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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Digital Cameras for Dumbasses.

Sometimes, I can be a total idiot. I got into a debate at work once while discussing geography. The topic had to do with Dallas, the 80's television show, not the city in Texas. I was adamant that the shooting location for Southfork was in Nevada instead of Dallas, the city, not the 80's television show. Everyone looked at me as if I had just grown a third arm out of my neck. Of course, being the kind of person that has to settle the dispute by going to a higher power for clarification, I searched my old standby, Wikipedia, for the answer. I was shocked. Southfork Ranch was not in Nevada as I had been led to believe. Then my whole world suddenly crashed as if I was Keanu Reeves finding out I was in The Matrix. "Gambling in Casablanca? Soylent Green is people? Dil was a man? Whoa!"

Actually, I blame my parents for the geographical faux pas. Not directly of course, but still, it's because of them that I am unable to correctly use a digital camera without issues. You see, when I was a child, I liked looking watching home movies and seeing photos of my family from before I was born. Being the youngest of three there was a lot of history to catch up on and this was the best way to do it. Once I flipped through a pack of pictures that included shots of my Dad in the dessert outside of Vegas as well as shots of Southfork Ranch. Being that they were from the same roll and all together in the same envelope, I assumed that Southfork was outside of Las Vegas. I realized later, after being laughed at by my coworkers, what had happened. One year there was a Lions trip to Dallas, the next year was a State Farm trip to Vegas. It took two years to fill up one roll film. This is something that even plagues me now in the world of digital photography.

While growing up, I used to love taking pictures on vacation. I had my little Instamatic camera with the four side flash bulbs and barbell shaped film all ready for each trip to the beach or camping. Then, I would get the pictures developed and find that half were either too dark or of someone's ear. Then came my 35 millimeter and I was able to take more pictures with an instant built in flash. I snapped pictures of my bedroom and of my yard and got really handy with being able to capture the quintessence of man's struggle against nature and machine by taking a picture of myself running into a tree while cutting grass with the riding mower. Still, I fell victim to the same folly as my parents. I never could use an entire roll on one trip. I would get pictures back years later that encompassed a trip to Myrtle Beach book ended with Christmas pictures from before and after the vacation. To make matters worse, I can look at pictures taken from 3 different decades and not be able to tell you exactly which one came first because my parents have the same furniture in all three. They aren't exactly ahead of the curve when it comes to furniture buying. They've lived in two houses in my 33 years of life, the most recent one they've lived for over 20 years. The only change to the carpeting was in the basement was due to flooding from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, yet all the carpeting looks as if it was just laid yesterday. What can I say? I am my parents' son. Currently, I probably have 6 undeveloped disposable cameras, somewhere in my house, with pictures that range from 1999-2005 and one picture to take on each roll.

Cameras and photo taking have now become the bane of my existence since having a child. I recently got a Canon Powershot digital camera a couple Christmas' ago and I must say I am hooked. Now, I don't have to worry about fifteen wasted pictures of the inside of a lens cap when I get my prints back. I don't have the hang up of being able to capture the perfect moment only to be crushed by the fact that I forgot to advance the film. I also get the ability to instantly share my daughter's newest tricks with my friends and family without having to lug around a photo album. My only issue is that I am just as laxed now in downloading pictures as I was two years ago in developing film from a 35mm disposable. Since my daughter was born we've been snapping pictures almost everyday to capture each smile, creep, crawl, and clap. I've downloaded the pictures probably 3 times since last July. I have a 2GB memory card and only ran out of space this past week when I attempted to use the movie feature to capture her first attempt at pulling herself up into a standing position. I had to quickly scan and delete some bad pictures of us blinking.

Now in order to keep free space available and a constantly updated library I ordered an external hard drive to hold all of my pictures. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep ahead of the times unlike my parents. I'm currently in the process of trying to scan pages from their photo albums into my computer in hopes of preserving memories of our past forever. Because who wants to lose classic shots of us in Washington DC which, according to my wife was in Washington State until about 10 years ago. Apparently, someone in her family didn't finish a roll fast enough and the rest is photographic history.

Oh, and just for the record, South Fork is not located in Dallas. It's near Plano, in a community called Parker. So, pffft, I was half right.

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