TRAVEL THERE: ALL I WANT IS MY OLD KODAK BROWNIE HAWKEYE CAMERA
2008 was a pivotal year in my life. Yes, that’s the year I finally earned my BA after a three decade educational hiatus, and that was important, but it was also the year digital won. Our vacation that summer was a cruise to the Yucatan Peninsula. There are two distinct types of photos in my scrapbook. Some are those rich gorgeous shots you get with 35mm. The rest are not – and therein lies the problem.
See, I didn’t quite get the whole digital concept. I hooked the camera up to my computer and told the computer that I wanted to print the photos. I had a color printer and I’d invested in some expensive photo paper. I saw the pictures coming out of the printer and unhooked my camera. The problem was that I didn’t look closely at the pictures and they hadn’t printed right. That just happened to be the day my printer decided to go on the fritz. Each photo was overlaid with multicolored vertical lines and the printer liked the look so well that it would never print any other way.
Disgruntled, I moved on to more pressing matters. I researched printing photos a little more and decided to try a different method. But the pictures were gone. They weren’t on the camera and they weren’t saved to my computer. Thankfully I still had the rainbow striped prints. I was almost able to convince myself I liked the effect. Anyway, they were all the shots I had of most of our shore excursions, so they were going into the scrapbook.
I was pretty upset and made it my business to get more digital. I let my husband explain the camera to me and I figured out the whole production process. I was never going to create online albums, because I already spend too much time at the computer. So I learned to download the images to the computer first, then upload them to a print site and then wait for the prints to come in the mail. I have to do it that way, because my husband won’t let me have a color printer anymore. I know you can take the memory card to the photo shop or download them to a cd, but if I’m doing all the downloading stuff anyway, why not go ahead and upload, too.
I Miss Pre-Digital
I learned to adapt, but I missed the old photo processing days. I’d scurry to the store with my rolls of film, fill out the envelopes and come back in an hour or so to pictures. It was great. Some of the pictures were good, others were not so good, but my scrapbooks always looked wonderful when I was through.
But photo processing wasn’t the only thing I liked about film. I liked the cameras better, also. I’d rest the camera up against my face, squint a little bit, maybe step forward or backward and then snap the picture. More often than not, I got just what I wanted and often enough I was brilliant. Not so with digital.
First of all I have to hold the camera away from my face to see the display. That means 97% of my pictures are just a little bit fuzzy. Without the camera held firmly in place by my nose, the camera just floats around taking rotten pictures.But that’s not even the worst bit.
My real problem is that I can’t see the display. Of course, part of that is age. Maturity means you can’t see anything that you can hold in your hand. When I looked through a real viewfinder, I could see what I was taking a picture of. With the screen, I can only see a vague estimation of what might be in the picture – and that’s when I can see anything at all.
I take most of my pictures outside in bright sunshine. I’ve invested in prescription sunglasses to overcome the far-sighted issue, but thanks to my friend the sun, I still can’t see the screen. If the light is good enough to want a picture, then the light’s too bright for the screen. I don’t even want to talk about when the light isn’t so good. I can see better but not enough.
Time for a New Camera
So about a year ago I started lobbying for a new camera. I confessed to my husband that I had stubbornly refused to embrace digital for too long and even though I was late to the party, I appreciated all of its benefits. However, I wanted a new camera. I knew that there were digital cameras with old fashioned viewfinders and I wanted something faster. That lag between one click and the next drove me to distraction.
My husband’s first recommendation was to get an i-phone. I’m not sure why he thought that was a good idea. I’d still be waving the camera in thin air and wouldn’t be able to see the screen in bright sunlight. Heck, he didn’t want to pay for the phone to have internet capabilities, either. I know about boys and toys, but this still didn’t make sense to me. I pressed on for a month or two more.
Then one day in one of the big box stores he wandered over to the camera department. YES!! I was on my way to a new camera. That’s when we discovered the gap. You know that gap between all those cute little digital cameras priced on either side of $100 and the real cameras. Bill recoiled from the display with a chronic case of sticker shock. I had to wait another month.
Last Sunday we went to the camera store. An hour later we knew more about digital cameras than we even knew that there was to know. My love of the viewfinder? I’d ignorantly stumbled upon the greatest shortcoming of the digital age. And what’s more – the younger generation is having to be taught the superiority of viewfinders one youngster at a time! I tell you, we were ready to invest in a digital camera with a real viewfinder just like I wanted. There’s just this one teeny tiny little problem – that three hundred dollar gap between the hot pink pocket camera and the real camera.
Vacation is coming. We know that we don’t want to risk rotten pictures of the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, Crater Lake, the Rogue River and the Oregon Coast with that little hot pink number. We know the old digital camera we’ve had for the last few years isn’t going to cut it either. I will have a real camera soon. We just have to get over that sticker shock thing.