looking at it excites me, purchasing accessories for it makes me happy, but when faced with taking it outside I get anxious, then I tuck it away and grab my point-and-shoot. A month or so ago I was so relieved to find the batteries had died. Well, can’t take it out like I wanted to, no batteries you understand. Then when I tried to get the right batteries, my excuse was, “well, the rude teenager at Radio Shack didn’t want to make the sale, and I can’t get batteries anywhere else, you see”.
Admittedly, for me part of the problem is that my 35mm SLR camera uses film. The film part adds all the stress. Once I’ve committed to a shot, that’s that – there’s no flipping through the photos and deleting the ones I can’t stand. There’s no checking to see how it looks to see if I need to retake the photo. It’s taken and then it’s over. I’ve committed. No backsies. Then I have to take the film to the photo processing place (whoever is still left) and say a silent prayer for a day or more that I’m able to get at least one decent shot. I could have over/under-exposed every single photo and I won’t know until I’m opening up a little envelope looking at the photographic carnage that I had hoped would be my artistic shots. The pressure!
Now an acquaintance from high school had this brilliant idea, that I could set a goal and take 100 photos before June. Since it was before May, I believe, that he suggested this it seemed completely doable. I don’t think I even had to use the 35mm; it could be anything – just start taking photos until I was comfortable. He even offered to review the photos and give me tips. (He has had photos published online and in books. He’s hand-down one of my favorite photographers and having him offer to critique my work is a pretty big deal. He also mentioned Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers with its 10,000 hour rule (the idea being that the key to success in any given task is to spend 10,000 hours doing it – a theory my Dad has often talked about). His advice was to just start taking the photos instead of whining and worrying. Apparently, whining and worrying while not taking photos will not necessarily improve the quality of your work – or so they say – sounds like pop psychology to me.
I had a great opportunity this weekend when I went to East Texas to see my Dad, learn more about permaculture and see it in practice (Dad is doing some amazing things with his land). Lots of ducks, ducklings, chicken and geese to see along with the bee hive, the orchard and various fruits and vegetables growing. We then headed out to the family graveyard for the Memorial Day celebration and potluck – with the old church, the graveyard and family I haven’t seen in years. I very purposefully left my real camera at home – nothing to take pictures of there! My excuse was, “well, I’ve taken photos of everything I want to take photos of out there. I have my iPhone if anything interesting appears.”
So, here it is – an iPhone photo at the family cemetery (don’t ask, I have no explanation – I mean, your family graveyard doesn’t have a fridge chained to a pole? What is wrong with you?) and one of only a handful of photos for June.
I think we’ll have to work on 100 Photos by August. I’ll have to come up with a new excuse on why I didn’t accomplish this feat since I did finally purchase the batteries (and not from an obnoxious Radio Shack clerk). I’m sure I’ll think of something. Of course, I haven’t put them in the camera, yet so that’s a good excuse start. Baby steps.