As a photographer who began with film and will end with digital, the advances in the medium’s technologies (especially computer software) have transformed it in ways I didn’t imagine even ten years ago—is it photography? Illustration? Painting? The lines have blurred; whether you believe this has been an improvement or not will determine your approach to art.
With photography, you’ve captured a moment in time – it’s that moment only – and in painting, you play with it; you manipulate how time is presented. It’s about fantasy and illusion and the creation of desire. — Mickalene Thomas
The approach of a new year promises a blank calendar, a clean slate, an occasion to hesitate and contemplate. We examine the facets of our lives under a mental jeweler’s loupe. We repeat questions we had a year ago, hoping for a better (or different) answer, and ask new ones. No two of our lists will be the same, yet all are intertwined. Like the leaves that fall in our yards, we’re part of the natural transitions that occur every day of the year.
Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome. —Isaac Asimov
After a long dry summer, autumn is a hopeful change.
Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear? —Jack London
Ephemeral. A cloud’s shadow, the warmth of a rock in the afternoon sun, light frost covering a meadow at sunrise. Nature’s whispers. And this, too—in the high country of Utah a grove of aspens may lose its golden lustre to a single strong storm at the outset of autumn.
This is what the sky looked like above our house one evening in 2004. I shot the photo with my first digital camera, the six-megapixel Canon 10D. The lens was a Canon 28-70 L. I processed the RAW file recently using the latest version of Photo Ninja and Nik plug-ins in Photoshop CS5. It’s a small image file, brought to a new level nine years after its taking by improvements—changes—to digital imaging software.
As I continue using the Sony 5n I’m learning the truth of the saying The Best Camera Is The One You Have With You. The one that’s close-at-hand, ready to go with little or no thought, nor preconceived planning. Sign me up for spontaneous.
If I’d taken this photo with my full-sized 35mm camera, I probably wouldn’t have—since I don’t keep it on my desk, there’s a bag to dig into, a lens case to open, and so the moment’s inspiration is diluted, the thought gone, the opportunity past. Like in writing, write it down, whether that’s on a scrap of paper or a memory card.
The Sony, conversely, is so small I barely notice it on the desk. A cup of pens and pencils takes up more space there. The 5n becomes easier to handle as I practice with it daily, and that means when the sun retreats for the day, and nighttime arrives for its shift, the process of taking the picture is quick and intuitive, and that affects my enthusiasm, and from there it’s fun. That’s really the best part of creating something, no matter how long that takes.