Yup! Finally. I bet you never thought you’d see one, huh?
Anyhoo, the Photo Challenge of the Day today is “Frame”. I was gonna take a pic of my bike frame or my wife’s Size-6 frame or my framed court order from the time I got framed for Grand Theft Manatee. But I went with “cat”. You’re welcome.
I was really into photography when I was a kid because my dad was really into photography when I was a kid, and I loved my dad. He gave me a little 4th-hand Brownie when I was around 6 or 7 and I toted that thing around everywhere, snapping pictures of…well, none of us were exactly sure. Not at first, anyway. But after a little practice you could definitely make out the frog I was aiming at, or the neighbor’s dog, or whatever caught my 7 year old eye. At that point my dad gave me a light meter and a book by Ansell Adams, and later initiated me into the ways of the mysterious darkroom he’d set up in the basement.
That carried me through high school, but no further. Away at college there was lots of studying, lots of chicks, lots of fencing team, and, crucially, no darkrooms. By this time I’d upgraded to an Olympus OM setup, but adding film developing costs on top of tuition, booze, Trojans, and all the other necessities of student life just wasn’t happening. I had to f-stop. (Ho ho ho.)
Moving up to the present, what do I – middle aged, married, middle class – now take pictures with?
A Nintendo DSi that I got for Christmas in 2010.
I never did get on board with digital cameras when they came out. I did buy one, some Samsung thingy that looks like a DSLR but isn’t, featuring all kinds of fancy options like filter effects and so on. But I just haven’t been able to get comfortable with it. I still want to play with the shutter speed and the aperture and use my gel filters and all that other stuff I spent so many years getting good at. I want to bracket my shots and manipulate things in the darkroom. I want the fun of figuring out depth of field settings given my available light and film speed.
I wanted my Brownie back, in short.
But seeing as how that wasn’t gonna happen, and I can’t really afford the better DSLR’s that do let you manipulate as much as a film SLR, I just hung it up.
Then I got that DSi, a hand held video game device…with a camera! Granted, it’s not much of a camera. You can’t set shutter speed, film speed, aperture, or anything else. There’s no flash, and the viewfinder is only a ballpark approximation. Focal length? What focal length? And I don’t have any editing software, so what I shoot is what I get.
I got my Brownie back, in short.
Despite my initial apprehension/derision, I actually have a lot of fun taking pictures with the silly thing. I’m forced to go back to real basics, like composition, lighting, etc. On top of that, with a shutter speed of – I’m guessing – somewhere around a tenth of a second to get enough light through that pinprick it calls a lens opening, you even have to concentrate on correct posture (no tripod mount here!), elbows in, and even that time honored trick of pressing the shutter between heartbeats to cut down on vibration. Mess up any of them, and you’ve just added another piece to your Abstract Expressionism folder.
Getting back to my pic of “Gloria in Repose” up top, I had a spotlight set up to the left of the shot, bouncing off the ceiling to compensate for the strong back-light coming in through the right side of the window. I framed the shot so there’d be a nice diagonal line working from the bottom left to the upper right. I gave the cat 50 cc of Benadryl to keep her in place. And I got off a vibration free shot. Despite all that, the technical limitations of the camera are still pretty evident. Nonetheless I’m pretty proud of it, in the way my mom was proud of me even if it took me 3 years to get through 5th grade.
Now, as a reward for reading through all that stultifying hubris….more cat pictures!
Really terrible shot technically (I really had to go to the bathroom), but I love it. So did Gloria:
This one needed TONS of light, but look at that color saturation. You go, little DSi! Oh, and yeah…can’t crop:
Ok, off I go, Gotta see if there are any more pictures of cats on the internet. I heard rumor there might be….