Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Give that girl a camera

Well, I am hardly a “girl” anymore. Maybe you’re thinking that the title should read “Give that woman a camera.” Since I never had any children I still consider myself a girl. So there.

Take my camera away from me and I feel naked. Stripped. Even if I find nothing over the course of a day to take a photo of, the feeling of loss is the same. Rick took my camera to work a few weeks back to experiment mounting and using my lenses with their {company hi-speed} cameras. I felt weird all day long. I sent him at least three or four strident messages by chat in the afternoon. Don’t forget my camera. Please. How can one become so attached to an inanimate object like that where you can feel its loss?

Some people quilt, sew, or knit and they are passionate about it. I knit, dabble with embroidery, and am starting to learn how to hook rugs, and while I enjoy doing all of them, I am not passionate about any one of those things. For me it’s photography. The camera has become my way of expressing myself. Like I’ve said before, whether I’m good or bad does not really enter into it. As long as I am satisfied with my photography results, enough said. I’ve expressed myself in my own unique way. Many of you have been kind enough to comment on my photographs, and to that I would like to send out my thanks to you all. I am glad you enjoy them. I am not a professional. In fact, pretty far from it. I think I might have a good eye, but my skills are sadly lacking for taking photos off the auto modes. I’ve been trying hard to correct that, but when the dogs are romping through the snow, I grab the telephoto and set the camera to sports. I can’t think fast enough to get a good image without auto mode. Is this a bad thing??

What I really should do is take an in-depth class, but instead I rely on a few books. Let me tell you, I am NOT good at reading and acting on what I read. I’d be much better off with a hands-on class but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Normally those kinds of adult education classes are held at night. I don’t want to go to classes at night since we live so far away from a decent sized city and I don’t do well at venturing out at night. I am a homebody at heart, and I want to be home at night and not out by myself. So, I struggle with myself. Take decent photos on the auto modes or experiment off them? I’m trying to wean myself away, but mostly I find I don’t have the time to compose a shot manually. Lazy, I guess.

I tried using Rick’s old camera with its metering system as a way to help me, but the metering system in those old film cameras is very different from the new digital ones, so the same shutter speed and aperture settings in the old camera did not carry over to my Rebel. So disappointing.

I recently bought this book seeking some guidance and I really like his writing style. What he says just makes sense to me. He doesn’t talk over your head, and at the end of each chapter he gives different assignments to practice what you’ve learned.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I also can’t get rid of any of my old cameras, all of them film. I did gift my first digital Rebel to my friend Carolyn when I got this camera. And when I get my new Rebel for Christmas this year that also takes video (hint, hint, Rick—are you reading this?) I will probably sell this Rebel. At least the camera body but maybe not all the lenses. I have at least three old Minolta film cameras withering away downstairs. How can I get rid of them? They are now vintage!

I have one digital camera, a cross between a point-and-shoot and a DSLR, that I need to list on eBay. I bought it because it was highly recommended by a good friend who is a photographer and it had great user reviews. It was kind of strange because I struggled with that camera. Rick looked me straight in the eye one day and said “You know, I don’t think the photos you are taking with that camera are as good as what you’ve done before.” For whatever reason, that camera and I just didn’t jive. I’m not quite sure why.

This fun little camera and I get along just fine. I got this one for Christmas.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

It’s an instant camera made by Fuji like the old Polaraids that are now extinct. It gives tiny credit card size instant prints. We mostly use it for impromptu photos of the dogs and cats when they do something cute, so it sits on our countertop near the phone in the kitchen for easy grabbing. Pull out the lens to turn it on, get your subject in the frame and click the button. Out pops your print from the top of the camera!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I don’t know exactly when I knew I liked taking photographs. Probably after I left my first husband. I spent a lot of time with the old Minolta as a way to fill time on the weekends living on my own. You might have found me at Flatiron Reservoir, up the Big Thompson or Poudre Canyon hunched over some flower or other. I took the best photos with that camera. I entered a photo contest sponsored by our local camera store in Loveland, Colorado (Western Camera) and Hugh (the owner) was sweet enough to comment on my photo and encourage me. It was a photo of a rose growing in my flower garden. My father also encouraged me and helped me grow within this time frame as he was always a good photographer, but as an artist, he mostly took photos so he could paint from them. Not for the sake of photography itself.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
The rose photo that started my obsession with a camera, scanned in from original.

I was always drawn to flowers and macro photography from the start. I can’t say why. People don’t really interest me that much, but nature does. Maybe because nature does not pose, nor does it realize you are trying to capture its image. It’s pure; unadulterated.

Some of those early photos I took still hang on the walls of my house, just like they helped to decorate my nearly bare apartment that was furnished with a king-size waterbed, an old couch, and large, empty wire spools that served as end tables and dining table.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

When I started this post all I really wanted to say was that I am not complete without my camera, and look at all the other stuff that spilled out as I typed. Things I had not really thought about in years. Interesting ...

Comments:

Hey Lynne, for the record…we are girls.  Our Dear Mothers were Women.  I don’t feel I have reached that point (even though I’m getting a few years under my belt and have 2 kids)  Thanks for this post.  Not only the photos (and for the record I think you can be an artist with the camera on “auto”), but we learned a little more about who Lynne is.  That was nice.

Debra, awwww ... thank you! Now you have this vision of a camera wielding woman-girl who won’t give up her girlhood in your head. smile

I am with you on the film cameras.  My mom gave me a Minolta SLR for a wedding gift in 1978.  I still have it and the lenses that I used to get close up photos of my flowers.  I remember thinking that digital would never replace film (for me…), but it has.  But, I keep the Minolta…

I enjoy your photos.  Especially with the four legged subjects in them!

Jan, I think you must have the same model Minolta that I do! Did you have close-up lenses that screwed onto your main lens? The dogs always make good subjects; they don’t typically pose for me either ... wink

I just saw a Minolta telescopic lens in a beautifully weathered leather case among a pile of old cameras in a thrift store the other day.  I just had to hold it for a while…tempted to take it home and dig out the old camera in the back of one of our closets. Sigh…

I’m trying to get myself back into photography…I’m not sure when the Beast stopped being my contant companion..

Susie, you need to get back in touch with your inner Beast. How sad to see these brave old soldiers of photography in a pile in a thrift store. Probably why I can’t bet rid of mine! Too bad the batteries for those oldies are not readily available anymore or I’d be using mine; film or no!

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